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Horizontal Technology News

Innovative Downhole Tool Monitors Tension,
Torque and Pressure At Pull-Head

Author: Jeff Griffin

An innovative new horizontal directional drilling tool to monitor tension, torque and pressure at the pull-head during product pull-back has been introduced by Horizontal Technology, Inc., Houston.

Development of the new tool came about when the designers of a 2,463-foot natural gas pipeline for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM, required HDD contractor Environmental Crossings Inc., Traverse City, MI, to monitor the product pull-back stresses at the pull-head.

Because this had not been previously accomplished, Environmental Crossing’s Operation Manager William Garner, called Horizontal Technology.

“The timing was perfect,” explained Horizontal Technology’s President John English.  “We were already working on a very similar tool. In fact, we conduct a lot of R&D on hole openers and were building a tool to measure and record data directly in front of and behind the reamer.  We felt that the tool would have wide commercial application and were excited to be given this opportunity.”

Continuing, English noted that the company’s downhole pressure tool is widely used and the ability to record torque and tension at specific locations resulted in development of the HT-TTP1 (Horizontal Technology Tension, Torque and Pressure tool).

How it works

The HT-TTP1 provides real time data at the rig and records the data for more detailed observation.  Data at the rig is recovered at the wire-line in one-second intervals, allowing a comparison between the data displaced on the rig’s gauges and what is occurring at the pull-head.  If a short or wire-line failure occurred, or if the HT-TTP1 is used without the wire-line, the information is recorded at the tool in 10 second intervals.  An easy to read, time-line based report is produced.

The tool measures and records: torque, tension, temperature, annular pressure and standpipe pressure.  Accuracy is 1 percent of the gauge.  The maximum torque and tension limits of the tool exceed, and are only restricted by, the 41/2 IF connections.

“We had a straight, nice clean hole and were able to pull the pipe quickly,” said Garner.  “It was getting late and it was very cold.  The data from the TTP Tool verified the minimal pull required, allowing us to install the product as quickly as possible.

“The wire was installed while swabbing the hole using spiders at set intervals.  If we parted the wire, we could have continued and would have downloaded the data directly from the tool after pulling back.  The printouts, specifically the separate graphs of each joint, are very interesting.”

HDD Consultant Rick Stauber of Kleinfelder, Inc., San Diego, CA, specified the use of a tension tool. “The pipe was sized to withstand over 150,000 pounds – three times the predicted pull-back load,” he said.  “But I could envision a 500,000 pound rig pulling a stuck pipe.  I wanted a simple way to protect the pipe without telling the contractor how to do their job.”

Ultimately, everyone was pleased with the results.  For example, Stauber said, “Even though I was more excited about the tool’s pressure monitoring capacity, I would specify the use of the tool again under similar conditions.”

Horizontal Technology, Inc.’s home office is in Houston and the company has satellite offices in Europe and Canada.  They offer guidance service, guidance tools, pressure tools, rock reamers up to 72 inches and drill motors specifically designed for the HDD industry.

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