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2020

Just as drillers have survived tough times in years past, we will be resilient this time

By Julie Robertson, 2020 IADC Chair This issue of Drilling Contractor magazine finds us at the mid-point of 2020. Certainly, at the beginning of this year, none of us could have predicted the double black swan events of OPEC and COVID-19, but here we are. Many are just now emerging from quarantines, and the industry is facing yet another significant downturn and an extremely difficult operating environment. While a global pandemic is unfamiliar territory, a market downturn is, unfortunately, nothing new for those of us with long histories in this industry. Earlier this year, I spoke with a writer from this magazine and shared my belief that our industry was on an upswing – that the previous downturn was behind ...

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Andrew Barry, Wild Well: Multigenerational roots in oil & gas laid foundation for career spanning design/testing, marketing, training

By Jay Stracke, Editorial Coordinator For Andrew Barry, Senior Vice President of Marketing, US Business Development and Training for Wild Well Control, family ties to oil and gas run deep. His father was the Senior Western Regional Manager for Esso Petroleum, and his grandfather served as the company’s Production Manager for the Purfleet Refinery during World War II. When he questioned his two sons’ decisions to pursue a career in oil and gas, “They would tell me, ‘why would we do anything else? This industry has provided for our family for generations. So why wouldn’t we do it?’” As a youth growing up just outside of London in the town of Bath in the ’60s and ’70s, Mr Barry always ...

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In crisis, operators must lead to protect their supply chain

By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher It’s no secret: Drilling contractors, and other oilfield service companies, face an extremely tough road ahead. While the current crisis and price crash are pandemic-induced and could likely be reversed in the near future, the “now” is as painful as ever. And more and more, it’s becoming clear that operators will have to play the decisive role in managing this crisis – taking actions that will have long-term impacts on the health of their business and the industry. As of early July, signs had emerged indicating oil demand was recovering. For example, IHS Markit announced that US gasoline consumption had hit a milestone by climbing back more than halfway to pre-COVID levels, signalling that ...

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People, Companies and Products

Noble executes previously announced leadership transition Noble Corp announced in May that it has executed the leadership transition plan announced in February. Julie Robertson, who currently serves as IADC Chair, has assumed the newly created role of Executive Chairman of Noble’s Board of Directors. Robert Eifler has been named President and CEO and has been elected as a member of Noble’s Board. Additionally, Kevin Corbett has been elected to Noble’s Board. “Over the course of my career at Noble, I have been extremely fortunate to work with what I consider to be the best group of people in the world, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with the Noble team in my new role,” Ms Robertson said. ...

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Drilling & Completion Tech Digest

Dual-activity rig enables dual-drilling operation in Norway Neptune Energy recently conducted the world’s first dual-drilling operation from an integrated subsea template structure at the Fenja field in the Norwegian North Sea. In conjunction with the startup of the Fenja drilling campaign in April, Neptune teams maximized the capabilities of Seadrill’s West Phoenix semisubmersible to drill two wellbores at the same time. While rigs with two drilling facilities are typically used to drill one well at a time, with one drilling center supporting the other, “in the instance of our operations, we decided to use these facilities independently to concurrently drill two wellbores,” said Thor Andre Løvoll, Director of Drilling and Wells in Norway for Neptune. “The experience of dual drilling ...

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Pressures amp up as rig counts keep falling

Amid low prices and a vast oil oversupply, drilling industry may need to look to strategic partnerships and diversification for survival By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor As the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic drag on and the reality of a much-lower-for-longer environment really sets in, oilfield companies are recognizing that finding a path to survival has become more critical than ever. The WTI price has shown some slight improvement since its crash in late April, reaching $40.73 on 22 June. While this price still reflects a 36% drop from the 2020 high – $63.05 on 3 January – it is much closer to the mid-$40s, where the WTI averaged in the first week of March. That was just before ...

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Closed-loop drilling optimization system: implementation and field results from large-scale deployment

Parameter limit roadmaps played key role in ROP/MSE optimization, while automated protocols allowed for mitigation of drilling dysfunctions By Stephen Lai, Lars Olesen, James Ng, Aaron Eddy, Sergey Khromov, Dan Paslawski and Ryan van Beurden, Pason Systems; Gregory S. Payette, Benjamin J. Spivey, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company The goal of practical automation is to perform repetitive, precise and rule-based tasks. Rotary drilling performance can be maximized by continuous adjustment of WOB and RPM in response to changes in ROP and mechanical specific energy (MSE) while detecting and mitigating dysfunction. This workflow is a prime candidate for automation; however, developing the technology for wide-scale use presents technical and human-factor challenges. This article describes learnings from a control and optimization system that ...

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Blockchain may pave the way for easier, more transparent execution of performance-based contracts

Smart contracts present collaborative mechanisms for operators to ensure they get what they paid for, and for contractors to be paid promptly for service delivered By Andrew Bruce, Data Gumbo Drilling contractors often face an uphill battle when it comes to getting paid based on their daily drilling activities and reimbursable expenses. The average service delivery-to-payment process currently runs 60 days or more, leaving drilling contractors with elongated days sales outstanding (DSO). Although an operator’s representative signs the contractor’s Daily Drilling Report (DDR), they frequently keep separate records of events in other systems, leading to reconciliation errors. After an operator approves all the hours and coding for daily operations, invoices and payments are often held up by single line items ...

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Communication, trust cited as key factors for HSE performance during pandemic

By Jay Stracke, Editorial Coordinator The drilling industry has always united around its mission to bring its rig crews home safe. But now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, collaboration between companies and sharing of lessons learned has become more critical than ever. Particularly offshore, rig crews are dealing with complicated travel and quarantine restrictions, which in some instances have led people to work hitches spanning months. “The average days onboard for one of our seasonal employees used to be around 14 days,” said Neil Forrest, VP, Operational Integrity for Seadrill. “Our average days onboard is now around 23 days.” Despite longer hitches, however, several companies noticed their HSE performance during this time has improved. Potential reasons include reduced complexity of operations, ...

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