Tag Archives: pipeline corrosion control

Companies Performing Horizontal Directional Drilling Increase Efficiency, Open Door for More Cathodic Protection

As a result of increased drilling speeds, companies operating horizontal directional drilling sites in the Marcellus Shale region are drilling bigger wells more efficiently and affordably, and are producing more natural gas than ever before.

“Since I came up here three years ago, it’s 200 percent better,” said David Dewberry, who manages a Lycoming County drilling site in Pennsylvania’s Loyalsock State Forest for Seneca Resources Corporation, the exploration and production segment of Houston-based National Fuel Gas Company.

When Dewberry started working in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale in 2010, the oil and gas industry veteran said it took him more than a month to drill a natural gas well. However, improvements to horizontal directional drilling equipment and processes have cut drilling times significantly.

According to Dewberry, a new 2 1/2-mile well project that began on Dec. 4 will be completed in just 16 days. When that’s done, his rig will crawl 20 feet and begin drilling another well, in an assembly-line fashion known as pad drilling, until nine wells are completed on the site.

“We’ve become so much more efficient,” Dewberry said.

Greater drilling efficiency in the Marcellus Shale region has not only yielded longer horizontal wells in shorter times, it’s meant fewer rigs are required to meet, and even exceed, the previous pace of drilling and natural gas extraction. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has officially recognized that drill-rig counts are an obsolete MATCOR's Iron Gophermeasure of output. The administration now relies on drilling speed and production as a way to quantify efficiency.

Of course, an increase in drilling efficiency means more wells are being constructed. And that means companies performing horizontal directional drilling need to invest more in cathodic protection for wells and pipelines, according to Nick Judd, director of field operations for MATCOR, a Pennsylvania-based company that specializes in cathodic protection products and services.

“The need for managing and preventing corrosion is growing alongside the rush of new wells being drilled in the Marcellus Shale,” Judd said. “The process of hydraulic fracturing used to access the Marcellus Shale requires miles and miles of steel pipeline and every inch of it is subject to corrosion, which can affect the safety, performance, and efficiency of the natural gas well. In addition to wells and pipelines, the transfer piping associated with the gathering fields also requires corrosion prevention. An effective cathodic protection system extends beyond the well casing to include all piping from the casing of the well, to the piping in the pump station, the transfer piping and further downstream.”

“Impressed current anodes and linear anodes for cathodic protection, like our Iron Gopher™, are invaluable tools for horizontal directional drilling companies,” Judd said. “Controlling costs and mitigating issues associated with well and pipeline corrosion are critical factors for insuring the profitability goals of any drilling project.”

Further Reading

Marcellus Shale Drilling Becomes More Efficient,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 2013.

Bakken Shale Oil and Gas Companies Pave Way for Growing Cathodic Protection Demand

More than $22 billion will be spent to build over 23,000 miles of pipeline in North America between 2014 and 2020, according to a recently updated pipeline construction report.

The third-quarter 2013 update of the North American Onshore Pipeline Database Service, by Douglas-Westwood, an energy research group based in Faversham, England, also catalogued the planned construction of over 1,000 miles of pipelines transporting Permian crude oil from the Bakken Shale region.

The Bakken pipelines will enable Bakken Shale oil and gas companies to meet the logistical challenges of transporting crude oil from the remote shale region, which encompasses parts of the United States, including North Dakota and Montana, and Canada.

Because of North Dakota’s short construction season, hard terrain, and distance from the Gulf Coast, rail transportation and natural gas flaring by Bakken Shale oil and gas companies has boomed in recent years. However, the report estimates that the planned Bakken pipelines will further lower the current Bakken discount compared to WTI, which has hovered around $5 for most of 2013, and diminish the cost competitiveness of rail.

“While the capital cost of pipeline installation can sometimes be difficult to justify when compared to rail, a pipeline cathodic protection system can help companies control associated maintenance and repair costs,” said Jeff Didas, who works as a pipelines practice lead for MATCOR, a Pennsylvania-based cathodic protection management company.

“When the potentially devastating effects of corrosion are managed to the point that corrosion becomes a minor factor, pipelines transform into a far more cost effective option over the 30-plus year commitments typically required in pipeline shipping contracts,” Didas said. “A cathodic protection strategy for pipelines is vital for Bakken Shale oil and gas companies and others who are investing in takeaway infrastructures from shale plays in North America.”

One such area, the Utica Shale, has lagged in production to date compared to other major shale plays but is expected to spike soon, due in part to pending developments in pipeline construction and capacity.

Further Reading

Shale-Driven Pipeline Expenditure to Hit $22B Before 2020,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, December 12, 2013.

MATCOR’s Durammo™ Deep Anode System Provides Enhanced Performance

As we reach the home stretch of 2013, well drilling continues to advance at a strong pace, thanks to improvements of drilling technology. Advanced horizontal and directional drilling has opened a range of possibilities for energy companies and local economies. Along with the improved drilling technology, MATCOR has helped advanced the cathodic protection technology for wells.

Properly configured deep well anode systems are an integral portion of reliable cathodic protection wells. For deep well anode systems, which output less than approximately 75 amps, MATCOR has designed the Durammo™ continuous mixed metal oxide (MMO) wire anode systems to provide second-to-none value for those in need of high-quality cathodic protection systems.

Essentially, there are two basic types of anode configurations:

Discreet Anodes
Here, several individual anodes are placed a minimum of ten feet apart throughout the system in order to avoid mutual anode interface effects. In this configuration, it is not abnormal to have 10 or 15 discreet anodes throughout the system (old technology).

Continuous Anode Assembly
In MATCOR’s deep anode assembly system, Durammo™, a continuous wire that is fed from a cable at each is used in lieu of many individual anodes. In order to create electrical redundancy, factory connected jumper cables are installed to the wire anode every ten feet. This arrangement effectively eliminates risk of mutual anode interference.

Additionally, MATCOR’s Durammo™ Anode System is made with MMO as opposed to graphite or high silicon cast iron to create a light, stable anode that has the capability of operating at higher current densities. They also use MATCOR’s Super-Vent™ pipe assembly to enhance overall venting capability and cabling with a chlorine-resistant PVDF layer for protection.

Overall, for deep well systems with outputs under 75 amps, MATCOR’s Durammo™ technology provides superior value through several performance enhancements and greater longevity.

To learn more about MATCOR’s Durammo™ continuous anode system contact MATCOR or learn more about MATCOR’s other cathodic protection products.