CATEGORIZED | News

Offshore California well pushes extended-reach drilling capabilities

Posted on 04 March 2011

El Capitan targeted an area of the Sacate field in the Santa Ynez Unit in the Santa Barbara Channel, which is 20 miles from the ecologically sensitive Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The well was drilled from existing infrastructure using advanced extended-reach drilling technology.

El Capitan targeted an area of the Sacate field in the Santa Ynez Unit in the Santa Barbara Channel, which is 20 miles from the ecologically sensitive Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The well was drilled from existing infrastructure using advanced extended-reach drilling technology.

About 20 miles from the ecologically sensitive Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary offshore California are three oil and gas fields. One of them is Sacate, where an extended-reach well has been drilled to a total depth of 37,165 ft. The well was drilled from an empty slot on the Heritage platform.

“The El Capitan well was drilled 4,000 ft further and 700 ft shallower than the SA-15 Spanish Bay well that had previously been a significant achievement in the Sacate field,” Neil Armstrong of ExxonMobil said. “A significant achievement of the El Capitan well was drilling an ERD well from an offshore platform. This required careful concern for logistics.” Mr Armstrong made the presentation on El Capitan on 3 March at the 2011 SPE/IADC Drilling conference in Amsterdam.

Most world-class extended-reach wells are drilled from purpose-built rigs to offshore bottomhole locations. Planning extended-reach wells from an offshore production installation requires more consideration of logistics, as well as platform space and weight limitations. For example, Mr Armstrong said, in order to drill to final total depth, 12,000 ft of drill pipe singles had to be picked up from the pipe deck because the Heritage platform derrick capacity is only 25,000 ft.

The area of the Sacate field, located in the Santa Ynez Unit in the Santa Barbara Channel, that was targeted by the El Capitan well could not have been developed using existing infrastructure without detailed engineering to further extend extended-reach drilling (ERD) limits. Now, knowledge gained from the successful El Capitan drilling program is being used to extend drilling limits in previously out-of-reach areas of the Santa Ynez Unit, according to Mr Armstrong.

The rig used to drill El Capitan was originally designed with limited ERD capability but had undergone upgrades to facilitate the Sacate drilling program. It was equipped with a 2,000-hp drawworks, a nominal 500-ton capacity 30-by-30 ft derrick, a 63,000 ft-lb top drive and a 5,000-psi circulating system outfitted with three mud pumps. Before starting El Capitan, the circulation system was upgraded to 7,500 psi.

“The NPT resulting from a drill pipe failure would have been significant; therefore, much emphasis was placed on ensuring drillstring integrity,” Mr Armstrong said. “All BHAs for the 14 ¾-in. and 8½-in. hole sections were analyzed using the company’s proprietary BHA Vybes model.”

Planning is under way for another well to be drilled in the Sacate field that will extend the ExxonMobil and North American horizontal drilling record by 2,000 ft, according to Mr Armstrong.

More information on El Capitan can be found in SPE/IADC 140265, “Extended Reach Drilling – Offshore California: Extending Capabilities and Improving Performance,” by Neil Armstrong and Andrew Evans, ExxonMobil Development Company, presented at the 2011 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, 1-3 March, Amsterdam.

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 22 April 2014

    Noble names Steven Manz as Senior VP And CFO of Paragon Offshore

    Steven A. Manz will serve as Senior VP and CFO of Noble Corp’s spinoff company Paragon Offshore, a standard specification offshore drilling company, Noble announced today...

  • 17 April 2014

    Shell makes deepwater gas discovery offshore Malaysia

    Shell has made an exploration discovery offshore Malaysia in the Rosmari-1 well located 135 km offshore Malaysia in Block SK318. The well was drilled to a total depth of 2,123...

  • 16 April 2014

    Maersk Drilling takes delivery of ultra-deepwater drillship

    Maersk Drilling has taken the delivery of its second drillship, Maersk Valiant from the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyard in Geoje-Si, South-Korea. Maersk Valiant has begun its voyage toward the...

  • 16 April 2014

    Ensco orders new jackups from Lamprell

    Ensco has ordered two high-specification jackups, ENSCO 140 and ENSCO 141, for delivery in mid-2016 from Lamprell’s shipyard in the United Arab Emirates. The rigs will also...

  • 16 April 2014

    MPD/UBD successfully drills sidetrack after 6 failed conventional drilling attempts

    In the Brookeland Field in East Texas, conventional drilling methods failed in six attempts to drill a “straightforward” horizontal wellbore. The original well had surface casing installed...

  • Read more news