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Innovating While Drilling®

MPD planning: How much is enough?

By Paul Spriggs, Philip J Frink, Blade Energy Partners This article addresses the key drivers and risks associated with the use of applied backpressure managed pressure drilling. One of the two key issues that must be understood early on is whether the well can be drilled statically overbalanced or if it needs to be drilled with a statically underbalanced fluid. The second issue to comprehend is the level of service needed to avoid compromising safety and well objectives. Answering these two questions defines the path to be followed for adequate planning. Detailed planning aspects, such as flow modeling, crew training, operational procedures, process flow diagrams and HAZID/HAZOP meetings are also described here. By asking the “what if” questions prior to ...

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Defining drillstring specifications to maximize safety, performance in sour service environments

By Anne Sevignon and William Gamisans, VAM Drilling The evolution of drilling programs has driven the industry to develop more suitable solutions adapted to extreme and aggressive environments such as sour service. High-strength drill pipe is necessary to achieve deeper drilling objectives, even if the sulfide stress cracking susceptibility is an acknowledged concern starting with minimal partial pressure of H2S. Due to the astringency of the sour environment, particular attention must be paid to the drillstring design, which includes the sour service steel grade. This article summarizes current knowledge about the sulfide stress cracking phenomenon, recommended practices and material trends for drill stem components. Introduction “Sour service” refers to a well environment containing hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is naturally associated ...

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Service company geomechanics group: Knowledge integration is our objective

In today’s high-cost drilling environment, the lack of integration of valuable pore pressure or other reservoir information can cost a company millions of dollars, said Colin Sayers, scientific advisor for Schlumberger’s geomechanics group. He cited an example of one oil company where the geophysics department never told the drilling department about a small fault above the reservoir, ultimately leading to a costly loss of well. To avoid such disasters, Dr Sayers said, integration is essential. At Schlumberger, the geomechanics team is an interdisciplinary group including geophysicists, drilling engineers, petrophysicists, reservoir engineers and geologists. These experts from different disciplines typically work in close proximity to one another, often on the same floor of an office building. And because they’re all located ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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D&C Tech Digest

Innovative method used to create new platform slot Hughes Christensen helped a customer in the Congo accomplish a world-first by utilizing an innovative technique to create an additional slot on a platform in the Foukanda offshore field. The objective was to simultaneously drill and case off over 60 m (197 ft) of shallow formations using casing while drilling (CwD) to enable the drilling of additional wells from the existing platform, which had no further slot availability. A 30-in. diverter conductor pipe was positioned from the platform to the seabed. The pipe was manufactured with a pre-cut window and a 2° deflector inside that would allow drilling to be diverted from the existing eight directional wells, avoiding any collision. The recommended ...

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Geothermal holds potential for new energy – and for new drilling

By Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor Like many renewable energy sources, geothermal carries substantial potential for powering the world in an environmentally friendly way. However, also like many renewable energy sources, geothermal remains unable to evolve into a fully viable alternative to oil or natural gas. The late 1970s and early ’80s saw rapid growth of the US geothermal industry, mostly in western states such as California and Nevada. But by the ’90s, geothermal had hit a wall. Demand went down in the face of strong competition from natural gas – fairly cheap at the time, if you recall. Even after the US government added an investment tax credit for geothermal drilling in 1992, the market continued to stall. Times ...

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Ultra-stable PDC drill bit technology improves performance in Southern Mexico applications

By Dalmo Amorim, ReedHycalog/University of São Paulo; Andrew D Murdock, Carlos Huerta, ReedHycalog; Diogo S Oliveira, Fabiola Diaz, Gustavo A Padron G, Willie Columbine, Schlumberger IPM; Wilson S Iramina, University of São Paulo As worldwide demand for hydrocarbons continues to grow and with shallow reservoirs rapidly depleting, most new discoveries are being made at greater depths (5,000 m or deeper). These wells are increasingly directional, presenting new challenges and facilitating the need for more powerful equipment that decreases the overall drilling cost. In today’s high-cost drilling environment, the durability and steerability of the drill bit are critical to economically drilling harder formations with increasingly demanding directional objectives. Because stability affects both durability and steerability, stable bits are a key to ...

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