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The Offshore Frontier

IADC operations push forward with focus on improving drilling efficiency worldwide

It’s been another exciting and challenging year as IADC strives to fulfill the needs of an intensely demanding and always-evolving industry. In government affairs, for example, we continue to provide critical input on the EU’s Working Time Directive and critical court appeals that will impact day-to-day drilling operations. Our accreditation & certification department is further expanding its portfolio of services as the wider industry works to ensure the competency of our workers. Regulatory issues – such as the emerging biofouling challenge in Australia – have been closely monitored so that members won’t be caught short by unfair or unreasonable rules. We’re also pushing ahead with vital initiatives such as Career Connection, the Environmental Policy Advisory Panel and the newly set-up ...

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Deepwater cement design optimized for record-length expandable liner in Gulf of Mexico

By Don Schultz, Greg Pollard, Nexen Petroleum; George Fuller, Joey Langlinais, Michael Serio, Jasen Bradley, Halliburton During a sidetrack operation out of 9 7/8-in. casing on a deepwater well in Green Canyon Block 243, Gulf of Mexico, unexpected hole conditions were encountered that required the use of an additional casing string. The decision was made to run a 7 5/8 x 9 5/8-in. expandable liner in the 8 ½ x 9 ½-in. wellbore. The liner would expand to provide an inside diameter of 7.71 in., allowing space for a 7-in. production liner in the targeted interval. The 6,867-ft liner (pre-expansion length) was the world record for the longest expandable liner set to date and presented several challenges for cement job ...

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Managing retrieval of triple-zone intelligent completions in offshore extended-reach well

By L. Izquierdo, T.U. Ceccarelli, Schlumberger; G.P. Hertfelder, K. Koerner, Plains E&P; S. Pace, Chevron An independent operator offshore California has successfully achieved triple-zone intelligent well completions in an extended-reach drilling (ERD) campaign in its Rocky Point field. To date, two workover interventions have been performed in five deployments in the field, of which three are currently fully operational. The Rocky Point reservoir is a highly fractured carbonate and can rapidly initiate water production. Achieving zonal isolation in the wellbore and at the reservoir level is critical. During the production stage, it was recognized that two of the wells did not achieve the required zonal isolation evident by increasing water cut. The operator decided to retrieve these completions to conduct ...

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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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TOTAL aims for ‘routine’ deepwater drilling in West Africa

By Jeremy Cresswell, contributing editor The name TOTAL is synonymous with West Africa, and for sure the region ranks as the French group’s number one theater of activity. Moreover, the company has an excellent exploration track record and reputation as a technology frontier buster when it comes to developing discoveries. While many of the headlines of recent years relate to Angola, John Bannerman, VP drilling & completion at the company, reminds us that TOTAL is also active in Nigeria, Congo, Gabon and Cameroon. Angola is ranked top, though Nigeria would be close behind if it was possible for TOTAL to realise the various projects currently on the books there. Congo comes next in terms of rig commitments, followed by Cameroon ...

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Life extension for mobile offshore unites: How old is too old?

By Gerhard Ersdal, Arne Kvitrud, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway; Wayne Jones, Malcolm Birkinshaw, UK Health and Safety Executive Editor’s note: This article is the second in a series of articles that will focus on the critical issue of asset integrity. The International Regulators Forum kicked off the series in the May/June 2008 issue, presenting findings from a three-year inspection programme. In this issue, UK’s HSE and PSA Norway detail how they are approaching the evaluation of offshore units operated beyond their original design life. In upcoming issues, Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority and the Netherlands’ State Supervision of Mines will provide their perspectives on how industry can improve asset integrity. A large number of mobile units in the North ...

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Modular MDDM top drive designed to cut time for change outs, slash failures

In 2005, Transocean went in search of a “next-generation top drive” that could significantly improve operational performance to meet customer demands. Specifications required for this new-generation design were tough, including a 99.9% uptime on an annual basis. Out of several ideas proposed by different equipment manufacturers, Aker Solutions’ MDDM (modular direct drilling machine) was selected. According to Aker, the MDDM’s increased performance would enable Transocean to drill wells up to 50,000 ft, with an overall design philosophy of reducing the total cost of ownership of a derrick drilling machine. A contract was signed by October 2005, initiating a development phase with the two companies collaborating on the design and field-testing of the new top drive. Transocean provided background data based ...

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API RP 2SK: Stationkeeping: an emerging practice for moored MODUs in GOM hurricanes

By David Petruska, GoM SPU Riser Technical Authority, BP America Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs) in the Gulf of Mexico are a critical part of the infrastructure required for oil and gas E&P. Industry standards that allow safe and economic operations are important to the industry, community and regulatory authorities. Much work has been done since the events of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons to better understand the causes of moored MODU failures and learn from them. This knowledge has resulted in changes to the industry standards. API RP 2SK 3rd Edition establishes a minimum acceptable design code for mooring systems. RP 2SK requires a mobile mooring, like that on a MODU, be designed to a 5-year return period ...

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