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Studies confirm performance of salt-free non-aqueous drilling fluid, bioremediation potential of cuttings

Figure 1 depicts the growth of plants in varying ratios of top soil to salt-free NAF cuttings blend. From left are: 100% top soil, 5:1, 3:1, 1:1 and 100% cuttings blend.

Disposal of cuttings from nonaqueous drilling fluids (NAF) can be a significant expense and logistical issue for the operator of a drilling rig. NAFs typically contain high levels of salts, commonly calcium chloride or sodium chloride, in the internal phase of the emulsion. These salts are beneficial for wellbore stabilization but pose issues for cuttings disposal because the salts don’t biodegrade and can accumulate in high concentrations in soil. A salt-free NAF has been developed and field-validated in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta, Canada. The system uses a biodegradable organic to provide an internal phase with equivalent water activity to traditional salt-containing systems. This results in a fluid system with the performance and benefits of a conventional NAF while potentially allowing for greater cuttings disposal options. Depending on local regulations, the system has the potential to reduce environmental and long-term liability concerns by being able to land-farm drilled cuttings without hindering plant growth.

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Dual cutting structure on hybrid roller cone bit increases efficiency of bridge, frac plug drill-outs

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Drilling out bridge and frac plugs is a regular and inefficient task in multi-zone completions. The job is commonly done using a variety of standard drill bits. However, removing between 15 and 40 plugs comprised of hard outer slips surrounded by ductile composites and elastomer materials presents several challenges to bit performance. Like drilling operations, the completion objective is to efficiently drill as much as possible before having to pull out of hole to replace the bit. The plug’s hard outer slips can quickly wear steel tooth cutting structures so that the bit is increasingly less effective with each plug it drills. It is also difficult to achieve small cuttings across the various plug materials in use, which can limit hole-cleaning efficiency. In addition, the fluid pressure behind isolated completion zones can result in pressure spikes that reduce bearing life.

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HSE&T Corner: Human-centered design pushes reliability, safety for offshore drilling

Jose Gutierrez (right), Director of Technology and Innovation at Transocean, and Kevin Hoffman, Director of Engineering at MAYA Design, made a joint presentation at the 2016 OTC on 5 May in Houston. The presentation focused on how human-centered design can be used to guide design processes for the offshore drilling industry.

American anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.” As the drilling industry increasingly looks to the field of human factors to help improve safety and performance, this understanding will become a critical factor to success. At Transocean, the company is using the concept of human-centered design to guide the development of a new subsea-related technology. This design process recognizes the inherent unreliability of the human being but tries to improve human performance by changing its interaction with the environment.

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OMV finishes Wisting Central II appraisal well

Wisting Central II

OMV has successfully completed drilling and testing of the Wisting Central II appraisal well. The horizontal well was drilled in the Wisting discovery in the Barents Sea, about 310 km north of Hammerfest. Wisting is the northernmost oil discovery in Norway. Wisting Central II is the fifth well in the production license PL537, which was awarded in the 20th licensing round in 2009. The planning and execution of the well was done in close co-operation with various parts of the Schlumberger organization.

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IHS: Oil market now reaching bottom as supply, demand begin to balance out

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The downturn in oil prices that has led operators worldwide to reduce budgets and drilling programs has reached a bottom, as the oversupply of oil has begun to balance out with demand, according to IHS Vice President for Energy-wide Perspectives Susan Farrell. “We have oil supply going below what is needed for demand (this year), which means we are finally going to start rebalancing the market going forward,” Ms Farrell said at the 2016 IADC World Drilling Conference on 15 June in Lisbon. While spending is expected to remain flat in the near future, IHS expects an increase in drilling activity beyond 2017 as companies begin to finish paying off debt from pre-downturn investments. Watch the video to learn more.

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MPD allows for dynamic well control offshore

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When drilling offshore – particularly in deepwater – the distance between the BOP on the seafloor and the rig can potentially leave the riser, as well as the rig, exposed to kicks. “If, for example, an influx or a kick gets past the BOPs, it can travel up the riser. As it gets closer to atmospheric pressure, it can then unload at an exponential rate, causing danger to the personnel, the equipment and of course the environment,” said Guy Feasey, VP of Well Integrity at Weatherford. Managed pressure drilling (MPD) can account for these influxes. It can also provide drillers with additional options on how to deal with these influxes, aside from simply shutting in the BOP. Watch the video with Mr Feasey from the 2016 IADC World Drilling Conference in Lisbon to learn more about how MPD can enable dynamic well control.

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Drilling Systems pushes simulator, virtual reality technologies to improve rig crew training

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Advances in simulator and virtual reality technologies are helping the drilling industry to bring more life-like training environments to rig crews. At the 2016 IADC World Drilling Conference in Lisbon, Drilling Systems showcased several new simulator-based training technologies, including the On The Rig simulator and the virtual reality-based DrillSIM-5 3D. Watch the video with Drilling Systems CEO Ian Hudson to learn about how these new technologies can help improve crew training.

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Oil and Gas UK Wells Forum pushes UK North Sea to reduce well costs by half

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As low oil prices began to severely strain the already high cost of drilling in the North Sea, the Oil and Gas UK Wells Forum issued a challenge in 2015 for the industry to reduce well costs 50%. In responding to this challenge, operators have instituted strategies such as well scrutiny sessions, in which companies analyze each other’s plans for new wells and introduce ideas for efficiency improvements. “We’ve seen concrete ideas that have been brought to the table which have resulted in maybe 15% or 20% reduction of those well costs,” said Olav Skar, GM of Wells for Shell UK and former Chairman of Oil and Gas UK Wells Forum. “Now, that’s one step, and we’re looking, through industry collaboration, to get more ideas like that.” Watch the video with Mr Skar from the 2016 IADC World Drilling Conference in Lisbon on 16 June for more information.

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Willy Brandt receives IADC Exemplary Service Award

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At the 2016 IADC World Drilling Conference in Lisbon on 15 June, IADC President and CEO Jason McFarland presented an Exemplary Service Award to Willy Brandt, who recently retired from Transocean as VP of Customer Accounts and Advisor to the COO. Mr Brandt has worked in the industry for more than four decades and has held various positions in both headquarters and field assignments in locales such as West Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the US. During his career, Mr Brandt served as Chairman and member of the IADC North Sea Chapter from 1990 to 1997 and was a member of the IADC World Drilling Program Committee from 2007 to 2016. He was also a member of the High-Pressure, High-Temperature Workgroup North Sea in 1989 and a member of the IADC Rig Safety Group in 1980. “I would like to thank the IADC to have been given the opportunity to work with great people – great collaboration,” Mr Brandt said. “When I look back, I can only look at it with great pleasure.”

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