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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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IADC developing guidelines for alarm management on rigs

At Maersk Training’s facility in Houston, simulator-based exercises incorporate practicing proper responses to alarms on a rig. Drillers, in particular, must deal with a high volume of alarms in their job, potentially making them susceptible to alarm blindness. This happens when users are inundated with so many alarms that they do not pay attention to the root cause of the alarms. Through the new alarm management guidelines, the IADC Drilling Control Systems Subcommittee aims to help drilling contractors assess alarm functionality, prioritization and management of change.

The IADC Drilling Control Systems (DCS) Subcommittee under the Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee is developing a set of alarm management guidelines for the drilling industry. “We are suggesting that drilling contractors, land and offshore, have an alarm philosophy in place that is appropriate for the drilling control systems and inventory on their rigs,” said Christopher Goetz, Partner at Kingston Systems. Mr Goetz is on a working group of subcommittee members leading the development of the guidelines.

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