PROCESSWEST Magazine Online

Testing chamber for electrical oil and gas well penetrator systems

Don Horne   

ITT Inc.’s BIW Connector Systems brand has unveiled a new $1.5 million high pressure, high-temperature chamber for qualification testing of new electrical penetrator systems used in oil and gas wells.

“The new chamber not only increases our robust testing capacity, but it also allows us to test much larger samples up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long at temperatures up to 650oF and pressures as high as 10,000 psi,” said Roger Williams, BIW Connector Systems’ manager of product design and engineering. “There are only a handful of testing chambers like it in the world.”

The new test vessel will provide substantial advances in the testing capabilities and services BIW offers customers while helping operators extend product lifetime in the field.

BIW Connector Systems uses a highly engineered qualification test program for all downhole products. To simulate aging in the downhole environment, BIW engineers utilize a mixture of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons, mixed with water, steam and gas, commonly nitrogen or carbon dioxide.

“All testing includes a series of pressure cycles,” Williams said. “It’s our goal to subject our products to the absolute most challenging downhole conditions before they leave our factory.”

“The ability to monitor electrical performance while a device is undergoing pressure and temperature cycling has become invaluable to our customers, and this capability is now in high demand,” said John Dutil, BIW Connector Systems vice president and general manager. “Operators want to know what is going on with electrical properties when pressure and temperature variations occur to help ensure longer run-life. None of our competitors can offer this capability.”

Strategically designed and constructed during a 24-month period, BIW’s new qualification testing chamber is fabricated from a custom engineered, corrosion-resistant steel forging. A highly designed computer control system coordinates 18 independent heaters using input from 56 thermocouple inputs, with active cooling used to reduce cool-down time. It features more than 36 computer-controlled valves and a fully integrated fluid management system that injects and recovers test fluids. Advanced safety features and remote monitoring designed into the chamber, which is l enclosed by high strength, temperature and steam-resistant blast walls to ensure safety.


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