3d printing in the oil and gas industry is in its infancy. The ability to use 3d printing to not only produce tools and equipment, that could not be manufactured in traditional manners, is only the beginning. There are several possible applications for 3d printing to facilitate this project:
• Controlled deposition of unique and varied barrier materials
• Equipment development for purpose
• Integration of data sensors within casing materials
• Production of planning models for analysis and review
With 3d printing it is possible to “print” in a controlled manner the desired material or material blends to get unique characteristics that would not be possible any other way. The ability to create and blend materials in a planned structure to accommodate the downhole environment would be a step forward in the evolution of hydraulic barriers. 3d printing will allow us to rethink the way oil and gas downhole tools and materials are created and the functions that they perform. The power of 3d printing may allow us to implant long term data gathering sensors right in the barrier materials themselves using technology derived from muti-material deposition from standard FDM 3d printer technology. 3d printing also has many uses in the physical 3d modeling of formation structures and flow analysis for peer review. 3d printings unique layering technology can recreate the details of complex natural geological formations, bringing another dimension to project planning. In 3d printing the user of the tool limits the possibilities of this technology more than the technology of 3d printing itself.
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