Today’s fracking industry is producing more energy resources than ever, but traditional practices often pose significant risks to operators and crewmen. Innovative technologies such as RigLock® give operators and crew the capacity to safely manage pressure control in one of the most dangerous aspects of the fracking process.
Reduce Dangers at Fracking Wells
Traditional pressure control practices attaching and detaching the nightcap and wireline lubricators, and extracting and inserting the ball plug required manual labor by personnel who are positioned in a basket at the top of the wellhead. The situation created three distinct dangers:
- Workers on an aerial lift were suspended 40 feet in the air, and reaching out to maneuver wellhead equipment raised the risk even higher for falls or injuries;
- The procedure required workers to perform under a suspended load, which increased the risk of injury should the load slip or fall, and
- Workers were also required to manipulate the equipment manually to get it into place or removed. Any inadvertent movement by the rig, the basket, or the worker could cause a fall or other serious injury.
RigLock® Reinvents Pressure Control Technology
RigLock® was invented directly as a response to these concerns. Installing RigLock® at the wellhead and removing the person completely from the wellhead pressure control operations also removes all threats of injury. Instead, the hydraulically controlled RigLock® lets operators connect and disconnect the lubricator wireline and nightcap remotely and from a safe distance.
How RigLock® Works
There are three pieces to the RigLock® system:
- The physical RigLock® that sits on top of the frac tree,
- The wireline adaptor that attaches to the lubricator,
- The control unit that can be placed at the side of the location, well out of the danger zone.
The control unit uses monitors to show wellhead pressure and includes safety features to prevent the lubricator from unlocking while under pressure. It prevents it from inadvertently unlocking RigLock® at the wrong time. The remote control feature also provides an efficient process to extract and remove the nightcap. The controls to extract and insert the nightcap are now located at the panel, eliminating the need for a worker to do the job in a dangerous environment.
Easily visible from all angles, RigLock® has a built-in funnel so connections are easy to make for the operator. RigLock® also saves time – the traditional practice required a 25-minute window for the worker to complete the function – RigLock® takes only eight minutes. And the remote controls keep personnel out of high-pressurized zones so other equipment and processes don’t have to shut down while humans are in the vicinity.