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Inflatable Packers International (“IPI”) Permeability Testing Tool Developments

Perth (Australia) based “IPI” continue to upgrade their range of permeability tools for the mining and geotechnical industry. IPI are global market leaders in the provision of hydraulic testing tools for major mining, coal bed methane and geotechnical projects (which include civil engineering and CO2 Sequestration).

Perth (Australia) based “IPI” continue to upgrade their range of permeability tools for the mining and geotechnical industry. IPI are global market leaders in the provision of hydraulic testing tools for major mining, coal bed methane and geotechnical projects (which include civil engineering and CO2 Sequestration).

The IPI Standard Wireline Packer System ( SWiPS™) now has a revised Inflation Valve Assembly ( patent pending) that dispenses with the more conventional shear pin design. The SWiPS™ tool has also been successfully run in NTW format, as a modification to the standard NQ version. The SWiPS™ family of hydraulic permeability testing toolsis  built to work with standard wireline coring systems. Unlike the more traditional pneumatic (nitrogen-inflated) systems they are very well suited to deep ( 300m+) and remote projects.

IPI have recently launched a third generation of their well established setting tool for use with inflatable packers. Renamed  the “ST” series it still comes in the basic 60mm, 86mm and 114mm formats.  The ST series has the following features (with patent pending), following recent developments gained from experience with the Australian CBM industry:

  • A balanced piston valve with  virtual zero displacement that reduces pressure spike distortions and also enables coiled tubing deployment
  • A 4th stage on the tool that enables circulation and therefore more readily enables tubing drainage for inflow ( DST) tests and drilling fluid circulation to maintain hole integrity during testing in unstable boreholes
  • A low frictional loss format that is well suited to the high flow / high pressure testing now common with more consolidated coal formations
  • Real time surface readout options for test monitoring while shut in
  • A streamlined range of inflatable packers  from 57mm to 177m OD that provide testing up to 5000 psi in either single or straddle format
  • A ( mineral mining) wireline option for the 60mm tool that is readily deployable within HQ or PQ corebarrels, as well as using lower pressure SWiPS™ packer elements
  • A magnesium phosphate coating that improves tool life and durability
  • Much lower capital cost, reduced lower maintenance and simpler staff training  requirements compared to more established oilfield type testing tool designs

Clem Rowe, MD of IPI, commented “IPI first introduced these tools about ten years ago. They quickly gained acceptance, not just because of our excellent core technology with the inflatable packers, but because of the tool designs that come from our years of experience with geotech drilling ops. We have worked closely with several of our clients to further improve the tools, whilst at the same time working to make the range as modular and as rugged as we can. Our increased production volume has allowed us to make continual improvements, whilst keeping the cost stable over the past ten years – which is no mean feat. It’s no surprise that client’s like all of that as well! ”

Six years ago IPI was a six person team with one industrial unit. Now they employ over 40 people globally with four sales offices and have tripled workshop space in Perth Western Australia. The majority of IPI sales are exports to mining, oil and gas projects.

 

 

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