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March/April

Safety, training and youth engagement highlight areas of focus for IADC in 2020

By Jason McFarland, IADC President Eighty years ago in 1940, IADC was established to give voice to the collective interests of drilling contractors. The seeds sown by that small group of dedicated industry veterans have allowed IADC to grow into the influential association it is today. Through the massive industry changes and technological innovations of the past eight decades, IADC has remained steadfast in its support of drilling contractor interests. IADC’s founders outlined 12 association aims, which detailed what IADC stands for and goals for the newly established association. Those aims, whose focus includes advocacy, promoting the safety of our workforce and establishing committees to solve industry issues, remain true today. We have weathered the cyclical ups and downs that ...

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Upbeat outlook for Africa’s offshore rig market as utilization stabilizes

Westwood Energy analysis shows marketed utilization for jackups has hit 90%; floater segment also poised for growth following encouraging discoveries in 2019 By Jessica Whiteside, Contributor Hot on the heels of last year’s commercial-grade discoveries, improved supply-demand dynamics appear to be priming the African rig market for potential future growth. At the IADC Drilling Africa Conference in Accra, Ghana, on 18 February, RigLogix head Terry Childs of Westwood Energy Group described the continent’s drilling outlook as showing “promise” and “potential.” But he had a caveat. “There is quite a bit of potential here. The underlying theme, though, is time,” Mr Childs said, noting that projects may not start when they should or when they’re scheduled. Some of the conditions needed ...

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Surge and swab during drill pipe connections on floaters may affect pressure windows in calm weather

Significant rig-heave induced pressure variations revealed in study of drillship offshore Brazil, highlighting need for simulation tool for harsh conditions By John-Morten Godhavn and Banzi Olorunju, Equinor; Dmitri Gorski, Martin Kvernland and Mateus Sant’Ana, Heavelock Solutions; Ole Morten Aamo and Sigbjørn Sangesland, NTNU During drilling and completion, the downhole pressure in a well should be kept lower than the fracture pressure and higher than both the pore pressure and wellbore collapse pressure. Falling below that lower limit pressure could lead to wellbore stability challenges and a possible undesired influx of hydrocarbons into the well, while exceeding the upper limit could cause the well to fracture, resulting in costly mud losses. All of this means an increase in nonproductive time (NPT) ...

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A novel approach of analyzing well sections as MPD candidates

Simplified technique helps to understand relationship between mud weight and surface-applied choke pressure, impact on drilling hydraulics design By Hasan Malik, UPDC-Aramco KSA Among the list of unconventional drilling techniques that include a combination of single-phase and multiphase mixtures of gas and liquid or dual density of two single-phase fluids, managed pressure drilling (MPD) is by far the most commonly used technique today. Throughout the process of MPD, the change in the equivalent mud weight (EMW) value is carried out by manipulating the annular pressure from a choke on surface. MPD utilizes a mud weight whose hydrostatic head is lower than the formation pressure under static conditions. Lightweight fluid is the common theme in both underbalanced drilling (UBD) and MPD. ...

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At-bit steerable system enables single-trip vertical, curve and lateral drilling in North American shales

Case studies from DJ Basin and Marcellus demonstrate technology’s capability to improve lateral hole quality and ROP for high-DLS wells By Gilles Vié, Schlumberger E&P companies in North American shales face many challenges, including wells with high dogleg severity (DLS) that require high build rates, complex geological formations and wells with increasingly longer laterals. These technical challenges, combined with increased pressure from investors for more capital discipline, have set the stage to really think about how they can align today’s directional drilling (DD) services with their company’s development strategies. With the increased downward pressure on both CAPEX and OPEX costs, these operators must find the optimal balance between the costs of DD service companies and the costs of rig contractors, ...

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Wellbore-shielding fluid additive during drilling, completions can help to boost potential production rates

Testing of cores from Venezuela, Colombia, Norway and Saudi Arabia confirm reduction in formation damage By Rodney Uchytil, Paul Craddock and Justin Mclellan, Impact Fluid Solutions While the production zone is typically the responsibility of the reservoir engineering team, taking proactive steps during drilling and considering the full life cycle of a well have been shown to minimize formation damage, thereby significantly enhancing potential production outcomes. Reducing damage, or skin effect, in mechanically weak and structurally complex reservoir geologies is critical to maximizing production and enhancing the net present value of an asset. Tightening margins, however, have prompted the universal strategy to reach the payzone and put the well on production as quickly and as economically as possible. Typically, that ...

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Electrically powered, open-platform wired drill pipe technology headed for commercial launch this year

Field tests show system can deliver stable downhole power while communicating at rate of 56 kB/sec during drilling By Ian Silvester, Reelwell Over the years, the drilling sector has experienced generational and innovative technologies. These include M/LWD tools, PDC bits, rotary steerable systems, high-specification drilling rigs and automation. Enabling next-generation drilling technologies by using a powered and wired enabled drill pipe string is arguably the next step-change in drilling performance. However, the market perception surrounding the wired drill pipe has historically centered around reliability and cost issues, alongside the positive benefits the technology can produce. With this in mind, extensive field tests have been carried out on Reelwell’s DualLink technology in Norway and the US. The technology, which is expected ...

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Statistical analysis helps to quantify benefits of new bit technology

Rather than rely on individual gut instinct, industry should look to trends from large-scale data sets to understand value and performance of new drill bits By Chris Gooch, Ulterra The drilling industry has relied too long on comparative experience and “gut instinct” when assessing new products and technologies and how they affect drilling performance. This is a problematic approach because applications vary wildly, even on the same pad or location, and no two wells are ever really drilled in the same way. The holy grail of the drill bit segment is the like-for-like test, whereby the engineer will find the closest offset well comparison in terms of matching all the different factors that define an application. However, this is next ...

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Novel coronavirus likely to hit oilfield budgets, supply chains

By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher As of late February – when this magazine went to press – the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, had not been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. However, with or without a pandemic declaration, it’s clear that this outbreak could have significant trickle-down effects on the oilfield service industry and its supply chains, possibly delaying or even derailing a burgeoning market recovery. Most apparently, the impact can be seen in oil prices. On 26 February, WTI crude fell below $50/bbl to its lowest point since January 2019. This comes as the outbreak is spreading in countries such as Iran, Italy and South Korea. While the situation continues to evolve rapidly, these recent ...

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People, Companies & Products

Eifler to succeed Robertson as Noble President, CEO Noble Corp announced that its Board of Directors is implementing a leadership transition plan that capitalizes on the strength of its management team. At the close of the company’s next annual general meeting of shareholders, Julie J. Robertson will resign as President and CEO and will take on the newly created role of an Executive Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. Robert W. Eifler, who joined Noble in 2005 and currently serves as Senior Vice President, Commercial, will become President and CEO. Mr Eifler will stand for election to the Board of Directors at the upcoming annual general meeting. Mr Eifler joined Noble in 2005 as part of the company’s management ...

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