2016January/February

Perspectives: Dennis Moore, Marathon Oil, hopes GOM MPD project will demonstrate technology’s potential in deepwater applications

By Alex Endress, Editorial Coordinator

Dennis Moore, Senior Technical Consultant, Worldwide Drilling and Completions, for Marathon Oil, advises recent grads and students interested in oil and gas to gain as much experience in the field as possible through the current downturn. “Be ready to do whatever needs doing,” he said, because a wide background can help workers become more attractive prospects for future jobs. “They are harder to find, but the jobs still exist. You may not always get to do exactly what you want to, but you do whatever job is available. In the end, it makes you better at what you wind up doing.”
Dennis Moore, Senior Technical Consultant, Worldwide Drilling and Completions, for Marathon Oil, advises recent grads and students interested in oil and gas to gain as much experience in the field as possible through the current downturn. “Be ready to do whatever needs doing,” he said, because a wide background can help workers become more attractive prospects for future jobs. “They are harder to find, but the jobs still exist. You may not always get to do exactly what you want to, but you do whatever job is available. In the end, it makes you better at what you wind up doing.”

In the upstream oil and gas industry, deeper and more challenging wells require that engineers seek ways to drill these wells more safely and efficiently. In 2015, Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips collaborated to drill the first deepwater well in the GOM using managed pressure drilling (MPD) with a subsea BOP system.

Dennis Moore, Senior Technical Consultant, Worldwide Drilling and Completions, for Marathon Oil, will be presenting results from the project at the 2016 SPE/IADC Managed Pressure Drilling & Underbalanced Operations Conference. The goal of the presentation will be to demonstrate how companies can plan large projects utilizing technology like MPD on their own. The paper will also deal with how companies can execute large-scale projects with new technology during downturns.

From biology to engineering

Mr Moore began his career during the depressed market of the early to mid-1970s and found his first job as a well service hand with Rocker A Well Service. He took the job during summer break while studying biology at Texas Tech, simply to make some extra cash. “When the fall came around, I was having way too much fun, so I stayed to work on the service rig for a few more months,” he said.

After six months, he decided not to continue with biology and instead went offshore as a roughneck for Nicklos Drilling Company. He spent two years in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), then enrolled at Texas A&M University to study petroleum engineering. He recalls being enamored by the way individuals could find success in the oil and gas field simply based on hard work. “There continue to be a wide range of opportunities in the oil industry,” Mr Moore said.

In the decades since, he has served in a variety of roles, including as VP of Special Operations & International Business with Signa Engineering and as VP of International MPD with New Tech Engineering. Since 2013, he has been helping Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips with their deepwater MPD efforts in the GOM.

After drilling two conventional wells with the shared drillship without MPD, the two operators completed the first deepwater well with MPD utilized with a subsea BOP system. The 35,000-ft TD well was drilled last year in 6,800 ft of water.

Mr Moore hopes that these results will encourage more operators to consider MPD in deepwater applications.

“As the industry drills more wells with this technology – demonstrating that a well can be safely drilled with a mud weight that is less than pore pressure and still maintain wellbore pressure at or above pore pressure so there aren’t as many kicks – it should allow for drilling narrow windows that historically the industry hasn’t been able to do very well.”

With the industry increasingly recognizing the significant potential of MPD technologies, IADC decided to add a chapter on MPD to the newest edition of the IADC Drilling Manual, released in 2015. Mr Moore, who contributed to this chapter, believes it offers valuable information that the industry can put to use to realize higher efficiency and reduced costs.

“Managed pressure drilling has been around in various forms for some time now, but as we go on to more challenging areas, then it becomes more important to have some tool like this available,” he said.  DC

Click here to register for the 2016 SPE/IADC Managed Pressure Drilling & Underbalanced Operations Conference, to be held 12-13 April in Galveston, Texas.

Click here to purchase a copy of the 12th edition of the IADC Drilling Manual.

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