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Bauer Deep Drilling (BDD), a rig equipment manufacturer based in Germany, recently began testing the highly automated PR440M2 rig. Its control system has an OPC UA interface...

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Bauer Deep Drilling testing highly automated, AC-powered walking rig

Bauer Deep Drilling’s 2,000-hp, AC-powered walking rig features a hands-free coupling system for rig-up.

Bauer Deep Drilling’s 2,000-hp, AC-powered walking rig features a hands-free coupling system for rig-up.

Bauer Deep Drilling (BDD), a rig equipment manufacturer based in Germany, recently began testing the highly automated PR440M2 rig. Its control system has an OPC UA interface to allow use of third-party plug-and-play solutions. The 2,000-hp, AC-powered walking rig is BDD’s first step to develop a 100% hands-free and fully automated drilling system by 2020.

The box-on-box style rig consists mainly of 40-ft container-sized transport units. A hands-free coupling system and hydraulic-driven pins make the connections during the rig-up of the individual units. The total number of transport units is reduced by 30% compared with a conventional 2,000-hp rig, according to the company.

The pipe-handling system can handle pipes up to 62 ft with a diameter of 9 in. Initial tests showed constant tripping speeds of up to 1,950 ft/hr. The hands-off technology allows drill pipe, drill collar and casing operations without a fingerboard and derrickman.

The tubular is directly handed over to the elevator without intervention and without a mouse hole. The vertical pipe storage system is attached to the substructure, which provides more space on the drill floor. The maximum storage capacity of the four pipe racks is 19,650 ft of 5-in. pipe. The four vertical pipe racks have an adjustable partitioning to allow the storage of different pipe lengths and diameters.

The walking system has enough clearance to walk over existing Christmas trees, allowing flexible onsite rig moves. An integrated pre-screening-unit on the rig increases its independence from the stationary solid control system and power station.

4th Santos Basin well proves Jupiter extension

Petrobras has confirmed the extension of the Jupiter discovery in the Santos Basin pre-salt block BM-S-24. This follows drilling operations at well 3-BRSA-1246-RJS, informally known as Apollonia.

The well, drilled 296 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in a water depth of 2,183 m, is the fourth well drilled in the Jupiter area. It is located just 8 km southwest of the discovery well (1-RJS-652A). Drilling has confirmed a hydrocarbon column of about 313 m, starting at a depth of 5,166 m, with rocks showing good porosity and permeability conditions. The well verified an oil column approximately 87-m thick.

Petrobras also has started drilling the first exploration well in the Libra area. Schahin’s Cerrado drillship is drilling the well, known as 3-RJS-731. This is the first of two wells planned for the first phase of the Minimum Exploration Program agreed with Brazil’s National Oil, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP). Well 3-RJS-731 has a planned TD of 5,850 m.

Seadrill drillship wins contract for Nigeria project

Seadrill, in cooperation with Field Offshore Design Engineering Nigeria, has secured a contract with Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria, an ExxonMobil subsidiary, for the newbuild West Saturn. The rig will support the ERHA North Phase 2 project in Nigeria.

The contract is for a firm period of two years plus a one-year option and has total revenue potential of approximately $497 million, inclusive of mobilization, for Seadrill and Field Offshore for the primary contract term.

The West Saturn is a sixth-generation, ultra-deepwater drillship, currently under construction at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. Delivery is expected in September 2014 and will mark the sixth Seadrill unit to commence operation in the past 12 months. The unit will initially be outfitted to work in up to 10,000 ft of water and is capable of handling two BOPs and drilling depths up to 40,000 ft.

Maersk Drilling adds second XLE jackup rig to fleet

Maersk Drilling has taken delivery of its second ultra-harsh environment jackup, XLE-2, from the Keppel FELS shipyard in Singapore. The rig will commence a five-year contract with Det norske oljeselskap ASA in Q4 in the Norwegian North Sea. The rig will be working on the Ivar Aasen field, which contains approximately 150 million bbl of oil equivalents.

The rig, which will be named at a ceremony in Norway in October, is the second in a series of four newbuild ultra-harsh environment jackups set to enter Maersk Drilling’s rig fleet in 2014 to 2016.

PTTEP signs PSC for onshore MOGE 3 block in Myanmar

PTTEP South Asia, Palang Sophon Offshore and Win Precious Resources have signed a production-sharing contract (PSC) with Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) for onshore E&P rights of MOGE 3 block.

MOGE 3 block, in the Padaukpin-Natmi area, covers 1,217 sq km in central Myanmar, adjacent to the west of the Irrawaddy River. PTTEP plans to conduct 2D and 3D seismic surveys and a drilling campaign of four exploration wells in the first three-year period.

