Porpelling forward

Based in the strategic location of Bergen, Norway, TCO is a specialist and pioneer in the design and supply of downhole glass plugs.

The company’s TDP (tubing disappearing plug) glass plug was launched in 2004 and since then has received a number of industry development awards and partnerships with major players in the oil and gas market. TCO’s largest shareholders are AS Atlantis Vest, Herman Friele, Kalfret A/S and Borea Opportunity AS, and its influence is growing in a number of emerging markets. Certified to ISO 9001 standards, the company aims to continuously improve quality provision throughout operations and has adopted a zero injury policy for both employees and customers. Since its inception, TCO has grown to supply clients in Australia, Angola, Congo, Norway, Denmark, the UK and the US, with its blossoming reputation growing in prominence.

Morten Lerbrekk, sales manager of TCO, outlines the company’s capabilities: “Our expertise predominantly lies in downhole ISO qualified barrier plugs that are unique because they are made of glass and have a superior mechanism where they can be opened remotely by applying pressure cycles. This means that the need for intervention to open wells is made redundant, making operations more efficient. Essentially our range centres around these glass plugs in various sizes and we have three variations.”

The original TDP operates by being installed in a tubing joint and is integrated in the completion string or liner. The firing mechanism is built into two trigger towers and is based on a pyrotechnic system and is activated by hydraulic pressure cycles. The second generation of this product and the latest addition to the portfolio, the TDP2, is a remotely operated barrier plug that once disappeared, bursts into sand particles leaving a full inner diameter. This product has benefits in leaving no interfering debris in the wellbore after it has opened, alternatively a timer based system is also available to activate the firing device. The third option, known as the IDSP (intervention disappearing smart plug), is a temporary barrier system that can act as a pressure barrier during work down a well. It can be installed in the well with standard setting tools on wireline and pipe. All of the products utilise the same firing systems and glass plug technology to deliver a quality downhole service.

TCO supplies to all of the major oil and gas operators, which include StatoilHydro in Norway, Talisman, BP, Shell, Marathon, Apache Energy in Australia and Conoco Phillips. Morten highlights the key strengths that have attracted such as range of market leaders: “The main advantage our product provides is in the fact that it is remotely operated, reducing the need for intervention. It is also low risk because should the pressure cycle not open the plug, then we can go down and break the glass by either spearing it, milling it open or by using a Shootdown tool (SDT) that can be run on e-line or slickline.”

In the past year TCO has opened new offices in Houston and the UK, installing two employees in each place, which has brought the company in direct contact with clients in those two areas and has opened a whole new field of potential for future expansion. A sales representative is also permanently based in Brazil. Morten explains that it is important to have the company represented in the area where TCO has activity and to follow up actively on ongoing contracts whilst remaining in close communication with suppliers that can work as agents for the business on a global level. Despite the economic crisis, the organisation is expecting to see a major increase in revenue as a result of entering the global market instead of focusing on a small number of local regions. In addition, TCO is aiming to develop its product portfolio to meet the needs of new geographical markets – a wider range of sizes and abilities are required due to the fact that the Norwegian market predominantly demands bigger sizes while alternative regions may request a smaller plug. Continuous R&D will aid the goal to improve the current product range and working closely with clients on joint ventures will result in a range tailored to their exact needs.

Morten concludes with his vision for TCO’s future: “We are expanding at a speed we are comfortable with, we don’t want to grow too fast though the potential is there. We are getting positive feedback from our clients all the time and major interest in our products is received from all over the world. We will continue to enter new areas with our existing products and as we grow we will be able to add differing products to our offering. We will use the advantage of already being in contact with clients across the world to propel R&D and innovation, as well as identifying regions for further expansion. We are even working towards competing in the land market with the creation of new products that can handle a wide range of demands. I am extremely optimistic about our future.”


Products Downhole glass plugs