A packer is an expandable plug used to insulate sections in a borehole or well. A specific packer needs to be selected according to the application for successful and reasonable cost. Primary considerations for selection of packer include size and differential pressure. The construction material needs to be examined in adverse physical and chemical conditions. An inflatable packer is used to expand the packer element against the casing or bore well. Inflatable packer systems have been used since 1940 in the oil and gas industry. An inflatable packer system is used for applications such as geotechnical testing, pressure grouting, mineral exploration drilling, dam construction and repair, mining applications, and oil and gas well testing.
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Inflatable packer systems have high expansion ratio and high pressure rating. They have long sealing sections which help conform the uneven sides in boreholes. Minimal outside diameter and large interior diameter are key advantages compared to other packer system. The inflatable packer technology has gained popularity due to the increase in demand for deeper underground mining activities in remote locations. This leads to the development of tools to enable deep, high pressure permeability testing and rockburst mitigation. Oilfield equipment are used for deep underground drilling activities, where control of high pressure water flow is required.
Inflatable Packer System Market: Key Segments
In terms of type, the inflatable packer system market can be divided into sliding-end packers, fixed-end packer, and others. Sliding-end packer allow the sliding of element gland on one end. The packer assembly consists of an O-ring seal, which allows one end of the element to slide on the base plate, as the diameter of element increases during inflation. The sliding-end packer is preferred for high pressure applications or open borehole where the pressure difference between the upper and lower limit of the packer ranges between 100 to 5,000 psi. Additionally, high expansion ratio can be offered for fully reinforced elements. Fixed-end packer consist of rubber element ends fixed to a pipe mandrel. Fixed packer system comprise of partially reinforced element, non-reinforced element, and fully reinforced element. The partial reinforcement packer element stop extrusion into the annular area, which is close to the packer ends of the element; however, the element tend to extrude into borehole fractures. The others segment includes mechanical packer. Mechanical packer are also known as surface set packer. These are mostly used for hard smooth rock bored holes or cased wells. The mechanical packer are inexpensive, have limited expansion range, and used for low pressure applications.
Inflatable Packer System Market: Regional Outlook
Based on region, the global inflatable packer system market can be segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is projected to lead the global inflatable packer system market during the forecast period, followed by Europe. The inflatable packer system market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand. Developing countries such as India and China are expected to create lucrative opportunities due to the rise in refinery and infrastructure investment. Latin America and Middle East & Africa constitute a small share of the global inflatable packer system market.
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Inflatable Packer System Market: Key Players
Key players operating in the global inflatable packer system market include Schlumberger Ltd., Baski Inc., Geopro, Inflatable Packers International, Baker Hughes (GE Company), Aardvark Packers, and Geomarc.