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Author Archives: Brian Parks

MPD planning: How much is enough?

By Paul Spriggs, Philip J Frink, Blade Energy Partners This article addresses the key drivers and risks associated with the use of applied backpressure managed pressure drilling. One of the two key issues that must be understood early on is whether the well can be drilled statically overbalanced or if it needs to be drilled with a statically underbalanced fluid. The second issue to comprehend is the level of service needed to avoid compromising safety and well objectives. Answering these two questions defines the path to be followed for adequate planning. Detailed planning aspects, such as flow modeling, crew training, operational procedures, process flow diagrams and HAZID/HAZOP meetings are also described here. By asking the “what if” questions prior to ...

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Deepwater trend pushes risk management to forefront

By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor As oil prices surge and easy-to-tap reservoirs dwindle, the oil and gas industry finds itself venturing into complicated formations and much deeper waters, using technology that just ten years ago was unfathomable. Now, with the stakes higher than they’ve ever been, an already risky business has become even riskier, with everything from dayrates to currency fluctuations to technology being scrutinized to an unprecedented degree. The newest frontier, deepwater exploration, is increasingly daunting as operators push the envelope to go beyond 5,000 ft and face billions of dollars in capital expenditures. “Risks take many forms,” said Cary A Moomjian Jr, vice president and general counsel for ENSCO International. “In our industry, enterprise risks include investment decisions, ...

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Defining drillstring specifications to maximize safety, performance in sour service environments

By Anne Sevignon and William Gamisans, VAM Drilling The evolution of drilling programs has driven the industry to develop more suitable solutions adapted to extreme and aggressive environments such as sour service. High-strength drill pipe is necessary to achieve deeper drilling objectives, even if the sulfide stress cracking susceptibility is an acknowledged concern starting with minimal partial pressure of H2S. Due to the astringency of the sour environment, particular attention must be paid to the drillstring design, which includes the sour service steel grade. This article summarizes current knowledge about the sulfide stress cracking phenomenon, recommended practices and material trends for drill stem components. Introduction “Sour service” refers to a well environment containing hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is naturally associated ...

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Coloring book takes safety message home to employees’ families

While workplace safety is a priority for drilling companies, as it should be, MB Century has identified one often-forgotten area where safety messages and efforts should be targeted – the home front. MB Century (formerly Century Resources), which provides drilling rigs to the Australian and Asia Pacific regions, has implemented several best practice safety systems and programs in recent years, such as bahavior-based safety observations, hazard identification cards and Step Back 5×5. Now, the company has developed a safety initiative that goes beyond traditional drilling company safety programs and takes safety home to the families of rig workers. According to MB Century, experience has shown that injuries to employees’ families – particularly their children – have a significant impact on ...

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Developing a mature safety culture: Everyone must step up to be a safety leader champion

By Ron Clem, Executive Training International Safety leadership has been the “buzz” phrase and a major focus for most companies over the last few years. Organizations strive to improve HSE performance by adopting new strategies, training initiatives and slogans to reach “Goal Zero” where “no one gets hurt.” Historically, the worldwide oil and gas community, focused and pro-active, has held sacred its positive safety and HSE performance. Safety is truly No.1 on most corporate agendas, and this should be applauded. So, with effort, resources, time and money clearly directed toward safety, why are people still getting hurt? Why are safety performance data for companies with offices around the world so varied? Corporate and local safety goals are the same and ...

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IADC ASP Report: Industry achieved record-low LTI rate in 2007

The drilling industry set another record with the lowest ever lost-time incidence (LTI) rate of 0.53 in 2007, a 5% improvement over 0.56 in 2006. The number of fatalities decreased as well, from 29 in 2006 to 23 in 2007. These are worthy achievements in an industry where rig demand continues to increase, as do pressure on personnel. Still, 23 lives lost is 23 too many, and every incident remains a cause for concern and a reason for improvement. Data in this report were provided voluntarily by drilling contractors for the IADC ASP Program, which has tracked safety and accident information for the drilling industry since 1962. During 2007, 111 contractors representing approximately 78% of the worldwide oil and gas ...

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What does it take to be environmentally responsible in this industry?

By Ian Hudson, Transocean We have come a long way in the drilling industry over the last few years in both technology and HSE performance. As pressure mounts to find more petroleum and to open up new areas for exploration drilling worldwide, our industry is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth, with many newbuild offshore drilling rigs set to start work in the coming three years. During such periods, it is important to focus on all aspects of the offshore drilling business, and a key area at the forefront of new exploration is environmental protection. Changing Views One major improvement area in our environmental performance is best summed up by the fact that containment losses have been dramatically reduced from ...

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Service company geomechanics group: Knowledge integration is our objective

In today’s high-cost drilling environment, the lack of integration of valuable pore pressure or other reservoir information can cost a company millions of dollars, said Colin Sayers, scientific advisor for Schlumberger’s geomechanics group. He cited an example of one oil company where the geophysics department never told the drilling department about a small fault above the reservoir, ultimately leading to a costly loss of well. To avoid such disasters, Dr Sayers said, integration is essential. At Schlumberger, the geomechanics team is an interdisciplinary group including geophysicists, drilling engineers, petrophysicists, reservoir engineers and geologists. These experts from different disciplines typically work in close proximity to one another, often on the same floor of an office building. And because they’re all located ...

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Working the pore pressure puzzle: Different Languages, same goal

Pore pressure knowledge is critical when designing a well. It’s unlikely that anyone in this industry would argue with that. Pore pressure drives the casing design, which drives the well plan, including hole sizes and mud weight. An inaccurate pore pressure model could even lead to a well control event, causing financial losses or, worse, injuries or fatalities. This is an industry that respects pore pressure, as well it should. However, if you ask how pore pressure data should be collected and interpreted when designing a well, your chances of finding an argument will go up considerably. Geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, geomechanicists, drilling engineers – they all have a stake in the pore pressure model. Yet sharing their piece of the ...

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Case study: new concentric expandable reamer tool used in Gulf of Mexico

By Steven Radford, Will Thompson, Hughes Christensen; Mark Jenkins, INTEQ In the deepwater Green Canyon section of the Gulf of Mexico, an operator lost 10,000 bbl of synthetic oil-base drilling mud in one well before finally abandoning the project. In cooperation with two Baker Hughes companies – Hughes Christensen and INTEQ – the operator began a drilling improvement project in a new well adjacent to the previous one. On this new well, water-base mud was to be used with an additive to reduce shale balling. The operator realized that the very reactive gumbo shale would be a risk and that hole swabbing may occur. One objective was to complete the well without excessive mud losses. A second but overriding objective ...

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