Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

New Plymouth Firm Challenges Foreign Competitors

A prototype tool that grips and rotates tubes used in oil wells - without marking them - could enable small New Plymouth firm Austoil Engineering Services Ltd to challenge the dominance of big overseas companies.

Austoil's prototype is a hydraulic-driven tong that rotates tubes and casings, and screws them together. It was built with funding assistance from Technology New Zealand, part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, which invests in research into new products, processes or services.

"Because high-chrome tubulars require kid-glove handling, we wanted to develop a gripping mechanism that wouldn't mark the tubes and pipes," company accountant Euan Saunders says.

"In the world-wide oil and gas drilling and production industry, there is a concerted move to high-chrome products that don't easily corrode. For example, in New Zealand during the past six months, nearly 70 per cent of tubing installed in production wells was chrome."

The effectiveness of chrome tubing is considerably reduced if it gets even a small mark - or "hot spot" - in the assembly process, so it has to be handled gently.

Mr Saunders says Austoil used the prototype successfully in a job for Fletcher Challenge Energy Ltd at its Taranaki Tariki 1A oil well. "It was a job where the old tubing was pulled out of the well and replaced with new chrome tubing. We used the tool to screw together 270 pieces of 12-metre length tubing under normal oil rig conditions, so we know the system works."

The project to develop new intellectual property largely resulted from a company decision several years ago to expand in areas and products of existing "knowledge and skill". Mr Saunders says it was a technological advance for a small New Zealand company.

"It means we can offer a highly skilled service in New Zealand which is currently only available through overseas contractors. In addition, while we developed the tool for our own use and for sale, the ramifications of the uses of a device that can grip tubular items at extremely high torque without damage, appear quite extensive.

He says Austoil would have done the project without funding assistance anyway, "because we believed we could make it and sell it, but not having the grant from the Foundation would have made the project harder and longer.

"To fund it all ourselves means the money has to come out of normal cashflow. For a small company that is a hugely significant decision."

-ends-

Contact: * Euan Saunders, Austoil Engineering Services Ltd, Dakota Pl, Bell Block, Taranaki. Ph: (06) 755-1129. Fax: (06) 755-1804. euan@austoil.com

* Tony Hadfield, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, (04) 917-7800 or 025 454 095. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525, ian@idcomm.co.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media Mega Merger: StuffMe Hearing Argues Over Moveable Feast

New Zealand's two largest news publishers are appealing against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Elsewhere:


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>

ALSO:


Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>