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Evolutionary advances driving revolutionary changes for drilling industry

Posted on 19 March 2009 in News

 After focusing on “people” during Tuesday’s plenary session at the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference in Amsterdam, the Wednesday session turned to another critical element: technology. The goal of the discussion – titled “Technology – Evolution or Revolution?” – was to look back on our historical journey at technology delivered by both evolution and revolution and to discuss opportunities for such technologies in the future.

Moderator Lance Cook of Shell began the session by reminding everyone that “the easy oil is gone,” and industry will need every innovation possible in order “to get hydrocarbons into the pipeline at the rates we need”.

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Wired pipe telemetry provides step-change improvements

Posted on 19 March 2009 in News

 A wired pipe telemetry system helped reduce drilling time by 10% in an onshore project for Occidental Petroleum.

Wired pipe technology is here, said Chris McCartney with Occidental Petroleum, “and I’m here to tell you, get ready for it.”

In a presentation during the drilling automation session at the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference in Amsterdam on 18 March, Mr McCartney described how the use of wired pipe telemetry strings at Occidental of Elk Hills Inc (OEHI) in California helped to deliver an average 10% reduction in drilling time.

With mud pulse telemetry or electromagnetic data transmission, the process of receiving and processing the downhole measurements means there’s lag time. The data density of mud pulse telemetry points transmitted to surface is also reduced, with downhole measurements improving and requiring additional bandwidth.

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IADC Advanced Rig Tech Committee looks at today's reliability, tomorrow's technology

Posted on 19 March 2009 in News

 IADC vice president-drilling & well services division David Reid of NOV detailed work by the IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee to study top-drive reliability and survey tech trends for the future. Mr Reid made his remarks during the opening of the Wednesday, 18 March, plenary session at the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference in Amsterdam. Mr Reid is also chairman of the IADC ART Committee.

The group, he noted, has five subcommittees. The Future Technology Subcommittee, under the leadership of vice chairman Frank Springett, NOV, has nearly completed development of an extensive survey on performance and future development for a host of drilling and completion technologies, covering both rig and downhole equipment. The survey will be made available to the industry soon.

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Regulator: Industry must not get complacent about UKCS well control

Posted on 19 March 2009 in News

 According to a study of well incidents on the UK continental shelf from 1999 to 2008, the majority of those incidents were due to geological factors and not readily preventable. Most were also efficiently handled, said Donald Dobson of the UK regulatory agency Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Yet that’s no reason for the industry to settle into complacency, he added, during a presentation at the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference on 18 March in Amsterdam.

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RigPass curriculum changes approved

Posted on 19 March 2009 in News

 To ensure continued relevance to new-hires in the petroleum industry, IADC’s RigPass Review Panel has revised the RigPass Accreditation Program curriculum. Specifically, modules for general safety principles, material handling and first aid were expanded, while a new wellsite environmental protection module was added. Additionally, an optional land endorsement module was created.

Emphasis on the employee’s responsibility for his/her own safety and the safety of co-workers permeates the entire revised curriculum, said Brenda Kelly, director of the IADC accreditation & certification department (ACD).

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Sneak Preview: Hercules & Maersk share stories of HSE innovation in March/April DC

Posted on 19 March 2009 in News

 Image courtesy of Hercules Offshore

In the March/April issue of DC, Hercules Offshore and Maersk Drilling spell out innovative strategies that make a difference in HSE results, Maersk through a systems approach to improving environmental performance and Hercules through empowering personnel as “safety heroes.”

Early in 2008, Maersk launched its “Green Rig” project to improve its fleet’s environmental impact. The focus was fourfold – energy efficiency and emissions, discharges, accidental spills, and waste management.

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Shell installs Perdido topsides

Posted on 19 March 2009 in News

 Shell’s Perdido development, with a drilling/production platform on top of a 555-ft spar, is located in about 8,000 ft of water.

At its Perdido development, Shell has completed installation of the drilling and production platform atop a 555-ft cylindrical spar floating in about 8,000 ft of water 200 miles from Houston in an isolated sector of the Gulf of Mexico. It is the deepest such facility in the world.

Russ Ford, Shell’s technology vice president for the Americas, said, “Perdido is a technological tour de force that is opening up a new frontier for global oil and gas production. Once the global economy recovers, the energy challenge will return with a vengeance, and new sources of energy will be required. Producing oil safely and responsibly this far out and this deep should allay concerns about industry access to the 85% of the US Outer Continental Shelf that remains undeveloped. Perdido and the OCS represent considerable potential to boost US and global energy security.”

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Plenary panelists: Industry must not repeat same personnel mistakes from '90s

Posted on 18 March 2009 in News

 During the drilling boom of the last few years, when we couldn’t hire or train people fast enough, it seemed like our personnel challenges couldn’t get any tougher. Well, it turns out that they could – like if the global economy were to crash and rigs were to get stacked faster than we thought possible. How should the industry face the challenge of recruiting, training and retaining employees – a costly task – during these difficult economic times?

During the plenary session on the opening day of the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, 17-19 March in Amsterdam, panelists from two IOCs, a drilling contractor and a service company engaged in a Q&A discussion session with the audience that raised tough questions – some that perhaps we don’t quite have an answer for yet.

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StatoilHydro presentation highlights need for industry standard on MWD vibration measurements

Posted on 18 March 2009 in News

 Citing the difficulties that operators face with downhole vibrations related to MWD and LWD equipment, Svein Magne Osnes with StatoilHydro called for the industry to establish a standard on the measurement/classification and reporting of vibration data, during his presentation at the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference on 17 March in Amsterdam.

No standard exists in the industry for downhole vibration testing, reporting or qualification, he said, and service companies have each developed different ways to measure and quantify downhole shocks and vibrations.

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University project allows students to learn about low-impact technologies first-hand

Posted on 18 March 2009 in News

 Focusing on environmental performance during the HSE session of the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, Dr Jerome Schubert of Texas A&M University presented the “661 Team Challenge” project that a graduate class undertook last year. Under that assignment, students used a systems engineering optimization protocol approach to incorporate current and emerging environmentally friendly technologies into a clean drilling system with no or very limited environmental impact.

The class challenge was done in conjunction with an ongoing project by the university in designing Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) systems. Among other positive benefits, it helped to populate a database of environmentally friendly technologies that could limit drilling’s environmental impact.

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