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

 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

 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

 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

 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

 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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West Africa development forges ahead, despite downturn

 Economic crisis notwithstanding, activity in West Africa forges ahead. Recently, both BP and Anadarko announced discoveries, while TOTAL revealed the early startup on its Akpo deepwater development offshore Nigeria.

BP and its partner, Angolan national oil company Sonangol, announced the Leda discovery in ultra-deepwater Block 31, its 17th discovery in the block, located in its central northern portion, roughly 415 km northwest of Luanda and 12 km southwest of the Marte field.

The discovery well was drilled by the Transocean Explorer in 2,070 m (6,790 ft) of water and reached a TD of 5,907 m (19,381 ft). BP said that Leda is the fifth discovery in Block 31 where the exploration well was drilled through salt to access the oil-bearing sandstone. The well tested at 5,040 bbl/day through a 36/64ths choke, according to the company.

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BP intends to 'drive deflation' in 2009, cutting downstream & alternative energy spending; E&P spend

 BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said BP intends to “drive deflation” in the business during 2009, after holding costs flat last year. Speaking recently to financial analysts in London, Mr Hayward singled out refining, marketing and alternative energy as areas for cuts in capital expenditures, pledging to maintain E&P spending.

"Our view is that the right current balance is both to continue paying the dividend and to maintain investment to grow the firm - and to use the capacity of our balance sheet while the industry cost structure adjusts,” he said. "We began our drive in 2007 to counter the cost inflation that had developed alongside rising oil prices. Our mantra is that every dollar counts and every seat counts, and we are applying it with determination.”

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Larry Dickerson, Diamond Offshore, is 2009 IADC Contractor of the Year

 Larry Dickerson, Diamond Offshore, was named 2009 IADC Contractor of the Year during a luncheon at the Houston Petroleum Club on 4 March. The award, sponsored for the 22nd year by NOV ReedHycalog, recognizes outstanding contributions and leadership to the association and the drilling industry.

“This is a tremendous honor. The list of past recipients is incredible, with many pioneers in the industry. I’m certainly humbled to be grouped with them,” Mr Dickerson said in accepting the award.

Referring to a quote by Milton Friedman asserting that no one can make a pencil – because no one person possesses all the skills needed to make the pencil – Mr Dickerson said he believes that “no one can drill a well.” It requires not only the expertise of drilling contractors, but also many other disciplines from service companies, operators, regulators and governments.

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Ed Jacob, Marshall Ballard receive IADC Exemplary Service Awards


From left: Claus Hemmingsen, Maersk Drilling, Marshall Ballard, ENSCO,
Ed Jacob, and Dr Lee Hunt, IADC

IADC president Dr Lee Hunt presented Exemplary Service Awards to longtime IADC members and industry stalwarts Ed Jacob and Marshall Ballard, ENSCO, on 4 March at the IADC Contractor of the Year Luncheon & Directors Meeting, held in conjunction with the Houston Chapter.

Mr Jacob, who left Grey Wolf Drilling earlier this year, accepted the award by thanking IADC, commenting, “It’s humbling to be presented this award on the same day as Marshall Ballard, a true legend in our industry.”

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