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Noble named winner of MMS SAFE Award 2nd year in a row

Noble LogoFor the second consecutive year, Noble Corp has been named the recipient of the MMS 2007 National Safety Award for Excellence (SAFE) for drilling contractors. This is the third time Noble has won the SAFE award since the program’s inception.

MMS established the SAFE Award to recognize companies that excel in their efforts to conduct operations in a safe and pollution-free manner by adhering to all regulations, employing trained and motivated personnel, and going the extra mile to enhance safety and environmental protection. “Noble’s US Gulf of Mexico team has once again achieved truly outstanding results in offshore safety and environmental performance,” said David W Williams, Noble chairman.

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Petrobras awards 6-year contracts to Seadrill newbuild semis

Seadrill has secured an unconditional Letter of Award for contracts with a revenue potential of approximately US $4.1 billion over 18 rig years for three newbuild deepwater units with Petrobras. The West Eminence semisubmersible will be delivered in late 2008, and start-up of operations offshore Brazil is scheduled for Q1 2009. Contract duration is six years. The West Taurus semi is scheduled to be delivered during Q4 2008, and start-up of operations offshore Brazil is scheduled for Q1 2009. Contract duration is six years. The West Orion semi is scheduled to be delivered during Q2 2010, and start-up of operations offshore Brazil is scheduled for Q3 2010. Contract duration is six years.

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Scorpion receives letters of intent for 3 jackups

Scorpion International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scorpion Offshore, has received letters of intent for three jackups. The first is for the Offshore Vigilant, for operations of at least 11 months offshore Venezuela beginning in late October 2008. The rig is under construction at Keppel AmFELS in Brownsville, Texas, and will be delivered in August 2008. The second is for the Offshore Resolute for operations of seven months offshore Vietnam, beginning in late July 2008. The rig is also under construction in Texas and was to be delivered by mid-April 2008. The third is for the Offshore Courageous, for operations for three years in the South China Sea beginning in January 2009. The rig is currently offshore Oman; its contract with RAK Petroleum goes through October 2008.

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Closing reception new to OTC

OTC LogoIADC is Endorsing Organization for the Offshore Technology Conference. This year’s OTC program is larger than ever, and includes a new OTC closing receptiont. The reception will begin at 1630, immediately following the conclusion of Thursday afternoon's technical sessions. The reception is being held at Café on the Park on the second level of Reliant Center. No ticket is required.

The May/June issue of DC, which will be available at the Atlantic Communications booth (# 3801), includes a special OTC edition of D&C Tech Digest, highlighting the OTC New technology Awards.

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KCA DEUTAG director named 2008 IADC Contractor of the Year

The International Association of Drilling Contractors has named Claus Chur, KCA DEUTAG director technical services, as the 2008 IADC Contractor of the Year. The awards ceremony was held at the Petroleum Club of Houston on Wednesday, 19 March 2008.

“I am deeply honored to be selected as the 2008 IADC Contractor of the Year,” Mr Chur said in accepting the award. “I am particularly proud of this award, being only the second European to have received it. And I want to take this opportunity to praise IADC president Dr Lee Hunt for developing IADC into a truly international organization.”

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Petronas conducts industry-first MPD project with high-speed drillstring telemetry

To explore the shallow-gas potential of the Nagar prospect offshore southern Myanmar, operator Petronas faced a number of potentially high-risk issues. The prospect lay in 400 m of water. To overcome these difficulties, the operator conducted a milestone managed pressure drilling operation using wired-drill pipe telemetry.

The project was detailed in “Successful Implementation of First Closed Loop, Multiservice Control System for Automated Pressure Management in a Shallow Gas Well Offshore Myanmar” (IADC/SPE 112651), presented on Thursday, 6 March, at the 2008 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference in Orlando, Fla.

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Industry must invest in people, or impact of incompetence could be severe

After the first two plenary sessions of the Drilling Conference explored issues related to rising costs and technology, Thursday’s session – “Roadmap to the Future: People and Processes” – took up the challenges of people, which continues to be one of the industry’s biggest headaches.

When polled, 92% of the session audience agreed that staffing for future drilling activity is a significant problem. Not only that, but 52% of the audience believed the problem is going to get worse. It seems clear that we know there is a problem; it’s just not clear whether the industry is doing enough to resolve it.

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BG Group's Walter Simpson to be 2009 Drilling Conference chairman

2009 ChairmanJust before Thursday’s plenary session, 2008 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference chairman Rodney Eads (right) of Pride International introduced Walter Simpson of BG Group as chairman of the 2009 conference. Mr Simpson is BG’s general manager operations and well engineering.

Walter Simpson, general manager operations and well engineering for BG Group, will serve as chairman for the 2009 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, announced Pride International’s Rodney Eads, the 2008 conference chairman. Next year’s event will be held at the Rai Congress Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 17-19 March 2009.

The 2007 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, also held in Amsterdam, drew a record 2,113 people, Mr Simpson said, and he hopes to top that number in 2009. Next year’s conference also will offer 30% more exhibit space to allow more companies to showcase and demonstrate their newest technologies and equipment.

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Challenges outlined in directional drilling through salt in deepwater GOM

With the Lower Tertiary trend continuing to gain prominence, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, associated issues related to the difficulty of drilling through salt layers have surfaced as well. During Wednesday morning’s Deepwater I technical session, Rias Israel of Schlumberger discussed challenges faced and lessons learned by two major deepwater GOM operators, BP and Chevron, in directional salt drilling. Schlumberger provided the directional service.

Salt drilling is problematic for many reasons, one being the salt’s ability to move, or “creep,” into newly drilled wellbore. Therefore, thorough well planning will be a key factor in successfully drilling directionally through difficult salt formations, Mr Israel said. Even the zone above the salt will demand caution. The area is typically stressed due to the way the salt has migrated over time. Risks of wellbore stability issues and losses are always present and must be carefully monitored, he said. Several challenges seen in previous GOM experiences, plus possible solutions, were given:

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New IADC committee to work toward guidelines for rig automation

Advanced Rig Tech CommitteeThe IADC Advanced Rig Technology Committee held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday during the 2008 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference. One of the group’s goals is to develop guidelines/best practices for automated drilling systems.

The new IADC Advanced Rig Technology Committee plans to work toward guidelines and best practices for automated drilling systems, as well as examine standard methods of reporting reliability problems with advanced rig equipment. The committee held its inaugural meeting during the 2008 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference in Orlando on 5 March.

Automated drilling systems are increasingly common, though hardly universal, in today’s rig fleet. However, reliability can be problematic, due to human, mechanical and electrical issues.

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