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2018

HSE&T Corner – Renewed focus on dropped object prevention needed as cost pressures, rig reactivations and personnel turnover amplify risks

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By Mike Rice, Dropsafe According to industry body DROPS, dropped objects are among the top 10 causes of injury and fatality in oil and gas operations. Yet, dropped objects are also one of the only HSE areas without standardized legislation. This leaves individual project management teams solely responsible for ensuring the integrity of operational sites. This discrepancy has contributed to an increase, in real terms, of dropped object incidents in recent years. While oil and gas activity levels have declined with the fall in oil prices, the numbers of incidents have not decreased accordingly. However, the industry – including drilling contractors – has recently renewed its focus on drops prevention. For example, one major international drilling contractor recently issued a fleetwide ...

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Mud pump cavitation: Routine inspections, maintenance can prevent ‘silent killer’ from reducing rig efficiency, equipment reliability

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With pumps being run at max horsepower at today’s well sites, best practices can help contractors to avoid premature damage, extend consumables life By Adam Avey, Gardner Denver Cavitation is an undesirable condition that reduces pump efficiency and leads to excessive wear and damage to pump components. Factors that can contribute to cavitation, such as fluid velocity and pressure, can sometimes be attributed to an inadequate mud system design and/or the diminishing performance of the mud pump’s feed system. Other factors that contribute to cavitation include: • Improper sizing of charge pump; • Improper maintenance of charge pump impellers – worn impellers cause a reduction of fluid pressure; • Dirty or clogged charge pump feed and discharge lines; • Improper size ...

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Low-density, lightweight cement tested as alternative to reduce lost circulation, achieve desired top of cement in long horizontal wells

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Locally sourced materials and supply chain optimization can help to keep lightweight cements cost-effective By Andy Jordan, Roderick Pernites and Lucas Albrighton, BJ Services Horizontal drilling awoke a new frontier in North America. This advanced drilling practice creates wells with mile-long horizontal sections, minimized hole diameters and maximized casing string diameters. Further, completion intensity has increased exponentially as longer horizontal wells are completed by fracturing with more stages and high-rate pumping. Casing programs have been optimized, often exposing weak formations to higher pressures for longer periods. The combination of exposed formations, longer laterals and smaller annuli poses challenges in achieving a successful cement job. These cementing operations require lighter and more stable slurries and in larger volumes. They also require cements ...

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‘Vanished’ deepwater poses serious oil shortage threat

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By Mike Killalea, Editor & Publisher “The offshore drilling market isn’t depressed. It’s vanished,” the longtime drilling contractor sourly observed, perhaps mentally scanning the expanse of nearly rigless seascape that is the Gulf of Mexico. In early August, only 17 rigs were running offshore in the GOM, according to the Baker Hughes Rig Count. By contrast, even the worst previous downturn, in 1992, saw at its mid-year nadir 27 rigs working offshore in the GOM. During the Golden Age of Drilling, in December 1981, 25 MODUs were drilling offshore rig-hating California, and 175 in the Gulf. Deep dive into deepwater econ But the long dry spell might be easing. A recent deep dive into deepwater economics by Paul Cheng, CFA at ...

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Editorial – Through international chapters/staff, IADC at work around the clock, around the world

Mike DuBose, IADC Vice President of International Development

As an international association, IADC takes seriously its mandate to provide representation for the drilling industry in all geographies in which its members operate. The issues and challenges we face vary vastly by region. As Vice President for IADC’s International Division, I work closely with our network of regional representatives to determine how the association can most effectively function as a strong proponent on behalf of member interests on a worldwide scale. With IADC headquarters based in the US, our regional representatives serve as the eyes and ears for the association globally. Working together with member companies and local and regional regulators and legislators, they determine how we can best use IADC’s resources to advocate for fair and transparent industry ...

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André Alonso Fernandez, Petrobras: Collaboration, sharing of lessons learned will be key to creating better MPD solutions

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By Kelli Ainsworth Robinson, Associate Editor While studying mechanical engineering at the University of São Paulo in his Brazilian hometown, André Alonso Fernandes, currently Technical Advisor at Petrobras, became particularly fascinated with automation and how it can be used for optimization and process control. “That’s one of the things I really enjoy about MPD (managed pressure drilling), which is my current subject,” he said. By the time he graduated in 2001, he knew he wanted a job where he could see the results of his work. “I had an urge to be a field engineer so that I wouldn’t only be in the office but also would get to participate in real construction,” he said. However, this was December 2001 – ...

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Industry/academia collaboration results in rapid development of intelligent, self-learning drilling app

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NOVOS system allows UT grad students to easily incorporate complex algorithms into automation application By Claire Kennedy Platt, National Oilwell Varco, and Eric Van Oort, University of Texas at Austin Operators’ increasing demand for consistency with predictability and risk avoidance is enhancing the drilling industry’s need to automate. Continuous academic research can help the industry to meet this challenge, but presenting graduate-level research into the field can be difficult for universities, as finding an operator willing to implement an idea can take as long as five to six years. To shorten this process, collaboration within the industry will be required. This collaboration is now happening between National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT). Relying on the ...

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People, Companies & Products September/October 2018

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Independence Contract Drilling, Sidewinder to merge Independence Contract Drilling (ICD) and Sidewinder Drilling have announced their entry into a merger agreement in which ICD will acquire all outstanding equity interests in Sidewinder. The merger will combine two pad-optimal drilling fleets and operations focused on the Permian and other basins in Texas and its contiguous states. Upon closing of the transaction, ICD will more than double the size of its pad-optimal rig fleet to 34, following modest upgrades to five Sidewinder rigs.  The combined company’s board of directors will consist of four existing ICD board members, including ICD’s Chairman of the Board, Thomas R. Bates, as well as two members appointed by the controlling owners of Sidewinder. The combined company’s management ...

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Mexican president-elect expected to demonstrate pragmatism around energy reforms despite outspoken opposition, vow to ban fracturing

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Campaign promises to fund social programs likely to force López Obrador to stay course By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor, and Karen Boman, Associate Editor Mexico’s newly elected president Andrés Manuel López Obrador – who has been an outspoken opponent of the country’s 2013 energy reform that ended PEMEX’s oil sector monopoly – made a statement at a press conference in early August that he will ban hydraulic fracturing in Mexico. “If such a ban was implemented and includes natural gas production, unconventional gas exploration will go by the wayside, and Mexico will either be forced to import more American gas or seek gas offshore,” said David Goldwyn, Chairman of the Energy Advisory Group and Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic ...

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Drilling and Completion Tech Digest

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Diamond Offshore launching new Blockchain Drilling Service across its rig fleet Diamond Offshore Drilling has launched its Blockchain Drilling service to drive efficiencies and enable oil and gas operators to reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO). The service provides an immutable platform for the optimization of well construction activities, including drilling-related services, material and the supply chain, both shore-based and offshore. Users can access and analyze performance from any web-accessible device for near real-time TCO management. The cloud-based platform is scalable, and the baseline system consists of five modules to drive efficiencies and eliminate waste: • The Supply Chain & Logistics Manager provides transparency, provenance and immutability across the entire supply chain; • The Well Planner displays actual vs ...

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