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3 Pressure Tolerance Mistakes That Will Cost You

Date: Mar 24, 2016

Pressure management during pressure pumping and completion activity is a bit of enigma. On the one hand, it’s extremely important. But on the other hand, it’s often misunderstood, not taught properly at all or simply just passed on to future generations through unwritten rules, or via “tribal knowledge.” What’s more is that mistakes that result from improper pressure management or pressure tolerance can be devastating – both to an individual’s personal safety as well as the equipment itself. In order to better help you understand some of the common mistakes that are made in this regard, we’ve put together this handy article detailing the top three pressure tolerance errors, how they can cost you and how to prevent them.

Mistake No. 1: Not Knowing the Basics of Pressure Tolerances

As we mentioned in the opening, a big reason why there's such a lack of knowledge when it comes to pressure tolerances is because it isn't taught properly. With that being said, many don't actually know what "tolerance" truly means, and thereby this has led to the assumption that tolerances are universally acceptable across the board without much further thought. The truth is that these days, pressures are often pushed to the max of what iron, well-casing and well-head assemblies will allow, and these pressures commonly exceed the maximum allowable pressure.  The bottom line is to know your pressure tolerances. For instance, in the case of working from tolerance mid-points, where valves are set to 9,500 PSI, range yields are susceptible to going over that 10,000 PSI number. Know the acceptable tolerances and be aware of whether or not range yields may be able to exceed safe PSI levels.

Mistake No. 2: Lack of Understanding When it Comes to Pressure Spikes

Pressure spikes are detrimental to frack stage completion, yet they happen - and they can happen very quickly. In fact, pressure spikes are capable of increasing at rates faster than 2,000 PSIG within one-tenth of a second. Miss a pressure spike and pressure safety devices will likely be activated for no apparent reason, which isn't ideal for any party on the job. Moreover, undetected pressure spikes can cause damage to equipment, decrease service life of iron and casing, and worst case, result in catastrophic failure.  

Pressure Tolerances

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Mistake No. 3: Fuse and Fuse Box Misunderstandings in Well Completion Operations

As you should already know, the prime purpose of the fuse box in the standard household garage is to act as a safety, or back up, switch in the event that the electrical system fails. Electrical system failure may occur as the result of inclement weather, accidents or some other type of unforeseen incident, thereby giving these garage units a purpose, albeit a purpose that is hopefully never necessary. You might say that these electrical fuses are somewhat of a last line of defense. PRV devices function in a similar capacity during completions operations. As you also are likely already aware of,  gas mechanical  pressure relief devices often feature electronic kick out systems, which are said to permit faster response times to pressure spikes. But in reality, this may actually slow the response time. How? Because inertia has to be overcome, and the signal must be processed, and while an electronic signal may move fast, who's to say that it moves fast enough? Remember, pressure can spike over 2,000 PSIG in one-tenth of a second, a speed that may beat the time it takes for an electronic signal to be converted to mechanical energy.PSIG in one-tenth of a second, a speed that may beat the time it takes for an electronic signal to be converted to mechanical energy.

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Does your technology stack up? Or is there a safety risk, the potential for over-pressurization and/or potential harmful consequences as a result? After all, it's likely that you're asked to incorporate even more technologies into the design while staying safe and addressing the potential for over-pressurization. Noting that, there's literally no room for error when it comes to pressure relief. That's where Safety Plug technology enters the picture. It can react quickly to pressure readings, remove any risk of exceeding the maximum allowable pressure and help give you peace of mind while you're on the job.

For more information on Safety Plug technology, how it helps reduce downtime and promote safety, contact Oseco today.