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The Offshore Frontier

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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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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BSEE turns focus to implementing Well Control Rule

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The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is reassuring the industry that it will have up to five years to comply with the more capital-intensive provisions of the Well Control Rule. In an interview with DC at the 2016 OTC in Houston on 4 May, Lars Herbst, Regional Director of the Gulf of Mexico for BSEE, said the agency is now working on implementing the rule...

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BP’s Looney: To remain competitive, costs must be lowered sustainably, not follow oil prices

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World energy demand is likely to increase by a third by 2035, according to BP’s forecasts. However, oil and gas will face increasing competition from alternative energy sources over the coming years, BP Chief Executive of Upstream Bernard Looney said at the 2016 OTC on 2 May in Houston...

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GOM future unclear in face of Well Control Rule, falling rig count

The Maersk Valiant ultra-deepwater drillship is under contract with ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil until July 2017. It is one of two Maersk ultra-deepwater rigs working in the US Gulf of Mexico. As Mexico gears up for its deepwater auction in December, contractors are looking to that part of the Gulf for additional work opportunities, as well. In particular, contractors like Maersk that have deepwater experience on the US side may be well-positioned because the US and Mexican sides of the Gulf are believed to be geologically similar.

Operators seeking to reduce their capital and operating expenditures in the face of sustained low oil prices are facing difficult choices. When it comes to either greenlighting or scrapping drilling projects – particularly those in the prolific but expensive Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Lower Tertiary – many are choosing deferment or cancellation. In its Q4 2015 earnings call, held on 29 January, Chevron announced that it was canceling the Buckskin-Moccasin deepwater project, citing difficult economic conditions. Anadarko is also delaying final investment decisions on its Yeti and Shenandoah prospects, located in Walker Ridge and Middle Miocene areas. The company had drilled appraisal wells for both projects in 2015.

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Offshore industry, beset by project deferrals, rig contract terminations, looks to standardization, reliability for long-term cost reductions

A 15k-psi subsea BOP stack is assembled in GE’s Houston BOP manufacturing high-bay facility.

Throughout 2015, the industry had remained hopeful that the downturn would be short-lived. During the summer, when oil prices temporarily buoyed, some believed that signaled that the market was on its way up again. However, prices trended downward after that, dipping below $40/bbl in the last quarter of the year. Many finally accepted the reality that this downturn would be lower for longer.

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