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2007

Lessons of Katrina, Rita, Ivan bear fruit in GOM for offshore industry facing wrath of Dean

Operators and contractors had an unsought, but inevitable opportunity to put the lessons of hurricanes Ivan (2004) Katrina and Rita (2005) to the test at summer’s end, faced with the menace of Hurricane Dean. Rebounding off of 2006’s welcome hurricane doldrums, Dean swept mightily into the Gulf of Mexico in late August. Dean’s arrow-straight trajectory skirted US Gulf of Mexico development areas. However, it bee-lined across the Caribbean, landing hard as a Category 5 storm on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula early on 21 August. It was reported as the most intense hurricane to hit land there in nearly 2 decades. The industry had its act squared away, busily securing equipment and spiriting personnel ashore. Dean was expected to spend the 21st ...

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Engine manufacturers work on supply chains, reliability as drilling contractor demands rise

When lead times for critical equipment like engines reach into the 24-months range, as is currently typical, frustrations can surface. Engine manufacturers Wärtsilä and Cummins know their customers want to see change. “Engine demand is clearly outstripping supply. Everyone is trying to get more suppliers on line, as well as increase internal capacity,” said Erik Drewry, oil & gas segment leader for US-based Cummins. The company has adopted a multi-pronged approach by focusing on increasing assembly and supplier capacity, streamlining supply chains and optimizing assembly operations. Finland-based Wärtsilä said that in addition to investments in production facilities, it has concentrated on improving dialogue through the supply chain. “When you make a decision to increase capacity, it’s not a single decision. ...

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Purpose-built land rigs produce step change in drilling time, cost, and opportunities

By E.S. Kolstad, New Tech Engineering; L.D. Steinke, L.S. Brady, Williams Production RMT Company; S.P. Marchand, Helmerich & Payne International Drilling Company Rising natural gas prices and Wall Street demands have come together to create a new culture of aggressiveness in natural gas development for one operator in the Piceance Basin. Meeting and exceeding growing production targets has had significant challenges. Purpose-built efficiency rigs were specifically designed by the rig contractor and the operator to meet some of those challenges. The specific development program described here is a mature field development project with difficult topography and other land-use complications. The operator was faced with the challenge of significantly accelerating development of assets with greater capital efficiency, safety and environmental stewardship. ...

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Smith Bits’ IDEAS platform provides dynamic model to optimally design, test drill bits

By Prabhakaran Centala, Smith Bits In response to a drilling industry that continues to push drill bit manufacturers for bits that are application-specific, high performing and durable, Smith Technologies developed its IDEAS (Integrated Dynamic Engineering Analysis System) bit design platform. Originally developed to optimally design roller cone bits, the advanced engineering modeling system has been applied to fixed cutter bits as well. Now, every new Smith Bits drill bit is developed and certified with the IDEAS software, which allows the precise prediction of the performance of a new bit design before the first prototype is run downhole. IDEAS was developed as an advanced method of designing and testing application-specific bit designs. The objective was to produce improved bit designs while ...

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Varel bit design enhances hydraulic flow to improve ROP in Barnett Shale lateral drilling

By Jerry Greenberg, contributing editor Chesapeake Energy operated four rigs in the Barnett Shale field when it entered the region in 2002. Today, the company has 36 rigs in the play, which are among its more than 150 operated rigs nationwide—more than double the next closest operator. During the spring of 2007, Chesapeake became the US’s largest independent producer of natural gas. The operator also is the most active driller and the largest leasehold owner in the Core and Tier 1 sweet spot of Tarrant, Johnson and western Dallas counties, committing $1 billion to the play in its 2007-08 drilling budget. Chesapeake’s reserves have reached a record 10 Tcfe, and the operator is achieving a reserve replacement rate of 41.6%. ...

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100% core recovery over 3 runs in horizontal well marks a first on Petrobras’ Bonitas field

By Mark Thomas, Gary Clemens, Halliburton’s Security DBS For the oil company, the two most important parameters in formation evaluation are the amount of hydrocarbon in place and the amount that’s economically recoverable. Coring provides the only means of access to the relevant parameters of porosity and permeability without requiring interpretation, as well logs would. This means that core samples are one of the most valuable sources of data for the study of subsurface rocks and reservoirs, making coring a vitally important method of obtaining data for geologists, drilling engineers, petrophysicists and reservoir engineers. Halliburton’s Security DBS drill bits recently cut and recovered three cores totaling 52 m from the 8 ½-in. horizontal hole of a Bonitas well for Petrobras, ...

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Advances in steel tooth technology improve drill bit performance in GOM applications

By Bobby Grimes, Robert Buske and William Thompson, Hughes Christensen Despite significant PDC encroachment into traditional roller-cone applications, steel tooth (ST) bits still drill approximately half of the total footage in the US Gulf of Mexico. Selection of PDC or ST bits is largely driven by the drilling fluid that is used. PDCs are generally favored in oil-base or synthetic-base muds, while ST bits are favored in water-base mud (WBM) applications. The ST’s resistance to balling in WBM and desirable steerability characteristics will continue to make them viable tools in GOM applications for the foreseeable future. Despite advances, the basic ST cutting structure has remained fundamentally unchanged for four decades. An R&D effort convinced the bit manufacturer a new ST ...

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Solids Control: Shale shaker makers push advances in power, efficiency, automation

By Jerry Greenberg, contributing editor Efficient solids control equipment translates into, among other things, higher rates of penetration (ROP), reduced stuck pipe incidents and good wellbore stability. These translate into better drilling performance by the drilling contractor and savings for the operator. Upon first glance, shale shakers and other solids control equipment appear to look the same as always. However, some equipment manufacturers have enhanced the “typical” shaker with better and more efficient screens, more powerful and lighter motors resulting in higher G forces to better clean mud, and varying levels of automation, from simple sensors to complete automation that one company claims can eliminate the human factor. Additionally, centrifuges are becoming bigger and faster, with larger bowl sizes capable ...

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Improved top drive systems boost reliability, push capacity limits

By Jerry Greenberg, contributing editor About 20 years ago, drilling contractors were struggling to decide whether to use a relatively new, to the drilling industry at least, piece of equipment that could drill wells 20% to 40% faster. In the mid-1980s, top drive drilling systems were estimated to cost between $500,000 and $750,000, a veritable bargain today. However, drilling contractors were concerned about the reliability of such a new machine, whether they could pay for the equipment during its lifetime, much less during a particular contract, and whether the equipment would even be accepted by operators. In fact, operators embraced the technology when they saw how much time and money it could save them. Most of the cost savings in ...

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