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May/June

Challenges evolve for directional drilling through salt in deepwater Gulf of Mexico

by R.R. Israel, P. D’Ambrosio, A.D. Leavitt, Schlumberger; J.M. Shaughnessey, BP America; and J. Sanclemente, Chevron North America E&P As an increasing number of 6,000-ft-plus deepwater developments come on stream in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), project economics dictate that fewer subsurface drill centers be used to develop these fields. This requires longer step-outs, pushing kickoff points higher up the wellbore, often occurring within extensive salt bodies. Salt drilling is still a relatively new practice and presents drilling challenges that are still not totally understood. Adding a directional component to that not only magnifies existing problems but also introduces new challenges. This article will discuss the challenges faced and the lessons learned by two major deepwater GoM operators and the ...

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Is the gulf of Mexico the dead sea? Not by a long shot, judging from operator investments

Is the Gulf of Mexico the dead sea? Not by long shot, judging from operator investments The US Gulf of Mexico has been called the Dead Sea more than once in the last quarter-century, and some companies are beginning to think that again – at least as far as the shelf is concerned. However, many companies working in the Gulf today will tell you it’s far from even being ill. Deepwater is going gangbusters and expected to continue at an extremely high activity level based on the number of deepwater and ultra-deepwater rigs entering the region. Recent lease sale activity also bodes well for a strong deepwater market. The fact that several new operators were formed during the past couple ...

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3-year study concludes industry needs stronger focus on asset integrity

By Taf Powell, International Regulators Forum Editor’s note: This article is the first in a series of articles to be published during 2008 that will focus on the critical issue of asset integrity. The International Regulators Forum kicks off the series in this issue, presenting findings from a three-year inspection programme. In upcoming issues, The Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) of Norway, Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) and the Netherlands’ State Supervision of Mines will all provide their perspectives on how industry can improve asset integrity. A major programme of inspection by the UK regulator focused on installation integrity on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) reveals the need for major improvement. This article describes some of the significant ...

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Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, where risks are big but rewards can be bigger

by Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor These days, you have to look much further out in the Gulf of Mexico – past the slowly thinning jackups on the shelf – to see the region’s brightest prospects. It’s no secret that deepwater is seen as the future of the Gulf of Mexico. Significant discoveries in the last couple of years have further delineated the Lower Tertiary trend and given operators much to thrill over. And with crude oil prices breaking the $100 mark and showing no signs of backing down, deepwater GOM has fully grown into a “must-get” market. Just look at the March 2008 Gulf of Mexico lease sales, which roped in a record-setting $3.7 billion in high bids. Roughly ...

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