Andy Shaw, VP and Managing Director, Australasia, Baker Hughes (Page 3 of 4) 22 Oct 2014

As one of the world’s largest oil and gas (service) companies, what are the most important technology trends your company is developing, and what is driving this development?

At Baker Hughes, we’ve invested consistently in technology to ensure our innovators can expand our heritage by developing key technologies to address our industry’s most challenging problems. In fact, today, we lead our peer group in technology investment as a percentage of revenue. But that is not enough.

During the last several years, we have increased our investment in people, technology, and infrastructure to create a global network of technology and education centres that connect you with experts in every phase of our business and help us address your most important challenges. At these centres, technology development and manufacturing are co-located to foster close collaboration from research and development to marketing and technical support.

Throughout the world, our centres of excellence and education are incubators for developing the knowledge, skills, and technology to continually improve well performance in all downhole environments.

How difficult is it for a large company such as Baker Hughes to retain its position as a leader in technology? Can you provide examples of products/services that have helped the company to maintain this leadership?

To drive longer-term technology advancements, Baker Hughes has organised dedicated research teams in four key areas of study:

  • advanced measurement and actuation;

  • sustainable chemistry;

  • high performance information; and

  • designer materials.

This approach allows us to bring together the best minds in our organisation to focus on an area of research, crossing all product line boundaries.

There are lots of examples how this technology approach helps keep our leadership position – the next generation FracPoint system and our IN-Tallic frac balls is a topical example because it centres around stimulation of Unconventional wells, a current global hot topic. These are made of a new class of alloy that we are calling Controlled Electrolytic Metallics. Our IN-Tallic disintegrating frac balls incorporate cutting-edge nano technology and were designed to further enhance the efficiency and performance of our FracPoint system.

Progression of IN-Tallic™ frac balls disintegration in brine fluid.
(Click here to view an enlarged image)

These disintegrating frac balls are composed of nano-structured material that is lighter than aluminium and stronger than some mild steels, but disintegrates when it is exposed to the appropriate fluid. The disintegration process works through electrochemical reactions that are controlled by nano-scale coatings within the composite grain structure. The IN-Tallic balls maintain shape and strength during the fracturing process and then disintegrate before or shortly after the well is put on production. For me that’s just amazing.