Arkansas Patent of the Month – April 2023

Pruitt Tool & Supply Co. are experts in the design of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) solutions. It is their prerogative to make drilling as simple as possible. In their words “drilling is tough enough” and fitting MPD together shouldn’t make it any tougher.

In line with this mission, the company has recently patented their design for a resettable pressure relief valve, aimed at improving worker safety and equipment longevity. The technology is a Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) that is incorporated into a Rotating Control Device (RCD) to relieve overpressure in the wellbore. 

When traditional RCD seal elements fail, pressurized wellbore fluid is released and directed upwards towards the rig floor, which can lift rig floor decking and cause personnel injury. Pruitt’s PRV is located at the RCD bowl and discharges any pressure release of drilling fluid to a contained area. This piping prevents the drilling mud from being released into the environment, reducing the potential harm to the environment.

The PRV is resettable and set to relieve pressure below the maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP) of the RCD. This helps to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic RCD element failures and associated risks. It also allows for discharge of the over-pressurized wellbore, which could potentially lead to well control influx events.

Pruitt’s invention also includes controlling the direction of the pressure discharge to the downstream side of the isolation valve, isolating return drilling mud flow back to the rig’s return drilling mud system, which is a contained and atmospheric system. This feature reduces the potential damage to the equipment and the likelihood of harm to drilling personnel.

The PRV is a vital component of drilling operations, particularly in MPD and Underbalanced Drilling (UBD) operations, and is commonly located downstream of the RCD outlet and the isolation valve. The present invention positions the PRV directly onto the RCD bowl (body), which is a unique feature that reduces the potential failure of an RCD element and/or seals.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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