Drilling is an essential component in the oil and gas industry with operators using drilling as a method to excavate oil underground and from various resources. With drilling being as significant as it is, it should also be performed efficiently, yet many operators have difficulty in this area.
There are many oil and gas operators using outdated equipment during onshore and offshore drilling ventures, which not only causes inefficiency, but poses potential harm to workers out in the field. Using legacy drilling technologies and following old industry standards can hinder performance, increase risks for workers and affect profits. With this being a clear issue in the industry, oil and gas operators have been searching for solutions to improve their operations.
Fortunately, oil and gas solutions company Sigma Drilling Technologies took note of this issue, developing a line of products that focus on the improvement of drilling processes. Sigma’s line, which includes pulsation control technology, was designed to help oil and gas operators save on costs and provide higher efficiency during the drilling process. Founder of Sigma Drilling Technologies, Justin Manley, provided more insight into the company’s products, the benefits Sigma’s products provide to oil and gas operators, and how such products are helping to strengthen operations in the industry.
With a mission to improve oil and gas operations for customers through technology, Sigma was established through one simple question, “Why hasn’t anyone fixed this yet?” Noticing a clear issue in the way companies carried out processes, Sigma resolved to help those companies operate more efficiently. According to Manley, “Our initial product offering solved a 70-year-old problem our customers were simply just dealing with. Helping our partners achieve superior performance and profitability while decreasing risks to personnel and assets in the field is our driving force and how we operate.” Sigma uses products that can utilize a company’s existing equipment while eliminating their equipment’s inherent flaws. “We believe in win-win relationships and our customers have really responded to our philosophy,” says Manley.
To provide the best solutions to oil and gas operators, Sigma operates in a very niche market segment, developing unique products to enhance each user’s drilling and operational experience. “Our industry handles energy mitigation generated by the reciprocating pumps on the rig, better known as mud pumps,” Manley explains. “To mitigate these harmful energy signatures, mud pumps need to be outfitted with pulsation dampeners. The industry standard pulsation dampener was designed over 70 years ago and utilizes a bladder charged with nitrogen gas. This was a fitting solution 70 years ago when operational pressures were significantly lower than modern drill plans,” Manley says.
Recognizing that many companies were still operating through this outdated solution that was incompatible with modern drill plans, Sigma designed several proprietary technologies for the market, such as its Charge Free Conversion Kit, to upgrade existing equipment. “All of Sigma Drilling’s technologies revolve around a proprietary technology or our Charge Free technology. We have created unique products designed to utilize existing designs and equipment but alleviate all the complications created by antiquated pulsation dampeners,” states Manley. “Our proprietary Charge Free technology always has the proper compression rates to ensure high performance and fantastic measurement while drilling (MWD) signal detection and, most importantly, never exposes rig personnel and equipment to potential catastrophic failure. Many of Sigma’s products install directly into our customers’ existing assets, creating a “fit it and forget it” experience that is second to none,” Manley asserts.
With technological trends, such as rig systems automation, on the rise in the industry, many drilling companies will be relying on solutions providers to keep their operations up-to-date and to stay competitive in the industry. Sigma is on the forefront of these trends, developing equipment that is designed to provide high operational performance. “Designing and manufacturing equipment with [these trends] in mind has helped position Sigma as the exclusive choice for pulsation equipment,” Manley says. “Automation systems are built on predictable outcomes and performances. Our Charge Free technologies are designed to deliver just that, predictable performance.”
In addition, Sigma’s innovative Charge Free Conversion (CFC) Kit directly targets pulsation dampeners and mud pumps, some of the biggest issues drilling contractors face. “Contractors found themselves in a constant fight with the mud pumps because the pulsation dampeners were inadequate to handle modern mud pump conditions. Sigma’s CFC Kit was designed to deliver outstanding performance across all operational pressures. The CFC Kit utilizes a dual energy mitigation system that not only uses compression for energy absorption, but also deploys a system for kinetic exchange,” explains Manley. The CFC kit resolves the issues that arise from using pre-charged bladders with standard pulsation dampeners. “The CFC Kit delivers predictable, high performance while eliminating costs and potential safety risks.”
Although the oil and gas industry is slowly but steadily embracing technology and operational changes, the drilling sector of the industry still has a long way to go. “The oil and gas industry is rooted in traditions. With strong ties to traditions comes strong resistance to change,” states Manley. “Drilling contractors have dealt with the fact that pulsation control equipment simply hasn’t kept up with the increased demands of modern drill plans. If a broken leg is all you have ever known, you don’t take time to think about fixing the leg,” Manley points out.
As a result, Sigma is focused on promoting growth in the industry by helping its clients gain next level operational efficiencies through technology. “As an industry, American energy has evolved and adapted to these challenges by utilizing new and improved technologies and Sigma firmly believes we will all be better for it. Sigma firmly believes if we assist our customers in becoming more efficient, more profitable, and providing safer working environments for their employees, we are doing our job.”
With a push for more modernization within the industry, it is crucial for oil and gas operators to maintain up-to-date drilling processes and, therefore, they need direct access to the latest technologies from oil and gas solutions providers to make or keep their operations current and efficient. “The mud pump is the heart and soul of drilling operations and having a smoothly operating pump system is key to achieving successful drill plans,” explains Manley. “We at Sigma feel we should be driving higher mud pump performance, thinking about better ways to clean up MWD signals, pushing the boundaries of what is achievable, and all of our initiatives are with one goal in mind: how do we make it better?”
While the industry has been experiencing a wave of technology and software solutions, drilling processes remained unaffected for the most part, until recently. Oil and gas solutions companies, like Sigma, are revamping the way the industry operates. Sigma has made it their mission to support drilling companies by offering products that improve operational performance and existing equipment and promote safety and profits. Oil drilling processes will continue to be enhanced and equipment performance will continue to improve with companies like Sigma supporting the industry. “We pride ourselves at being the trusted partner and problem solver for our users,” says Manley. “We make available resources to help folks in the industry understand their equipment and how to improve its performance. Information is what helps the industry move forward and keep people safe, and it is what we strive to provide.”
Tonae’ Hamilton has been a contributor and associate editor to the magazine for two years. She has been writing professionally for almost four years. In her free time, Tonae’ likes to spend time with her three pets, cook, and binge-watch Netflix shows. Tonae' has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from McDaniel College.
Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.