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Onshore Advances

Top drives have transformed drilling: Now, new design targets ultra-deep, ERD

By David Reid, Larry Wells and Jeremy Ogg, National Oilwell Varco In 1982, a radically new drilling system appeared in the oil patch, one that would ultimately allow tremendous advances in the oil and gas industry’s well construction capabilities. The advent of the original Top Drive System (TDS) foreshadowed the development of reservoirs that were otherwise considered to be commercially impractical, and greatly improved the net cost, time-to-market and production of many others. Now, in 2008, a fourth generation of top drives from National Oilwell Varco (NOV) aims to continue extending the horizon of reservoir exploitation possibilities. Initially aimed at reducing the costs and risks associated with ultra-deep offshore development projects, the TDX series of top drives is also being ...

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Geothermal drilling market heats up

by Linda Hsieh, Assistant Managing Editor As oil prices reach unheard-of highs in the $140/bbl range, energy sources that have historically been considered too expensive to produce economically are getting new leases on life. Many such energy sources, like wind and solar, tend to reside far outside the realm of the oil and gas drilling industry. Geothermal energy, however, stands as one resource that holds potential opportunities for drilling contractors, especially as that industry continues to undergo a significant expansion. Geothermal produces energy off of heated fluids that reside deep inside the Earth. Just as wells must be drilled to reach oil or natural gas, geothermal wells must be drilled to reach heated fluids. As it turns out, the rigs ...

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Geothermal holds potential for new energy – and for new drilling

By Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor Like many renewable energy sources, geothermal carries substantial potential for powering the world in an environmentally friendly way. However, also like many renewable energy sources, geothermal remains unable to evolve into a fully viable alternative to oil or natural gas. The late 1970s and early ’80s saw rapid growth of the US geothermal industry, mostly in western states such as California and Nevada. But by the ’90s, geothermal had hit a wall. Demand went down in the face of strong competition from natural gas – fairly cheap at the time, if you recall. Even after the US government added an investment tax credit for geothermal drilling in 1992, the market continued to stall. Times ...

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Operator finds cost-effective rotary steerable applications in Oman’s low-cost environment

By M Riyami, Petroleum Development Oman; J Edwards, E Vache, O Ojeiduma, S Johnston, Wael Darwish, Schlumberger Hydrocarbon basins in the Sultanate of Oman are located in the desert, where rig rates are low. Although this is not a typical environment for sophisticated drilling systems such as rotary steerable systems (RSS), use of this technology can make business sense in some niche applications. One application, for example, is efficient directional drilling in hard and abrasive layered formations of S-shape and J-shape profiles. Another is drilling build-ups to precise horizontal landing depths, or drilling absolutely vertical holes in wells that have long, heavy-wall liner sections that are run with inner strings and mechanical-set liner hanger packers. A dogleg can result in ...

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