What is Wireline?

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What is Wireline? - McClain Oil Tools - Longview, TX

Wireline is a general term used to describe the use of a multi-conductor, single conductor or slickline cable, or “wireline” for intervention in oil or gas wells. Wireline cabling is used to aid in pipe recovery duties, well intervention, and evaluation tasks.

As a way to bring effective action, wire-line services are used in a multitude of areas, starting from basic down-hole jobs to milling, as part of a well intervention. In highly diverged or horizontal wells, a tool called a wire-line tractor is used when the wire cannot advance any further in the horizontal section. The tractor pulls the wire-line forward. In numerous applications, wire-line tractors have proved in some situations to have more effective gains compared to other methods. Onshore, wire-line units are truck-mounted, whereas, in offshore applications, the units are skid-mounted and can be installed on and removed from a drilling rig on a lift-boat fairly efficiently and quickly.

It can be deployed from the surface by winch and hanger method (i.e., “wire line”), or as part of an electric logging system (“slick line”) including wire with electromagnetic pulse resistivity measuring capability. It also includes coiled tubing which may have cables embedded within its body for drilling fluid delivery and measurement purposes. In some applications such as directional drilling, it has proven more effective than other methods like MWDs or LWD.

Wirelines are long cables that can transmit electric power and other signals over great distances.
Wireline cables may be:

  • Multi-conductor wire is used for time lapse electrical logging.
  • Single conductor wire is usually used as a backup to multiline cable in the event of breakage or failure, and it can also be used for well control purposes such as tripping out gas wells during low pressure periods which could lead to dangerous blowouts.
  • Slick line refers to cables without conductors that are made from stainless steel wires with an outer jacketing of synthetic rubber designed not only for pulling using winch but also drilling fluids delivery through coiled tubing. It has no limitation on its size so long as it will fit into the bore hole.

The term slickline derives from “slicked” which means coated with liquid grease or oil. Slickline, in contrast to wireline logging, which is the use of wireline cable for well intervention and evaluation purposes only, may be used as a drilling fluid delivery or pulling system with winch (wireless) capability. In wireline, logging operations often take place without any need for an external power source because power is shared through inductive coupling. This can save time on site by reducing downtime due to other equipment failures that are not related to the wireline itself.

No matter the application, McClain Oil Tools offers a variety of Wireline expendable parts to be used for a job. We offer stuffing box packing, collar stop tubing springs, blow out plugs, vee packing, quick union o-rings, stack packs, and BOP parts. We also offer a vast variety of Well Measuring Lines in many different grades, lengths, and diameters. Check our our Wireline Parts page for all the wireline products we offer.

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