By Jacqueline Louie
Penta Completions Supply and Services Ltd. is the only Canadian oilfield company specializing in the sale and service of sucker rods and related equipment. Founded in 1987, the Edmonton-based firm is celebrating its 25 anniversary this year. Originally focused on fibreglass sucker rods, Penta Completions expanded into a complete rod pumping optimization and services organization as directional and horizontal drilling increased well design complexity.
“We’ve earned a national reputation for helping producers design and install anything from a conventional pumping configuration to a highly specialized rod string,” says Penta Completions president Tom Dennehy. “The quality of our people is the key to our success. We are very careful not to sell more than we can service properly.” Penta has offices in Calgary and Estevan as well as Edmonton, with a total of 24 employees.
Rod pumping horizontally drilled wells inherently brings production problems such as rod and tubing wear to the forefront. “When wellbores are planned, consideration must be given to the cost of drilling and the long term maintenance costs associated with rod pumping the well over the long term. Small changes to the wellbore path can minimize the long-term operating costs and extend the operating life of the well,” says Fred Morrow, contract engineer at Penta.
“Wells can be drilled in such a way that the operational costs will limit the economic life of the well. By designing the wellbore path with production concerns taken into consideration, changes in the wellbore path can increase a well’s economic life by many years,” Morrow says. Most of these changes, such as including a tangent to the curve in the build section of the wellbore plan, add little cost to the original drilling cost.
And the results are well worth it. “We’ve got wells where we’ve run three to four years with no rod or tubing failures,” Morrow notes. “Twenty minutes of conversation before the well is drilled can literally save hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance years down the road. And if you don’t do this, you could be on this well every two or three months because you’ve worn a hole in the tubing because of the wellbore path.”
This is where Penta Completions can help. “The service we put behind that product is what ultimately saves the oil companies money down the road,” says Bob Wanner, sales manager at Penta. “We like to be involved with the oil company from the conception of their drilling plan through to the actual completion and follow-up monitoring.”
Many of the companies that Penta works with will come to Penta before drilling the well to ask for feedback on their plan from a rod-pumping perspective; Penta will recommend changes to the wellbore path if necessary. “We’ve been lucky enough to have a close relationship with our clients, which enables us to stay in contact after the well is put on production to monitor how actual pumping conditions compare to the design,” Wanner says.
As Morrow puts it: “What we bring to the table is rod-pumping expertise. The things that we do will increase the life of the downhole pump, limit pumping unit repairs, and increase the average time to failure from months to years. We’ve gone in and optimized rod pumping to where the mean time to failure has been increased by magnitudes.”
The company’s success depends on having well-informed customers, and to this end Penta Completions offers classes that deal with artificial lift, optimizing rod life and the basic economics of producing a rod pump well. “Our expertise is beam lift and sucker rod pumping,” Morrow explains. Since 1992, Penta has offered three-day rod pumping seminars, and the course is now more popular than ever.
Penta provides analysis and optimization recommendations from fluid level and dynamometer testing, along with a full line of steel and fibreglass sucker rods, sinker bars and related accessories. Its services also include long-term monitoring and optimization through cellular accessed pump-off controllers. Penta specialists will supervise installs to ensure optimal performance and life cycles in rod-pumped oil wells.
The drilling technology that has come into play with horizontal completions will ensure the long-term success of companies like Penta. “Oil companies are now drilling in places they had previously written off as non-productive. All of a sudden, new drilling and completion techniques are breathing new life into the Cardium, as just one example,” Morrow says.
Since drilling-in operations come with an environmental footprint, “this requires a little more expertise in planning the wellbore path,” he explains. “Penta can reduce the costs to get the oil to the surface. We will help design these wellbore paths, which will decrease the maintenance during the economic life of the well.”
Another strength that Penta brings to the table is diagnostic capacity. “We have the ability to verify fluid levels production to increase production potential and equipment loading. Among the new horizontal wells that are being drilled, with proper planning it is now possible to install the pumps deep into the curve and get significantly improved life expectancies from the production equipment. We are installing pumps around the curve and having the run life exceed three years,” Morrow says.