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November/December

Turbine technology innovations may enhance operator ability to tap reservoirs below 15,000 ft

By Jay Klassen and David Conroy, Smith Neyrfor As the demand for hydrocarbons in the United States continues to increase, reservoirs at depths of 15,000 ft or less are becoming increasingly depleted. Historically, 93% of all US production comes from formations above 15,000 ft, and current drilling trends document a negligible effort to discover or develop reservoirs at 15,000 ft or below. For example, over the last 10 years, more than 35,000 wells have been drilled on the outer continental shelf (OCS). Of these, only 1,842 wells penetrated strata below 15,000 ft. Statistics for land drilling are even more indicative of this trend, with only 2% of all US wells going below 15,000 ft over the last decade. Additionally, since ...

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Circulation sub development brings prospect of totally clean completions closer to reality

By Mike Churchill, Churchill Drilling Tools A significant step forward has been taken in achieving the total wellbore cleanliness that is a key factor in maximizing completion productivity. Obtaining that cleanliness is facilitated by the ability to circulate each section at will and with adequate flow to remove all contamination and debris. The evolution of circulating technologies has helped to better prepare the wellbore for the completion; however, there is one final hurdle that remains in the pursuit of a truly clean wellbore. This article discusses the issues and trials of new technologies that will enable operators to significantly increase recovery rates. CIRCULATION CONTROLS Once the liner is set into its position, a conventional wellbore cleanout assembly will be run ...

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Intelligent completions technology has come a long way since ’97, but road ahead is long

By Derek Mathieson, WellDynamics Earlier this year, WellDynamics celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the installation of the world’s first intelligent completion system. The result of a joint industry project, SmartWell technology in 1997 could have been just another start-up technology – innovative, untested and possibly infeasible from a commercial perspective. A decade later, however, the SmartWell record reflects a history of industry acceptance, having weathered hurdles that have stopped other start-up technologies, and sometimes start-up companies, in their tracks. How was 1997’s fledging technology able to “cross the chasm” from the realm of research and development to full-scale commercialization? And what will prepare the technology for sustained growth into larger markets? THE FIRST WELLS In the early 1990s, the well ...

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Fluid customization, equipment optimization enable UB drilling of high-H2S horizontal wells

By John H Hallman, Iain Cook, Weatherford International; Muhammad A Muqeem, Clark M Jarrett, Hamoud A. Shammari, Saudi Aramco Underbalanced drilling (UBD) has long been accepted as a viable well construction technique offering many benefits. UBD can avoid or minimize drilling issues such as lost circulation and stuck pipe. It increases rate of penetration (ROP) over conventional drilling techniques. It enables formation evaluation while drilling. It also reduces or eliminates formation damage because no fluid is lost to the formation in most cases, resulting in higher productivity wells, and possibly increases reserves. More recent techniques in evaluating candidates for underbalanced drilling have removed much of the uncertainty over whether a well will benefit from UBD, and new equipment and fluids ...

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Modified automated pressure-control technology offers smaller footprint for land MPD operations

By Don Reitsma, Paul Fredericks, At Balance; Roger Suter, M-I SWACO The value of automated managed pressure drilling (MPD) technology in offshore operations can be measured by the impact it has had on economic drillability. It has demonstrated the ability to solve real world pressure problems that have blocked redevelopment of deepwater depleted fields and exploration of hazardous shallow gas. As its offshore use continues to grow, automated MPD is also emerging as an onshore drilling solution for operators seeking the same practical benefits: eliminate lost circulation and ballooning, reduce NPT time, and drill technically challenging wells. In the context of this article, an automated MPD system is one that automatically manages backpressure to control the BHP at a predetermined ...

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Well control specialists face new generation of challenges in HPHT, deepwater, personnel gap

By Daniel F Eby, Cudd Well Control The drilling sector of the oil industry has made, and continues to make, great strides in advancing and applying new technology. Downhole tools for formation evaluation, extended-reach and horizontal drilling and temperature-tolerant fluids are used on a daily basis when 15 years ago they were only a recognized need for the future. Unfortunately, the well control niche of the industry has lagged behind drilling services in a noticeable way when it comes to technology advancement. ADVANCEMENTS There have been many changes in the well control industry in the last 15 years. The physical work required to cap a blowout has changed little and will likely never differ significantly from the way things have ...

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Driller’s Method vs Wait and Weight Method: One offers distinct well control advantages

By Rana S Roy, Conroy James Nini, Paul Sonnemann, Berton Thomas Gillis, Chevron The two widely used constant bottomhole circulating methods are the Driller’s Method and the Wait and Weight (W&W) Method. Well control experts are often strongly opinionated on selecting the better method to circulate an influx out of the wellbore. The purpose of this article is to highlight the major advantages and disadvantages of the two methods. The basic principle of both methods is to keep bottomhole pressure (BHP) constant at or, preferably, slightly above the formation pressure. The Driller’s Method requires two circulations. During the first circulation, the influx is circulated out with the original mud weight. Constant BHP is maintained by holding circulating drill pipe pressure ...

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Japan Drilling ready for major expansion with new jackup, semi upgrade, Qatar joint venture

For an indigenous Asian drilling contractor far away from the traditional activity centers of offshore drilling, being “international” has been more than a growth strategy for Japan Drilling Company (JDC). It has been a necessity. Ever since its very first drilling project in Indonesia in 1969, JDC has worked to establish an international presence, from up in Russia’s Sakhalin Island to the Australian Down Under, from the Middle East to Africa to Mexico.JDC’s international scope may have helped it survive the industry downturn of the past two decades, but asset divestitures during the bad times also meant that JDC was left with only about half the number of rigs it had in the early ’80s. Now, like many in the ...

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China ready to take the world stage

By Linda Hsieh, associate editor To meet soaring energy demands at home, China is working harder than ever to reach out to the global drilling community for new technologies, new equipment, new reserves. Here’s a glimpse into CNPC’s projects, ambitions, challenges and more. In the center of Daqing, a city of more than two million people in northeast China, the sprawling Iron Man Memorial Hall stands in dedication to Wang Jinxi, a 1960s oil worker who earned the nickname of “iron man” with his devotion to the development of Daqing Oilfield. He is said to have jumped into a pool of drilling mud to keep it from freezing — temperatures in Daqing can drop below -30°C in wintertime. It is ...

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Part 2: Who gets what in offshore drilling? Exploration industry forecast to decline as field development, appraisal drilling dominate

By Michael R Smith, Energyfiles This is the second of two articles discussing spending in the offshore drilling sector. The first, examining drilling spend by discipline, appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Drilling Contractor. This part looks at spending by geographic area. Offshore drilling represents a substantial part of CAPEX in all operating regions. The latest edition of “World Offshore Drilling Spend Forecast 2007-2011” from Douglas-Westwood estimates that drilling attracts nearly 45% of offshore capital expenditure and that, by 2011, the market will be worth around $62 billion, having grown from $58 billion in 2006. Each region of the world holds significant offshore oil and gas producing centres exhibiting variation in and between them. In particular, disparities have appeared ...

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