Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


I-DISC Report Summary

Project ID: 666412

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I-DISC (Development of a Novel, Intelligent Down the Hole Disconnect Tool)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

When drilling an Oil or Gas Well the Bottom hole assembly (BHA) represents a series of components that form the lower part of the drill string, extending from the bit to the drill pipe. During the drilling operation the BHA can become stuck/jammed due to poor cleaning of the hole and subsequent build-up of cuttings. Amongst other major causes of a stuck pipe is differential sticking where the drill pipe is effectively stuck to the wall of the hole by fluid flowing from the hole into the formation. The forces over a long section of drill pipe can be very high and prevent completion of the drilling operation or even retrieval of the drill string. By pumping Lost Circulation Material’s an attempt is made to clog fractures in the formation that slow or stop this phenomenon.

With directional drilling programmes now exceeding 10km, problems are becoming more common and expensive as oil exploration companies look to access difficult to extract oil reserves from reservoirs which until recently were not commercially viable, particularly in deep water. Methods of disconnecting the BHA need to be activated in highly deviated or horizontal wells where wire-line systems cannot easily be employed. In development and exploration drilling. The costs when the BHA becomes stuck down the hole are considerable.

The aim of the I-DISC project is to design, develop and ready for market a high temperature variant of a novel intelligent down the hole disconnect tool (I-DISC) which, in the case of a stuck bottom hole assembly (BHA), would provide disconnection from the BHA and extraction in less than a tenth of the time of the existing state of art methods. Integral to the disconnect feature is a circulation valve (I-CIRC) that enhances the products capability to mitigate becoming stuck in the first place.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Design concepts of the I-Disc technology have been discussed and initial concepts were created using 3D CAD modelling that provide a mechanism for separating the drill string in the event of it becoming stuck. One of the major design considerations is the need to integrate the system with the I-Circ technology owned by Cutting & Wear which is a system being developed to improve hole cleaning and mitigate the problems associated with differential sticking.

Several concepts have been produced and following initial design reviews one concept was taken forward for FEA analysis where loadings on the system could be analysed and the necessary modifications undertaken.

Following FEA analysis a full set of Engineering drawings were produced and final design adjustments undertaken. In addition to mechanical components the technology also requires electronic systems capable of functioning in a high pressure, high temperature and high vibration environment.

A number of precision engineering firms were engaged to manufacture the components which were then subject to our quality assurance checks including dimensional inspection prior to them being assembled . The current system is designed to operate at temperatures up-to 150°C, this will be developed further to enable operation at 200°C.

The I-Disc technology will require a dedicated service facility for assembly and disassembly of the tool. This has been designed and built in the form of a 'clean room' due to the high precision engineering involved and the complexity of the components. This bespoke facility has been designed using 3D CAD modelling techniques which enabled visualisation and understanding of exactly how the service area would fit into the site plan of Cutting & Wear. On approval the necessary engineering drawings were produced and checks made to ensure compliance with the relevant building regulations. As per the I-Disc tool technology, contractors were chosen to build the facility on the basis of price and competency.

Included in the design of the service facility was all the equipment needed to service the I-Disc tool, the bulk of equipment being the jigs and fixtures needed to assemble and disassemble the tool. This equipment was designed using the engineering drawings of the I-Disc tool as the reference point. All ancillary equipment has been procured and the service facility is built and fully operational.

The project is underpinned by a formal governance structure which was put in place on commencement of the project. This is designed to ensure that the project is delivered to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. Apart from ensuring management structures are in place, a risk management plan has been produced which is reviewed on a regular basis. A comprehensive plan for dissemination has been produced to ensure potential end-users are aware of the technology. The dissemination strategy has included the building of a website ( which gives a comprehensive overview of the technology and the benefits. Social media is further being used to disseminate the technology such as through facebook (

Dissemination has taken place via dedicated stands at Offshore Europe 2015 and ADIPEC 2015 held in Aberdeen & Abu Dhabi respectively where significant interest has been already shown by operators. Further events are planned throughout the course of the project.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The technical innovation within the I-Disc project is the novel mechanical and electronic system which can be integrated into a modularly configured tool and effectively deployed in down hole gas and oil exploration drilling strings to reduce the risk and costs associated with stuck-in-hole scenarios. This is a significant technological advancement when compared with current state of the art technology. It will use advanced micro-processor technology combined with logic/system intelligence and would be the only down hole disconnect tool incorporating system intelligence capable of recognising conditions down hole.

The outcomes of the project will be a range of tool sizes of I-DISC tools (6 3/4” to 8 1/4” diameter) capable of operating at temperatures up to either 150°C std or 200ºC . I-DISC will be the only electro-mechanical system of its kind worldwide with system intelligence built into it. The new tool concept will be run in the BHA and/or in the heavyweight drill pipe. The tool will be capable of use in all oil and gas exploration well (vertical, inclined, horizontal, highly deviated and high temperature high pressure) applications. In addition the intergartion of mechanisms that enable the circulation of drilling fluids in to annualar areas of the well will help mitigate the risk of drill strings becoming stuck in the first place.

The I-DISC tool will provide the ability to reliably and efficiently control the BHA disconnection process with easier ‘fishing’ for potential recovery of the BHA. Further to this, from an environmental perspective,less use of explosives will be required or less use and potential release of harmful and aggressive chemical cutters into the marine environment would result from this project’s implementation.

The I-DISC tool with integrated Circulation capability will thus increase the efficiency of oil and gas exploration drilling with reduced energy consumption. This new business created from the project outcomes will provide jobs for engineers, technicians and ancillary workers within the European Union.

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