Breakthrough perforating technology

A perforating technology called ConneX Perforating has the potential to improve hydrocarbon recovery by producing clean, debris-free perforating tunnels.

At the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Texas, QinetiQ, Shell International and GEODynamics jointly announced a perforating technology called ConneX Perforating that has the potential to improve hydrocarbon recovery by producing clean, debris-free perforating tunnels.

The main purpose of perforating a well is to provide a conduit for the inflow of hydrocarbons and injection points for fluids that control sand flow in weak or unconsolidated formations.

Shaped-charge perforating, which evolved from the WWII military bazooka has been commonly employed since the early 1950s. The shaped charges employ an explosive cavity effect coupled with a metal liner to maximise penetration. Once the main explosive is detonated, the liner collapses to form a high-velocity jet that is propelled outward at approximately 30,000 ft/sec.

Undesirable side effects of perforating are damage to the formation caused by the enormous jet impact pressure and loose debris in the newly created tunnels. The repair of damage often requires additional and sometimes costly procedures and is often ineffective.

ConneX Perforating is a new generation of shaped charge resulting from the combined intensive development effort of QinetiQ, Shell International and GEODynamics. ConneX Perforating is based on a  concept created and patented by QinetiQ that is exclusively licensed to GEODynamics.

Upon detonation, this novel perforation solution creates a secondary reaction within the perforation tunnel. The reaction is formed by use of new liner technology, incorporating a carefully controlled combination of bimetallic liner material that is pressed under very specific conditions. The reactive properties of the charge develop high lateral pressures within the perforation tunnels, creating a self-cleaning action that results in open, debris-free holes.

Prof Mike Hinton, Technical Director of QinetiQ’s Weapons Division said: ‘QinetiQ’s reactive liner concept provides the foundations for Connex Perforating which fundamentally changes the way a conventional shaped charge is made and the way it reacts upon detonation.’

The ConneX perforating charge is compatible with existing gun technology and perforating procedures so companies will not have to change the way they handle, ship or operate perforating equipment.