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Rowan details challenges of entering Angolan offshore market

Mike Dubose, RowanRowan’s biggest challenge to entering the offshore Angolan market was securing entry permits and work visas for personnel, said Mike DuBose, Rowan VP operations.

The challenges facing a new entrant to the offshore drilling market in West Africa were explained at the IADC Drilling Africa Conference & Exhibition by Mike DuBose, vice president of operations for Rowan Drilling Company.

Rowan’s vision included expanding its presence in the Middle East and North Sea and entering additional global markets to invest in long-term growth at higher rates of return. Mr DuBose’s presentation at the Lisbon conference focused on the company's entry into the market offshore Angola and its first rig there, the Rowan Gorilla VII.

He said Rowan’s biggest challenge entering the area was securing entry permits and work visas for its personnel, a process complicated by conflicting information the company received from various sources. The company finally secured a visa agency in Houston who was able to secure solid information and communicated visa requirements in an easily understandable format for each nationality involved. The visa process took over 1,500 manhours to obtain 70 work permits.

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Greater Plutonio Project delivering world-class wells in deepwater Angola

Transocean's Sedco ExpressTransocean’s Sedco Express underwent major upgrades before beginning work on BP’s Greater Plutonio project offshore Angola.

BP’s Greater Plutonio Drilling and Completions project offshore Angola is a success story demonstrating the type of performance that can be delivered by an innovative team using new and optimized technology.

Charlie Gilbertson, wells team leader for the Greater Plutonio Development Project for BP, detailed its bottom-line results: Since Transocean’s Sedco Express rig was delivered from Brazil following a major upgrade, it has worked for three years and over 2.5 million manhours without a lost-time incident.  During that time, the rig has drilled and completed 25 wells.

In describing these achievements at the IADC Drilling Africa Conference and Exhibition in Lisbon, Mr Gilbertson identified the five key drivers for the project’s success: a focus on HSSE; involvement with people – both offshore and onshore; detailed planning; emphasis on continuous improvement; and the capabilities of the rig itself.

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IADC RigPass acknowledged by SafeGulf

Guest contributor: John Auth, Diamond Offshore

In 2001, HSE personnel from BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell gathered to develop minimum safety awareness training requirements for all employees working offshore. This includes operator, contractor and third-party personnel.

The result was the formation of the Contractor Operator Steering Team (COST). The initial effort resulted in a requirement for a training program that, while effective, did not recognize training efforts already in place in the industry, such as IADC’s RigPass. IADC sought and gained a position on COST to better clarify the extent to which RigPass meets or exceeds the minimum requirements to the rest of the team.

The COST group eventually become SafeGulf and is now an integral part of the core HSE values of those four major operators, as well as a number of independents. There have been many obstacles to overcome, not the least of which were Hurricanes Katrina and Rita appearing in the middle of the kick-off date for SafeGulf implementation. Along the way, operators and the seven other industry members of the SafeGulf Advisory Group have developed a healthy respect for one another’s HSE efforts.

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MMS: 52 production platforms, 3 jackups, 1 platform drilling rig destroyed by Ike

The US Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates that on 13-14 September 2008, approximately 1,450 oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were exposed to hurricane conditions, or winds greater than 74 mph. As of August 2008, there were more than 3,800 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico ranging in size from single well caissons in water depths of 10 ft to a large complex facility in water depths greater than 7,000 ft.

Offshore infrastructure destroyed: As of 23 September 2008, it has been reported that 52 of the 3,800 offshore oil and gas production platforms, three jackup drilling rigs and one platform drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico were destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Initial estimates are that the 52 destroyed production platforms produced a total of 13,300 bbl of oil per day and 90 million cu ft of gas per day.  It is still unknown whether any of the destroyed platforms will be rebuilt.

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Noble to construct ultra-deepwater drillship

 The Noble Leo Segerius is one of three drillships Noble currently has, all operating offshore Brazil. The company is now building a new ultra-deepwater drillship that will be capable of operating in water depths up to 10,000 ft.

Noble Corp’s subsidiary Noble Drilling Holding has signed contracts for the construction of a new, dynamically positioned, ultra-deepwater, harsh environment Globetrotter-class drillship with South Korea’s STX Heavy Industries and Dutch-based design and construction firm Huisman Equipment B.V.

