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November/December

For Exxon retiree Leon Robinson, drilling continues to be an addictive fascination he just can’t quit

By Linda Hsieh, associate editor If there’s one thing Leon Robinson learned during his 39-year career with Exxon, it’s that drilling isn’t a science. For all the textbook learning he did to earn three degrees in physics, it still wasn’t enough to truly understand drilling. “Drilling is equal part science and art,” he said. The science of it can be taught in textbooks and classrooms, but the art of it — the experience — you have to get yourself. That’s why field work is such a critical part of training for the new generation of drilling engineers. For Dr Robinson, his own early career was mostly limited to lab work at Exxon Production Research. That’s why it took him 20 ...

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People, Companies & Products

Organizational changes at National Oilwell Varco Becky Byrd has been named vice president corporate marketing for National Oilwell Varco. She has served as corporate marketing manager and most recently as director of corporate marketing following the Varco merger in 2005. Mark Reese has been named president of NOV’s Rig Solutions Group. He served as president of the Mission Products Group from 2000 to 2004, later named president of NOV’s Expendable Products Group from 2004 to 2007. Jeremy Thigpen has been named president of Downhole and Pumping Solutions for NOV. He has held various positions for the Downhole Tools Group, including general manager of the Gulf Coast region and US sales manager. Robert Workman is president of the Distribution Services Group ...

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WellCAP Plus is ‘top of crown’ for IADC’s WellCAP

By Steve Kropla, IADC At the Well Control Conference of the Americas in late August, keynote speaker David Payne, Chevron vice president of drilling & completion, drew attention to IADC’s WellCAP Plus program as a key tool for dealing with some of the industry’s complex training needs. WellCAP Plus provides a high-level skill set for well control and challenging learning experiences. It serves as both an alternative and a supplemental program to the standard WellCAP supervisory level training by promoting a discovery process that improves critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The course is intended primarily for managers, company men, engineers and rig supervisors who have previously attended typical well control supervisory courses and are seeking to challenge their well control ...

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D&C Tech Digest

Hughes Christensen PDC bits set field record in Mexico’s challenging southeast marine region Hughes Christensen has set a field record using its Genesis XT PDC bits in Mexico’s southeast marine region. Historically, the Ixtal field’s Cretaceous formation, consisting of fractured mudstone and wackstone and 5% to 10% interlays of bentonite and chert, had been drilled with 8 ½-in. TCI bits and a seal reliability limit of 350,000 revolutions, resulting in multiple runs at low rates of penetration. For Ixtal-34, a competitor ran a new impregnated bit design for increasing ROP. The performance was poor, so the operator pulled it out of hole and asked Hughes Christensen for a bit proposal to solve the problem. The team recommended a 13-blade Genesis ...

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D&C News

Noble takes delivery of new jackup from Chinese shipyard Noble Corp has taken delivery of a new high-specification jackup drilling rig constructed by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry in Dalian, China. The Noble Roger Lewis, the first of three such rigs being built for the company, is in transit to its inaugural drilling assignment in Qatar, where it will work under contract to Shell. The Noble Roger Lewis was constructed based on the F&G JU-2000E design, which includes enhanced environmental protection, safety and drilling efficiency features. It is designed to operate in water depths up to 400 ft and is equipped to drill wells in high-pressure, high-temperature environments up to 30,000 ft deep. Atwood Hunter to be moved to Libya Atwood Oceanics ...

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Industry getting in deeper in GOM

Mike Killalea, Editor & Publisher Go deep, young man, might be the advice of a 21st-century Horace Greeley. In the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico, BP estimates that some 22 billion bbl remain to be discovered – this beyond the 18 billion bbl already found, of which that major participates in about a fourth. “We’re very much in the dearly creaming stage,” remarked BP Americas head of operations Keith Elliott, speaking at LAGCOE in October. IADC Drilling Gulf of Mexico 2007, 5-6 December in Galveston, will examine the challenges and promise of the deepwater GOM. Subsalt and extra salt are special considerations, as are high-pressure reservoirs. “Where we see ourselves today, high pressure is more of an issue [than high ...

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News Cuttings

IADC Technology Meet held in Vizag on India’s east coast For the first time, the IADC South Central Asia Chapter has held its Technology Meet outside of Mumbai — this time in Vizag (Visakhapatnam) on India’s east coast in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Recent oil/gas discoveries by ONGC, RIL, GSPC and Cairn Energy have indicated the vast hydrocarbon potential of the area. The 18th Technology Meet: Vision East Coast was inaugurated by U.N. Bose, ONGC director-T&FS and SCA Chapter chairman. Addressing the attendees, Mr Bose said that the present E&P era is facing problems such as depletion, aging fields and shortage of manpower. However, India’s east coast offers a ray of hope with its prospective oil and gas finds, ...

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‘Safety is the most important decision we make. Everything comes after safety.’

For H&P’s John Lindsay, safety must remain top priority as drilling industry balances focus on people, security, environment By Linda Hsieh, associate editor In 1986, average crude oil prices fell to $14.64 per barrel and the average US rig count dipped below 1,000 for the first time since 1972. It was a tough year for both the drilling industry and the general oil business. It was also the year John Lindsay graduated from the University of Tulsa with a petroleum engineering degree. Out of the 50 petroleum engineering graduates at the school that year, half were international students who likely had jobs waiting for them back home. For the other half, the pickings were slim. “There weren’t many jobs to ...

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Wirelines

Supreme court to hear Exxon appeal The US Supreme Court has agreed to take up ExxonMobil’s appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court decision made after the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska. The circuit court had said that the company, as shipowner, could be held liable vicariously for punitive damages for the actions of the ship’s crew, which caused the accident. The Supreme Court decision’s to take the appeal follows an amicus curiae brief that IADC filed in September to support ExxonMobil’s appeal. IADC’s brief highlighted the fact that the Ninth Circuit’s opinion conflicts with more than 200 years of federal maritime law and with other circuit court rulings. GOM acreage may become Sanctuary The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric ...

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From the President: IADC Ethics and Corporate Compliance Committee leads way to higher standards

There’s no doubt that the drilling industry is global. Drilling contractors who used to operate in just one region or one country might now operate in five or six countries, or even 10 to 20. Each country comes with its own unique set of laws and customs that the drilling contractor must comply with. It is no easy task to navigate these labyrinths alone. That’s why IADC recently formed the Ethics and Corporate Compliance Committee, headed by committee chairman Brady Long, Pride International’s chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel. The goal is to help drilling contractors better comply with anti-corruption laws through shared best practices. POSITIVE RESPONSE The committee held its inaugural meeting in late September, and response was ...

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