Redefining wellbore physics
i-TEC AS is a downhole technology company, focusing on optimising hydrocarbon recovery. Headquartered in Norway, the business works in close co-operation with its national and international clients, inventing, designing and producing systems that stimulate and enhance the reservoir and wellbore forces.
The company was established in 2007 with the aim of enabling its customers to harvest nature’s energy and force, in order to redefine the wellbore physics and manage its impact on erosion, pressure imbalances and temperature changes. From the start, part of the i-TEC identity was to provide early phase customer inclusion during the concept and engineering phase, alongside a rigid focus on optimising the project timeline from idea to through to finished prototype testing.
The company has undergone rapid expansion in the two years since its inception. In April 2008 i-TEC established an office in Aberdeen followed by one in Houston in July of the same year. At the same time the business gained its NS-EN ISO 9001:2000 certification and obtained an Achilles qualification, before moving into new facilities at Kanalveien 8, Forus Stavanger in June 2008.
With a focus on optimising hydrocarbon recovery for its customers, i-TEC’s in-depth understanding of wellbore physics has created a comprehensive portfolio of products and services with a number of patented solutions in the areas of intervention, drilling and completion reservoir management applications. Managing director of the company, Espen Norheim describes its formation: “i-TEC now has an unique team of wellbore physicists, engineering gurus, inventors and application specialists. We predominantly focus on intervention and completion services, together with some core drilling products and solutions.
“To provide an integrated solution we merged with PetroTools and Arctic Technology to form i-TEC Well Solutions at the start of 2009. Internally this move made a lot of sense and the main advantage that we’ve observed so far is that we now operate one team of highly efficient development and field engineers from each company. From a customer perspective it is clear that our efficient working practices mean we can meet tight deadlines, while assisting them with their development and fabrication of completion equipment.”
i-TEC’s product portfolio encompasses equipment in the areas of wireline, completion, coil tubing and drilling technology. Within the area of completion tools the i-VALVE has filled a niche in the market, as Espen explains: “The i-VALVE is a good example of how we have positioned ourselves to offer a unique product. As oil and gas companies expand their operations, they require bespoke equipment for their wells and as such cannot rely completely on the major catalogue companies that are supplying high volume completion equipment. As we provide dedicated skills and resources to match customer requirements directly to form individual products that are tailored to their unique application, this way we are able to fill this gap in the market when it come to completion equipment.
“BP contacted us regarding this service and in a matter of two and a half months we were able to design, third-party test and fabricate a full set of sliding sleeves, which is obviously not a timeline that the largest suppliers can compete with. The advantage of this product is that it’s not just an ordinary sleeve; it can carry out a variety of jobs, and it can also operate on high differential pressure.”
In terms of R&D, i-TEC has a strong focus on the innovation of new technology. “We have invested heavily in R&D and we have a large department dedicated to researching new products,” explains Espen. “This year is the first typical operational year for us; in 2009 our R&D department will operate based on 25 per cent of our top line, which has been reinvested in this area. We have a substantial R&D budget for this year relative to our size.”
Looking at the current conditions of the marketplace, Espen continues by outlining his plans for the future of the company: “Our main focus is to take the products and solutions that we have finalised and get them out into the marketplace. Our core focus will remain in the regions where we have already invested in infrastructure. These are the UK, Northern Europe, the US and the Middle East. We are now trying to get in contact with customers in these locations and build up local technical support, which is crucial for our success. We need to maintain a close relationship with our customers to plan their projects, to assist them with optimised equipment that meets their specific needs, and support them during the operation itself.
“In the future, I would like to see i-TEC build up its brand and reputation to become the primary contact when operators have issues with their wellbore physics, or when pressure needs to be balanced or managed. If substantial mechanical force is required for fishing or downhole operations I would like to think that i-TEC would be the first name that would come to mind, as we are well-equipped to deal with those kinds of challenges.”
Services: Downhole technology