The drillship will be built on a fixed-price basis in two phases. Following construction of the hull and installation of the propulsion system by STX at their new state-of-the-art facility in Dalian, China, the to-be-named drillship will sail under its own power to the Netherlands, where Huisman will complete the installation and commissioning of the topside equipment.

The delivered cost of the drillship, excluding capitalized interest, is estimated to be $585 million, with delivery scheduled for the second half of 2011. Additionally, Noble has secured priced options for three additional Globetrotter drillships exercisable by Noble over the next 90, 120 and 180 days, respectively, from the date of contract execution.

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Chevron achieves full production from Tengiz expansion projects

Chevron’s affiliate Tengizchevroil has completed a major expansion at the Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan that will nearly double production capacity at one of the world’s largest oil fields.

The completion of the expansion brings Tengizchevroil’s daily crude production capacity to 540,000 bbl. The first phase of expansion, accomplished earlier this year, increased daily capacity from approximately 310,000 bbl to 400,000 bbl.

“This accomplishment demonstrates how Chevron is leading the industry in the selection and execution of major capital projects while providing increased value for our host countries and partners,” said George Kirkland, executive vice president, Chevron Global Upstream and Gas. “As world energy demand continues to grow, the multibillion dollar expansion of the Tengiz field brings much-needed new oil to market.”

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Petrobras oil production in Brazil sets monthly record

The average daily oil production of Petrobras’ fields in Brazil was 1,885,196 bbl/day in August, a 4.3% increase over a year ago and 1% more than the previous month. This result also set a new monthly production record, 18,000 bbl/day more than the previous record, set in June 2008, when 1,867,336 bbl/day were produced.

Petrobras’ total average production (oil and natural gas in Brazil and abroad) topped out at 2,442,444 bbl of oil equivalent per day in August, 5.3% more than in the same month of 2007, and 0.9% higher than last July.

Natural gas production in domestic fields reached 52.734 million cu m per day, 22.5% more than the volume extracted a year ago, and 0.9% more than in July 2008.

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Service companies announce new valve, shale team at SPE annual meeting

 At two separate press conferences held during the SPE Annual Technical Conference in Denver, Colo., on 23 September, service companies announced the availability of a new internal control valve for deepwater environments, as well as the formation of a global shale technology team.

WellDynamics introduced its HS interval control valve (HS-ICV), which is debris-tolerant and designed for high-pressure, deepwater environments characterized as severe operating conditions. It enables deployment of SmartWell systems in more extreme environments.

The flow trim ensures complete metal-to-metal seal integrity when exposed to heavy wellbore debris. A one-piece valve mandrel design eliminates the potential for wellbore debris to be trapped inside the tool and consequently prevent valve movement. The metal-to-metal flank seal also enables the valve to unload at a maximum differential pressure of 5,000 psi and has been tested for seal integrity at both low and high pressure differentials of up to 10,000 psi.

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Oxy buys Permian Basin, Piceance Basin acreage

Occidental Petroleum has announced the signing of a definitive purchase and sale agreement with Plains Exploration & Production (PXP) to purchase all of PXP’s interests in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico and Piceance Basin of Colorado for $1.25 billion.

Current production from the properties being acquired is approximately 4,300 bbl of liquids and 52 million cu ft of gas per day, for a total of 13,000 bbl of oil equivalent per day. The properties have approximately 92 million bbl of oil equivalent of proved reserves, of which approximately 69% are natural gas and 45% are developed.

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MMS updates Ike damage assessment

The US Minerals Management Service (MMS) reported that, as of 17 September 2008, 49 of the 3,800 offshore oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have been destroyed by Hurricane Ike. MMS said it currently has no information on whether any of the destroyed platforms will be rebuilt by any operator. Oil and gas operators are also reporting damage to offshore infrastructure other than destruction.  These reports are being analyzed by MMS and damage statistics will be released next week.

Initial estimates are that the 49 destroyed production platforms produced a total of 13,000 bbl of oil per day and 84 million cu ft of gas per day.

Additional damage reported included three jackup and one platform drilling rigs destroyed and one jackup drilling rig with extensive damage.

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