70th Anniversary Retrospective

Posted on 08 November 2010

IADC celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2010. In recognition of this milestone, and in anticipation of the decades ahead, DC is publishing  retrospectives from issues of decades past. We invite you to explore the historical contrasts and similarities that may emerge and chart the industry’s evolution through these episodic vignettes. The past is written, and has brought us to 2010. But who knows what the future may hold?

12 Years – November/December 1998

New Drilling Services Division a home for technology

IADC has launched a new Drilling Services Division and organized an Underbalanced Operations Committee as its first task group. The new division is designed to serve as a home for technical service firms to pursue political, regulatory, marketing and business development opportunities. The division targets both conventional and emerging drilling technologies, such as coiled tubing, directional drilling and more.

Ken LeSuer, vice chairman of Halliburton Company, was elected vice president of the Drilling Services Division.

The IADC Underbalanced Operations Committee will encompass the work and membership of the International Underbalanced Operations Forum, which will disband. The new IADC group will be chaired by Dr Paul Francis, research and technical services for Shell International Exploration and Production. It will comprise three work groups – Training, chaired by Don Hannegan, Williams Tool; Standards and Nomenclature, chaired by Noel Monjure, ABB Vetco Gray; and Daily Report, chaired by Dag Oluf Nessa, Smedvig.

IADC plans to hold a conference on underbalanced operations in fall 1999 in Europe.

22/23 Years – December 1987/January 1988

Innovative drilling program leads to new casing record

What is believed to be the longest and heaviest 13 3/8-in. casing string ever set in the North Sea was recently run by the Galveston Key, a sophisticated jackup rig owned and operated by IADC member Santa Fe International Corp.

According to operations manager JB Westlake, the feat was accomplished while drilling for Fina Petroleum Development Ltd in Block 49 of the British Sector. The casing string, successfully set and landed at 10,862 ft, had a dry weight of 792,000 lbs.

Fina’s innovative drilling program, says Santa Fe, was the driving force behind the new record. The program called for driving a 20-in. conductor to a depth of 440 ft below seabed, followed by a 12 ¼-in. pilot hole drilled through a diverter to 3,537 ft and reamed to 26 in. A 20-in. casing string was then set and cemented at 3,506 ft.

Although most North Sea operators customarily drill 17 ½-in. hole, Fina opted for a novel approach: a 16-in. wellbore to 10,912 ft using 6,500 ft of 6 5/8-in. OD drill pipe. “The reduced hole size and the larger-than-normal drill pipe,” Santa Fe discloses, “assisted us in maintaining excellent hydraulics while drilling this long hole section.”

A 12 ¼-in. hole was then drilled to the top of a normally troublesome salt section, which was successfully underreamed to 15 in. from top to bottom and cased with 10 ¾-in. P110 (109 lb/ft) string. Below the salt, Santa Fe set a 9 5/8-in. casing string.

The Galveston Key, used for the record-breaking job, was built in 1978 by Marathon LeTourneau at its Brownsville, Texas, shipyard.

31 Years – August 1979

Demand soars for submersible barges

Foreseeing a new flurry of drilling activity in shallow-water prospects, drilling contractors are beefing up their fleets of submersible units.

One of the latest additions is Circle Bar Drilling Co’s AP Merkel, rebuilt from a hull that had been out of service for several years, during the slump preceding the present boom in shallow-water drilling.

The AP Merkel, named after Circle Bar’s vice president of operations, can drill in up to 30 ft of water and has been equipped with new, more powerful drilling equipment.

The diesel electric rig, rated to drill to 20,000 ft, says IADC member Circle Bar, is equipped with the latest in blowout prevention and well control systems.

The barge carries its own well-logging and cementing units, as well as dry bulk material-handling facilities.

Patrick F Taylor, president of Circle Bar, says the “new” submersible rig will work off the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River for Hunt Energy Corp.

At least two other IADC member companies are also adding to their submersible rig fleets.

Transworld Drilling Co, a subsidiary of Kerr-McGee, is putting the finishing touches to its Rig 65, a new submersible device with the capability of drilling in 70-ft water depths.

At the same time, Transworld says construction is well under way for its Rig 68, a submersible barge with a water-depth rating of 100 ft, quite unusual for this type of rig.

Santa Fe Drilling Co, a subsidiary of Santa Fe International Co, has converted its Blue Water 2 semi into a submersible unit. The conversion was made at Baker Marine’s shipyard located at Ingleside, Texas.

40 Years – September/October 1970

Rowan International rig completes record move

Rowan International’s propulsion-assisted jackup rig located offshore Nicaragua recently completed a record-breaking field move of 74 miles, with speeds up to 7 mph, utilizing two Tidex work boats. The total elapsed time from release to commencement of operations on the new location was 15 ¼ hours.

Chevron’s well, Toro Cay #1, is the third well spud in 3 ½ months since the Rowan Houston arrived in Nicaragua after a 10 ½-day tow from Belle Chasse, La., in which speeds up to 6 mph were obtained using only a single 3,600-hp tug.

The specially designed kort nozzle thrusters are chain-driven by 750-hp DC motors. Four 1,100-hp diesel engines, normally used for powering the drilling equipment, provide the power required by the thrusters.

A second unit, the Rowan New Orleans, essentially identical to the Rowan Houston, is under construction at LeTourneau’s Vicksburg facility; delivery is expected this month. Each unit is 168 ft by 203 ft and is designed to operate in water depths up to 200 ft.

61 Years – December 1949

Drilling at highest peak for this year

Drilling in oilfields of the United States and Canada hit a new high for the year during the week of December 5, according to reports received by A.A.O.D.C. from Hughes Tool Co. The total for the week of 2,253 active units compares with 2,227 a week ago, 2,106 a month ago and with 2,436 rigs reported operating for the same period in 1948.

Increased interest in the West Texas and New Mexico area boosted the drilling there to 699 active rigs, up 32; Oklahoma-Kansas with 401, was up 24; Illinois 151, up 6; Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas, 161, up 2. Reduced activity was reported in three areas: Gulf Coast, 517, down 24; Rock Mountain and Canada, 183, down 9; and Pacific Coast, 141, down 5.

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