Premium connections

During 2011, TMK shipped 472 thousand premium connections developed in the company’s Russian and American divisions, which is 18.9% more than during the same period in 2010. Growth in shipments of TMK’s Russian premium connections was nearly 30% over the previous year.

Premium connections, developed by TMK’s Russian division are threaded on both casing and tubing intended for the construction of gas-tight strings for various purposes. Premium connections differ from the standard types of threads by their high level of reliability, high level of gas tightness ensured by special seal assemblies, and a wide range of applications in different operating conditions.

These connections have tight manufacturing tolerances, are developed on highly specialized equipment and undergo a thorough control process. To ensure proper assembly and operation of TMK’s connections, specially trained specialists regularly take part in running pipe strings of varying complexity.

The most significant events for TMK in 2011

In December 2011, the first shipment of casing (diameter of 168mm) with gas-tight, cold-resistant TMK GF connections was made to Gazprom for use in the Bovanenkovskoye field.

A trial batch of casing with TMK GF premium connections (grade L80) made of 13Cr steel, specially commissioned by Gazprom, was produced at TMK’s Volzhsky Pipe Plant. This was the first time production of this type of high-tech pipe had been developed for the Russian pipe market. TMK GF premium connections are used in directional wells and provide a high level of gas tightness in difficult conditions of high bending, compression, and tension stress; high torque and aggressive environments.

In 2011, the first shipment of vacuum insulated tubing (VIT) with premium connections and cold-resistant tubing threaded with gastight TMK FMT connections was made to Gazprom.

In May 2011, TMK shipped 13Cr steel pipe with TMK FMT premium connections to Tomskneft (owned by Rosneft) for use in the Chkalovskoye field. The pipe was manufactured under a cooperative agreement between the Volzhsky and Sinarsky plants.

Also in May, production of a new type of premium connection was mastered. TMK CWB connections are used in drilling in the casing string. TMK CWB is an improvement on the Buttress connection widely used by Russian oil and gas companies. The new technology allows for increased gas tightness of the connection and improved operational efficiency. A distinctive feature of the TMK CWB is the possibility of joining it with other types of connections and its use as a sub. The new TMK CWB connection, designed for drilling in the casing string, was successfully tested for gas tightness with a combined load at VNIITneft.

In June, certification of tubing with TMK FMT premium connections was carried out by Gazprom VNIIGAZ at TMK-Kaztrubprom. Certification included the analysis of quality management systems, technical documentation, production levels and equipment. Stand and acceptance testing of products was also conducted. As a result of certification, Gazprom VNIIGAZ recommended that tubing with TMK FMT premium connections manufactured by TMK-Kaztrubprom be used in the fields of the Far North, as well as in fields containing hydrogen sulfide.

In July, TMK carried out an independent run of tubing with TMK FMT premium connections into a well at the West Salym field for Salym Petroleum Development N.V.

The run was carried out by specialists from TMK’s Pipe Maintenance Department and TMK-Premium Service. The well was accepted on the basis of the first pressure test results.

In August, TMK shipped casing with TMK PF premium connections manufactured at TAGMET to Daewoo Energy Central Asia. The product was intended for use in an exploratory drilling program in 2011 in Uzbekistan.

In October, TMK ran a string of casing with TMK FMC premium connections in a well at the South Priobskoye field for Gazprom Neft. A production string comprised of 276 casing pipes with TMK FMC premium connections manufactured at TAGMET was run into the well. It was the first string run conducted by TMK-Premium Service for Gazprom Neft.

In the same month at the Orsky Machine-Building Plant, which is part of TMK’s oilfield services division, a shop to produce casing with premium connections was commissioned. The first products manufactured were casing with a diameter of 168.22 mm and threaded with TMK FMC and TMK GF connections, as well as casing with a diameter and 244.83 mm and threaded with TMK GF connections. The design capacity of the new shop is 24 thousand tonnes of pipe of various sizes per year.

In 2011 and early 2012, casing with diameters of 244.48 mm and 178 mm and threaded with TMK PF connections were successfully tested for compliance with the requirements of ISO 13679 — the most sophisticated level of CAL IV testing.

In March 2012, TMK PF ET premium connections with a diameter of 177.8 mm and wall thickness of 10.36 mm (grade L80) were tested for 100% gas tightness. During the tests the connections were subjected to internal and external pressure, tension and compression.

Particular attention is being paid to the offshore projects of TMK customers. In 2011, the following projects were successfully implemented:

  • Supply of TMK PF connections to the White Cat offshore field (Vietnam);
  • Supply of ULTRA-FJ connections to the White Tiger offshore field (Vietnam);
  • Supply of TMK FMT and TMK PF connections to Lukoil’s offshore Korchagin field in the Caspian Sea;
  • Running of pipe with TMK PF premium connections in both the onshore and offshore sections of a well at Novatek’s Yurkharovskoye field. TMK is the first pipe company in Russia to run a string in this type of well. All TMK PF premium connections successfully handled the bending load during the transmission from the vertical to the horizontal pert of the well.

The sale of premium connections is not possible without a developed service network of licensees, companies that manufacture the necessary tooling and casing string equipment and flow columns with premium connections. Such a service is particularly needed in remote areas of Russia and in foreign markets.

Today TMK has 18 existing license agreements to thread TMK premium connections at other enterprises, and 20 contracts are in various stages of signing. A positive example is the cooperation with TMK IPSCO, which has been granted a license to cut TMK PF, TMK GF, and TMK FMC premium connections on downhole equipment for Weatherford, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Davis-Lynch and Topco.

ULTRA Premium Connections are primarily connections without couplings for casing and tubing manufactured by TMK. They are widely used in developing shale gas in the U.S.

In early March, TMK IPSCO’s in Brookfield commissioned a second line to thread ULTRA Premium Connections. The second line has allowed the company to thread pipe with a diameter of up to 135/8 inches, which exceeds the size range of the first line of up to 75/8 inches. Each line is capable of producing over 40,000 tonnes of pipe with ULTRA-DQXTM, ULTRA-SFTM and ULTRA-FJTM connections, including the new ULTRA-QXTM Premium Connection, which is of particular value in drilling deep wells and under high pressures.

In April, TMK shipped casing with ULTRA-SF Premium Connections to Gazprom Neft. The product is intended for use in the Urmanskoye field in the Tomsk Region.

In June 2011, ULTRA-QX Premium Connections with a diameter of 244.48 mm and a wall thickness of 13.84 mm was certified under the ISO 13679 CAL IV standard. ULTRA-QX Premium Connections are characterized by high tension and compression strength, a high capacity for bending, and resistance to other adverse external factors.

ULTRA Premium Connections are supplied to the U.S., Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Canada and Russia. TMK IPSCO has taken another step to capture the Canadian market by delivering a series of pipe with ULTRA-DQXTM connections to the Cordova Bay in British Columbia.

In 2011, TMK IPSCO expanded its presence in Latin America with the first sales of ULTRA Premium Connections being made in Peru.

In Brazil, the TMK is continuing to develop individual solutions for customers engaged in non-standard drilling. In 2011, the Premium division of TMK IPSCO produced a record number of 340 thousand ULTRA Premium Connections.

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