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The Offshore Frontier

Zinke announces 76 million acres offered in GOM region-wide oil and gas lease sale

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US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the Department will offer 75.9 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration and development. The region-wide lease sale scheduled for August 16, 2017 will include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and provide a reduced royalty rate for shallow water leases to encourage exploration and production under current market conditions...

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Seadrill announces contract award for West Saturn drillship in Brazil

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Seadrill has secured a firm contract for one well and one drill stem test with Statoil Brasil Óleo e Gas for the West Saturn in Brazil. The contract also includes a number of option wells to be drilled in blocks where Statoil has license and operatorship. West Saturn is expected to commence operations between December 2017 and January 2018. The backlog for the firm portion of the contract is expected to be approximately $26 million. The West Saturn will be upgraded with a managed pressure drilling (MPD) system which is expected to be utilized as part of the upcoming work scope. The Saturn represents the fifth unit managed by Seadrill equipped with MPD equipment....

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Trendsetter completes live well operations with 15,000-psi STIM system

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Trendsetter Engineering has successfully completed live well operations with their new 15,000 psi subsea hydraulic intervention system (referred to as STIM). The STIM system, which had previously been utilized for subsea hydrate remediation work, has now completed seven subsea projects in the GOM since November 2016, in water depths ranging from 2,500 ft to 7,200 ft...

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BOEM completes analysis of royalty rates for offshore oil and gas leases

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BOEM has completed an analysis of their royalty rates and have decided to set the royalty rate at 12.5% for leases located in water depths less than 200 m in the proposed Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Sale 249. This is lower than the proposed 18.75% royalty rate for shallow water leases published in the Proposed Notice of Sale, and is consistent with the federal onshore oil and gas lease royalty rate of 12.5%. The purpose of this change is to adjust the royalty rate to reflect recent market conditions, thereby encouraging competition and continuing to receive a fair and equitable return on oil and gas resources. The royalty rate in 200 m of water and deeper will remain at 18.75% as in the Proposed Notice of Sale...

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OSRL tests and validates remote sensing equipment

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A recent offshore exercise, conducted by Oil Spill Response (OSRL), was designed to understand how remote sensing technologies can help detect oil spills at sea more effectively. Utilizing the latest in satellite, airborne and in-water surveillance and communications equipment, the highly successful event demonstrated the value of the state-of-the-art technology in identifying and monitoring spills and was conducted with full approval of the Marine Management Organization (MMO) following a rigorous planning and stakeholder consultation process...

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Wired drill pipe enables automation, optimization of drilling process

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Maersk Drilling and National Oilwell Varco (NOV) recently collaborated on a project in the Norwegian North Sea in which wired drill pipe technology was installed and deployed on a jackup to improve the drilling process. The details of this project were discussed in a presentation at the 2017 IADC World Drilling Conference on 28 June in Amsterdam. The presentation was jointly delivered by Sarah Balangalibun, Senior Mechanical Engineer for Maersk Drilling, and Sanna Zainoune, Senior Dynamic Drilling Solutions Engineer with NOV. In this video with DC, Ms Balangalibun and Ms Zainoune talk about the challenges on this Norwegian field that led to the implementation of wired drill pipe technology, specific applications that were deployed the rig, as well as results achieved. Watch the video to learn more...

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Thigpen: Improving performance, efficiency will be key for offshore to compete with shales

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The offshore industry has reduced deepwater development costs by up to 50% over the past couple of years, much of it sustainable, but is that enough for deepwater to compete with shales for investors’ capital? In the near term, probably not, acknowledged Jeremy Thigpen, Transocean President and CEO, in a keynote presentation at IADC World Drilling 2017. But in the long term, there remains a critical need for deepwater resources...

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Small signs hint at possible recovery in still-sluggish North Sea

The ENSCO 120 jackup is scheduled to begin a three-year drilling program in the North Sea in July. It was the first rig equipped with Ensco’s Canti-Leverage Advantage system, which enhances the rig’s hoisting capacity at the farthest reaches of the cantilever when the rig is fully skidded out, leading to fewer rig moves on multiwell programs.

Although the North Sea drilling market is still quite a ways from what one might call healthy, small signs of recovery are starting to sprout. Several operators, for example, have publicly touted significant reductions in their breakeven costs for offshore projects – from Maersk Oil’s $40-45 range for pre-FID projects to Statoil’s $27 for pre-FID Norwegian Shelf projects...

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Statoil adopts integrated, trilateral partnership in search of ‘perfect wells’ on Johan Sverdrup field

Speaking at the 2017 OTC on 3 May in Houston, Jákup Øregaard, Drilling Manager at Statoil, detailed an integrated, trilateral partnership among the operator, drilling contractor and main service provider, including a shared incentive system, that supported a 70% recovery goal for the Johan Sverdrup field.

Operated by Statoil, Johan Sverdrup is one of the five largest oil fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), holding an estimated 1.9 billion to 3 billion BOE. In March 2016, Statoil began pre-drilling eight producer wells on the field, with the goal of delivering “perfect wells,” or wells delivered in the minimum possible time, that would contribute to a 70% recovery goal for the field...

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