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2008

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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Dwayne McClelland, Chevron Pacific Indonesia: Industry must stay on alert with safety, well control training

By Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor Dwayne McClelland is a fourth-generation oilfield worker. His father worked on the service side with Weatherford for many years, eventually owning his own company as an oilfield manufacturer’s agent. His grandfather was a driller and toolpusher in southwestern Louisiana. And more than 100 years ago, his great-grandfather ran a team of mule-drawn wooden wagons that delivered tools to drilling rigs. You might say that drilling is in his blood. Mr McClelland, senior drilling advisor for Chevron Pacific Indonesia, said that he had already developed an interest in drilling from going out to rigs with his father in Germany, Austria and North Africa while growing up. During his senior year in high school, a three-day ...

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People, Companies & Products

Weatherford awarded 2 ½-year Sakhalin contract Weatherford International has been awarded a 2 ½-year contract with Sakhalin Energy Investment Company for tubular running services on its Piltun-Astokhskoye-B (PA-B) processing and production platform off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia. The contract includes Weatherford’s new OverDrive casing running and drilling equipment and services for up to 13 wells on the PA-B platform — part of Sakhalin II, one of the world’s largest integrated oil and gas development projects. Weatherford began providing conventional tubular running services for Sakhalin Energy on the Sakhalin II project in 2004 on the Molikpaq platform and mechanized tubular running services on the Lunskoye-A platform in 2006. To date, the company continues to work on these projects. ...

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Creating oil patch professionals: Training standards in development to give workers deserved recognition

By Bill McPherson, Noble Drilling Services Inc “I am the age-old story of the oilfield. I am third-generation oilfield who started college and made some bad decisions and ended up working the past twenty-odd years in it… I have made a good living in the oilfield, but there has always been that little something missing … a college degree.” (e-mail from an oil patch professional) With the world’s thirst for oil and gas increasing every day, our industry has become more and more vital to not only national interests but also world interests. Hurricane disruptions have shown what impact our industry can have on the economies of nations. And, still vivid in the minds of the general public is the ...

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D&C Tech Digest

World’s first subsea facility to separate, inject water, sand from wellstream goes on-stream at Tordis field The world’s first complete subsea solution for separating and injecting water and sand from the wellstream is on stream and creating added value at the Tordis field, said StatoilHydro. This technology is a breakthrough for a new generation of subsea solutions in the oil industry. The Tordis subsea development is part of a project that will improve the recovery factor for the Tordis field from 49% to 55%. This amounts to roughly 35 million bbl of oil, in addition to associated gas. The full potential of the subsea facility has not yet been realised due to unforeseen challenges with the injection well, but alternative ...

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D&C News

BP makes 15th discovery in ultra-deepwater Angola block Sonangol and BP have announced the Portia oil discovery in ultra-deepwater Block 31, offshore Angola. Portia is the 15th discovery that BP has drilled in Block 31. The well is approximately 7 km north of the Titania discovery. Portia was drilled in a water depth of 2,012 m, some 386 km northwest of Luanda, and reached 5,678 m TVD below sea level. This is the fourth discovery in Block 31 where the exploration well has been drilled through salt to access the oil-bearing sandstone reservoir beneath. Well test results confirmed the capacity of the reservoir to flow in excess of 5,000 bbl/day. Pride drillships awarded contracts by BP, Petrobras Pride International has ...

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New IADC committee to tackle guidelines, stats for rig automation

Mike Killalea, group vice president & publisher Rig Automation is not only here to stay, it continues to intensify in sophistication and complexity. Mechanized rigs are increasingly common, observed Gregers Kudsk, vice president-engineering and projects for Maersk Contractors, speaking in a 5 March Plenary Session at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference in Orlando, Fla. (4-6 March). In some areas of the world, he said, automation is not optional, but required. Compared with traditional technology, Mr Kudsk said, new technologies can save 20% or more in drilling time. He pointed out that only about 30% of total drilling time is spent drilling and tripping, while the rest is flat time. Therefore, our real opportunity for increased efficiency is by narrowing that 70% ...

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