Statoil completes 2014 Hoop exploration program

Statoil and partner Idemitsu Petroleum Norge have made a small gas discovery in the Mercury prospect in PL614 in the Barents Sea. This completes Statoil’s 2014 exploration program in the Hoop area.

This summer, Statoil drilled three exploration wells in the Hoop area in the Barents Sea: Apollo and Atlantis in PL615 and Mercury in PL614. Those were Statoil’s first operated wells in the Hoop area. Statoil is partner in the OMV-operated oil discoveries Wisting Central and Hanssen in PL537, which opened a new oil play in the Hoop area.

The three Statoil wells drilled this summer did not result in commercial discoveries. In Apollo, a good reservoir was proved in the well but no hydrocarbons. Atlantis and Mercury resulted in two small gas discoveries.

“Hoop is a frontier area of more than 15,000 sq km with only six wells completed to date, so we do not have all the answers about the subsurface yet. Non-commercial discoveries and dry wells are part of the game in frontier exploration,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil Senior VP for Exploration on the Norway Continental Shelf.

Rosneft, ExxonMobil start drilling in Kara Sea

North Atlantic Drilling’s West Alpha has begun drilling in the Kara Sea, north of Siberia.

North Atlantic Drilling’s West Alpha has begun drilling in the Kara Sea, north of Siberia.

Karmorneftegaz, a joint venture between Rosneft and ExxonMobil, has begun drilling at Universitetskaya-1, Russia’s northernmost well. North Atlantic Drilling’s West Alpha rig is being used.

“We hope to discover a new Kara Sea oil-bearing province. Developing the Arctic shelf has a huge multiplicative effect on the whole Russian economy,” Rosneft President Igor Sechin said.

The West Alpha semisubmersible is held on the drill site by an eight-anchor positioning system for advanced stability. Most of the platform is outside the reach of waves. The rig is also equipped with an innovative system to monitor ice conditions, detect icebergs and track sea ice. It uses infrared cameras and modern onboard radars and analyzes satellite and air intelligence data. In addition, the overall reliability of the rig’s main and supplementary equipment was enhanced for operations in low temperatures, including life support and evacuation systems. The maximum drilling depth of West Alpha is 7,000 meters. Drilling is estimated to continue for two months.

Newly delivered jackup takes GSP Offshore rig fleet to eight

GSP Offshore has taken delivery of the GSP Magellan jackup, expanding its fleet to eight units. The rig is a Friede & Goldman L-780 Mod V drilling rig with 496-ft-long legs.

The jackup is rated to -20°C, and its cantilever envelope is 58 ft x 30 ft. It can operate in water depths up to 350 ft with 10,400 kips maximum variable load and accommodate 116 people.

The GSP Magellan is the second MODU entering GSP’s fleet in 2014. The company currently operates in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico.

Noble Energy, Woodside Petroleum to jointly explore offshore Gabon Block F15

Noble Energy has signed a production-sharing contract (PSC) with the Gabon government covering Block F15 in the Gabon Coastal Basin. Under the terms of the PSC, Noble Energy will be the operator with 60% working interest, and Woodside Petroleum will have 40% working interest. The PSC includes a four-year seismic commitment and a future option for exploration drilling.

Easternwell to manage delivery of onshore servicing rig for Brunei

Australia-based Easternwell, a subsidiary of Transfield Services, has expanded through an agreement with Flux O.S., a Bruneian oil and gas company. Easternwell will provide support services for Flux’s new AUS $100-million, seven-year contract with a global energy organization to deliver well intervention and abandonment services. Easternwell will manage the build and delivery of Flux’s new heavy mobile onshore workover and well-servicing rig.

Shell adds third discovery to Norphlet play in GOM

Shell has made its third major discovery in the Norphlet play in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico with the Rydberg exploration well. The Rydberg well is located 75 miles (120 km) offshore in Mississippi Canyon Block 525 in 7,479 ft (2,280 m) of water. It was drilled to 26,371-ft (8,038-m) TD and encountered more than 400 ft (122 m) of net oil pay.

Shell is still completing the full evaluation of the well results but expects the resource base to be approximately 100 million bbl of oil equivalent. Together with the Appomattox and Vicksburg discoveries, this brings the total potential Norphlet discoveries to more than 700 million bbl of oil equivalent. The latest discovery is within 10 miles of the planned Appomattox development.

Click here for more rig construction and contracts news, as well as oil and gas discoveries and field development updates from around the world, are available on DC’s Global and Regional Markets microsite. 

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