The German ceramic specialist ESK and the Norwegian borehole service agent Interwell have signed an agreement for cooperation in the oil and gas production sector – specifically, on the use of ceramic sand screens and protective sleeves in oil and gas exploration. The technology is based on PetroCeram® developed by ESK, located in Kempten, a subsidiary of Ceradyne, Inc.
In the production of crude oil and natural gas, sand from the deposits is inevitably extracted, which subjects both the underground and above-ground equipment to severe abrasion damage. Traditionally, the sand was held back by means of a metal filter. But metal screens wear relatively rapidly.
With the unique properties of high-performance ceramics, such as outstanding hardness and exceptional resistance to wear and corrosion and very high temperatures, PetroCeram® solutions offer significant benefits for the oil and gas industry. That is especially true when they are used in combination with the repair and plugging services offered by Interwell. If the installed metal sand filter is defective, Interwell offers operators a robust solution using the ceramic sand filter. With this workover operation, full production is regained.
“The PetroCeram® sand filter offers our customers in the oil and gas exploration sector a convincing economic alternative, particularly under highly abrasive conditions. The technology has a proven track record for maintenance work, and also as a permanent replacement for conventional metal sand filter or metal protective sleeves,” says Eirik Bergsvik, CEO of Interwell.
The ceramic technology has already been successfully trialed by several borehole operators in the North Sea and Central Europe. According to Dr. Thomas Jüngling, President of ESK, “The effectiveness of our PetroCeram® ceramic sand screens for both oil and gas production under the harsh conditions of the North Sea has encouraged us to step up our marketing of this technology.” And he adds, “There is substantial international interest in PetroCeram®. We offer this unique solution wherever conventional technologies do not offer a satisfactory interim solution, or traditional metal sand screens do not provide operators with the necessary lifetimes.”
While the agreement grants Interwell exclusive marketing rights in Norway and Azerbaijan, it will also act on a non-exclusive basis in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Qatar, UK and North America. The agreement runs until 2017, with the option of a five-year extension.