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Troubled Brazil works to open pre-salt, ease regulatory restrictions

The Brava Star, QGOG Constellation’s ultra-deepwater drillship, can drill in waters as deep as 12,000 ft. The rig was delivered from Samsung Heavy Industries in 2015.

As of July, Petrobras had 39 floating rigs on contract in Brazil. That compares with 60 at the beginning of 2015 and 42 at the end of that year, according to Rudimar Lorenzatto, E&P Executive Manager for the Brazilian national oil company. Despite this fall in activity, Petrobras remains heavily focused on the pre-salt. Of the 60 wells planned for 2016 and another 60 planned for 2017, 60% are expected to be in the pre-salt areas. “Pre-salt is the main focus in the future for Petrobras’ business plans,” Mr Lorenzatto said.

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HSE&T Corner: Hard hat uses transparent visor to increase workers’ peripheral vision

National Oilwell Varco estimates the AboveView Hard Hat could increase workers’ upper peripheral vision by about 50%. The idea for the hat was hatched during a rig tour in 2009 when an NOV employee was climbing a ladder and bumped into a colleague above him, nearly causing both to fall from 20 ft above the ground.

With the multitude of safety-related challenges that workers face in the upstream oil and gas industry, any improvement in a worker’s ability to be aware of their surroundings can make a difference when it comes to keeping themselves and others out of harm’s way. To address this, National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and Bullard are introducing a hard hat designed to increase workers’ upper peripheral vision.

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Be a safety hero: Join the IADC HSE Case rewrite

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Even in these uncertain times, safety is the bottom line, and the folks who help us save lives at work, play and home are my safety heroes. Industry deserves kudos for advancing personal safety, and for the changes in safety culture that have saved life and limb. Check the latest stats from the IADC ISP program. 2015 struck a milestone as the first year with zero US onshore fatalities since the voluntary reporting program kicked off in 1962 (p 66).

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Enhanced well control course integrates technical training with simulator exercises, human factors

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IADC is developing a new accreditation program for enhanced well control training that emphasizes human factors and enhanced simulation-based exercises. Between January and July of this year, Rowan Companies and Maersk Training piloted a course that could serve as a basis for this program.

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ABS, partners test Polar Code requirements through search and rescue exercise offshore Norway

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In April, ABS partnered with the Norwegian coast guard, academic institutions and other stakeholder companies to perform a search and rescue exercise in Svalbard, Norway. The University of Stavanger, Company GMC and the Norwegian Coast Guard organized the exercise, which took place on the K V Svalbard, a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel. The exercise was conducted to gain a better understanding of the IMO Polar Code’s requirements, which many in the industry regard as vague, according to ABS. For example, the code requires the crews of maritime vessels, including drilling rigs, to be equipped be able to survive five days in polar waters while awaiting rescue. There was concern about whether this was even possible with existing equipment, said ABS ...

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Petronas implements enterprise-level real-time data management infrastructure

Petronas implemented the Real Time Well Solution, an enterprise real-time data management solution with web-based delivery, in 2014. The data management infrastructure is helping the operator to better manage its rig-site drilling operations from remote locations.

Although Petronas had established its Smart Drilling Optimization Monitoring Centre (Smart DOMC) in 2010, the operator decided in 2014 to change its approach to rig-site monitoring. “At that time, the environment of the real-time (monitoring) was fully managed by a service company, so we felt that we didn’t have control,” Noorazmah Yusoff with Petronas said in a presentation at the 2016 IADC/SPE Asia Pacific Drilling Technology Conference, held 22-24 August in Singapore. “We wanted to have more control of the data, from the location portion up to the integration portion of it.”

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Shale, tight gas production from Argentina’s Neuquén Basin on the rise, while Venezuela suffers dramatic production declines

Figure 1: Tight gas production from Argentina’s Neuquén Basin more than doubled between January 2014 and January 2016, according to Wood Mackenzie. The Lajas and Mulichinco formations were responsible for the bulk of tight gas production during this period. Overall, there are 11 tight developments under way in the basin, including Total’s drilling program in the Aguada Pichana block and YPF and Petrolera Pampa’s $150 million investment in the Rincón del Mangrullo block.

While much of the E&P attention in Latin America is focused on Brazil’s pre-salt, Argentina and Venezuela both remain key E&P players on the continent, as well. In Argentina’s Neuquén Basin, tight gas production has already doubled since 2014, and production from the Vaca Muerta shale formation is expected to double between 2015 and 2018, according to Wood Mackenzie.

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