Drilling, Pressure and
Pumping Solutions

Mist Pumps


Accurate mist and foam injection rates are vital if designed bottom hole pressures and the intended lifting capacites are to be achieved.

In most air/foam drilling scenarios a mist pump that can accurately pump between 5 and 80 Gals/Min will suffice.

It is also advantageous to have one or two dosing pumps available that can accurately (and independently) feed the mist pump, allowing for an enviromentally friendly recirculating foam system (one pump injecting the foamer and the other injecting the breaker)

Most mist pumps are diesel powered, zone rated units fitted with air starter motor, exhaust spark arrestor and remotely operated intake strangler systems.

Rotating Control Heads

1502 recommend that only Rotating Control Devices that comply to the recent API specification 16RCD are used. The technical content provides requirements for design, performance, materials, tests and inspection, welding, marking, handling, storing, and shipping. However it should be noted that the specification does not apply to field use or field-testing of RCDs. 

1502 no longer stocks its own rotating heads instead preferring to rent the most suitable head when needed to suit your Air, Managed Pressure or Underbalanced drilling operations.

We ensure that all RCD's used have been rigorously bench tested and comes complete with the requiredl documentation and certification. On location, 1502's can supply specialists who will assist in the initial installation and familiarize the crew with the basic operation and daily maintenance of the unit. More advanced training can be provided if desired. Additional equipment such as a logging adaptor or adaptor spools are available upon request.

Air Handling

Most compressors and boosters allow very limited volume control. They are either pumping or not. This makes it very difficult to pump a designed air rate at all times.

Although, in many cases, the mist pump can be adjusted to give the required foam quality, planned mist rate changes (when coming off-bottom with downhole motors for example) are extremely difficult to carry out.

1502 use advanced variable rate compressors and boosters so that accurate rates and pressures can be maintained at all times.

Wireline Retrievable Floats

To avoid long bleed down times when making connections during air drilling operations additional floats can be added to the drill string at regular intervals.

In contrast to fixed-float valves that are made up as part of the drillstring, our valves makes up to an industry standard X-lock assembly that is latched into a drillstring profile sub. This makes it possible for fishing operations to reach the BHA (and retrieve expensive MWD gear) which is not possible when using fixed valve configurations.


To ensure as designed operations it is vital to have real time data from the air and mist equipment available at all times.

1502 have industry best rate and pressure sensors installed on all our equipment. Standard 4 - 20mA output allows for integation into almost any data gathering system such as PASON for real time transmission or offsite analysis

Data aquired during drilling operations is then available for analysis and comparison to scenarios modelled before the job.


Because air is the ideal low density drilling medium, air drilling provides many advantages. However to achieve the best results and greatest economy, several factors must be considered for air drilling. The best conditions for air drilling involve hard, dry formations that produce minimal formation liquids. Once the formation is completely dry, or the influx of liquids is small enough to be absorbed in the air stream, the drill cuttings return to the surface as dust. The process allows for the immediate and sustained evaluation of hydrocarbons.

Other advantages of air drilling are low cost, increased rate of penetration, extended bit life, superior control in cavernous and lost circulation areas, and minimal damage to liquid-sensitive pay zones.

Increased rate of penetration occurs because the low density of air or gas used minimizes hydrostatic pressure and aids with the cutting actions of the bit. It is not uncommon to see 30 ft/hr conventional drilling rates increase to 200 ft/hr provide the conditions are suitable.

Drilling with air reduce the hydrostatic pressure in the wellbore to almost zero. If Mist Drilling, the column is then be "weighted" to about 0.2 by injecting small amounts of fluid. Increasing the fluid volumes and adding a surfactant creates a foam which in many applications is the preferred option. Foam has superior cuttings carrying capabilities and also keeps the bit cooler than mist drilling which lessens the possability of downhole fires. Conversely, in Aerated Drilling, a fluid (water, oil-based mud, etc) is lightened down to an SG of about 0.6 by injecting gas.

In all cases however, the formation damage by fluid invasion is minimized which usually results in a more productive well.

Why use Certified Rotating Control Heads?

Shell have questioned the practice of using un-tested rotating control heads(see full article here).

"It is Shell's position that RCDs have to be tested" according to Mr David Elliott. "We don't want BOPs that are not tested, and we're not going to go with RCDs that aren't tested anymore. Our position is that we will only work with companies that have tested enough to know what the test results are relevant to our application." "Integrity of the RCD is a big issue," he said. "We drill underbalanced whenever we can, and when we can't, we use managed pressure drilling"

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