Home / 2008 / September/October (page 3)

September/October

Working the pore pressure puzzle: Different Languages, same goal

Pore pressure knowledge is critical when designing a well. It’s unlikely that anyone in this industry would argue with that. Pore pressure drives the casing design, which drives the well plan, including hole sizes and mud weight. An inaccurate pore pressure model could even lead to a well control event, causing financial losses or, worse, injuries or fatalities. This is an industry that respects pore pressure, as well it should. However, if you ask how pore pressure data should be collected and interpreted when designing a well, your chances of finding an argument will go up considerably. Geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, geomechanicists, drilling engineers – they all have a stake in the pore pressure model. Yet sharing their piece of the ...

Read More »

Case study: new concentric expandable reamer tool used in Gulf of Mexico

By Steven Radford, Will Thompson, Hughes Christensen; Mark Jenkins, INTEQ In the deepwater Green Canyon section of the Gulf of Mexico, an operator lost 10,000 bbl of synthetic oil-base drilling mud in one well before finally abandoning the project. In cooperation with two Baker Hughes companies – Hughes Christensen and INTEQ – the operator began a drilling improvement project in a new well adjacent to the previous one. On this new well, water-base mud was to be used with an additive to reduce shale balling. The operator realized that the very reactive gumbo shale would be a risk and that hole swabbing may occur. One objective was to complete the well without excessive mud losses. A second but overriding objective ...

Read More »

TOTAL aims for ‘routine’ deepwater drilling in West Africa

By Jeremy Cresswell, contributing editor The name TOTAL is synonymous with West Africa, and for sure the region ranks as the French group’s number one theater of activity. Moreover, the company has an excellent exploration track record and reputation as a technology frontier buster when it comes to developing discoveries. While many of the headlines of recent years relate to Angola, John Bannerman, VP drilling & completion at the company, reminds us that TOTAL is also active in Nigeria, Congo, Gabon and Cameroon. Angola is ranked top, though Nigeria would be close behind if it was possible for TOTAL to realise the various projects currently on the books there. Congo comes next in terms of rig commitments, followed by Cameroon ...

Read More »

Africa’s Atlantic Frontier: an E&P review

By Jeremy Cresswell, contributing editor Africa is always in the headlines. The stories are rarely positive, and that’s a terrible shame given the extraordinary richness and diversity of this vast continent. But this review is a positive story, and our first stopping point is Mauritania. From Mauritania in the north through “Golden Crescent” states like Nigeria and Angola, to Namibia, Africa’s western seaboard plays host to perhaps the most exciting hunt for offshore energy there has ever been – the stomping ground of more than 60 jackups, semisubmersibles, tender units and drillships. But as always with natural resources, distribution of the oil and gas prize is uneven, and the hunt and exploitation are being played out against a political backdrop ...

Read More »

Life extension for mobile offshore unites: How old is too old?

By Gerhard Ersdal, Arne Kvitrud, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway; Wayne Jones, Malcolm Birkinshaw, UK Health and Safety Executive Editor’s note: This article is the second in a series of articles that will focus on the critical issue of asset integrity. The International Regulators Forum kicked off the series in the May/June 2008 issue, presenting findings from a three-year inspection programme. In this issue, UK’s HSE and PSA Norway detail how they are approaching the evaluation of offshore units operated beyond their original design life. In upcoming issues, Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority and the Netherlands’ State Supervision of Mines will provide their perspectives on how industry can improve asset integrity. A large number of mobile units in the North ...

Read More »

Modular MDDM top drive designed to cut time for change outs, slash failures

In 2005, Transocean went in search of a “next-generation top drive” that could significantly improve operational performance to meet customer demands. Specifications required for this new-generation design were tough, including a 99.9% uptime on an annual basis. Out of several ideas proposed by different equipment manufacturers, Aker Solutions’ MDDM (modular direct drilling machine) was selected. According to Aker, the MDDM’s increased performance would enable Transocean to drill wells up to 50,000 ft, with an overall design philosophy of reducing the total cost of ownership of a derrick drilling machine. A contract was signed by October 2005, initiating a development phase with the two companies collaborating on the design and field-testing of the new top drive. Transocean provided background data based ...

Read More »

Some manufacturers going forward with PM motors for drilling industry; others hesistant

By Jerry Greenberg, contributing editor Electric motors have been an integral part of the drilling industry for decades. They provide the means to drill a well – powering the drawworks, pumping fluids down the wellbore and separating cuttings upon their return. When the industry began building jackups, electric motors enabled the lowering of legs to the seafloor and the raising of the platform above the waves. On deepwater rigs, they were used to draw in the anchors and to power thrusters on dynamically positioned semisubmersibles and drillships. Since the commercialization of top drives in the early 1980s, motor manufacturers have turned their attention to motors specific to this use. Due to the severe operating conditions of a top drive system, ...

Read More »

Rack & pinion technology takes shape in oilfield as multifunctional rigs

By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor Germany-based Max Streicher completed its first-generation vertical directional drilling rig through subsidiary Drill Tec in early 2005. This video shows the rig’s pipe handling system. Horizontal Well Drillers’s rack and pinion design was initially developed for the horizontal river crossing business and was modified for the oilfield two years ago. Norway-based TTS Sense aims to use technology developed for offshore packages in the land drilling market. This video shows a TTS Sense rack and pinion rig built for Ability Drilling. There’s an old adage that says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Nowhere is that more true than the oil and gas industry, where the need for better ways to tap resources is pushing innovation ...

Read More »

Top drives have transformed drilling: Now, new design targets ultra-deep, ERD

By David Reid, Larry Wells and Jeremy Ogg, National Oilwell Varco In 1982, a radically new drilling system appeared in the oil patch, one that would ultimately allow tremendous advances in the oil and gas industry’s well construction capabilities. The advent of the original Top Drive System (TDS) foreshadowed the development of reservoirs that were otherwise considered to be commercially impractical, and greatly improved the net cost, time-to-market and production of many others. Now, in 2008, a fourth generation of top drives from National Oilwell Varco (NOV) aims to continue extending the horizon of reservoir exploitation possibilities. Initially aimed at reducing the costs and risks associated with ultra-deep offshore development projects, the TDX series of top drives is also being ...

Read More »

Geothermal drilling market heats up

by Linda Hsieh, Assistant Managing Editor As oil prices reach unheard-of highs in the $140/bbl range, energy sources that have historically been considered too expensive to produce economically are getting new leases on life. Many such energy sources, like wind and solar, tend to reside far outside the realm of the oil and gas drilling industry. Geothermal energy, however, stands as one resource that holds potential opportunities for drilling contractors, especially as that industry continues to undergo a significant expansion. Geothermal produces energy off of heated fluids that reside deep inside the Earth. Just as wells must be drilled to reach oil or natural gas, geothermal wells must be drilled to reach heated fluids. As it turns out, the rigs ...

Read More »