New drilling/intervention concept, other news – Brief Article

Robert E. Snyder

At OTC 2000 in Houston, Halliburton Energy Services announced that initial trials of its revolutionary new technology, the Anaconda Advanced Well Construction System, have been successfully completed. Based on breakthrough advances in composite materials, telemetry and control sciences, HES says this system will have a major impact on exploration, development and production of oil/gas, especially offshore.

Halliburton, along with Norway’s Statoil, developed the first phase of this unique technology to develop inaccessible reserves in Statoil’s mature North Sea fields. In less than 27 months, they produced a complete system, called Anaconda. This digitally controlled system uses a carbon-fiber composite umbilical tubing, called SmartPipe and a downhole Advanced Drilling, Evaluation and Propulsion Tool (ADEPT) assembly. The result is a light, safe well construction technology which requires less space and fewer people to operate than alternatives. Future, large-diameter systems will be able to drill more-complex wellpaths and extended horizontal distances farther than any system ever developed.

With the system, oil companies will have a new capability to find and develop isolated oil/gas pockets. The system is fully enabled with Halliburton’s real-time data transmission technology, so personnel will be able to make instantaneous drilling decisions from anywhere in the world.

The major components of the system are the fully automated surface equipment, the reeled pipe with embedded conductors and the ADEPT BHA. Surface equipment includes a control center, pipe injector and reel, a tower and pipehandling system, BOPs and a digital control and data-acquisition system. In the control center, a three-man team operates the entire system.

The composite pipe, jointly developed by Halliburton and Fiberspar Spoolable Products, is manufactured in a continuous coil using a tough laminate of carbon fiber and other advanced materials. Under most drilling conditions, the pipe is nearly buoyant, a big advantage in extended reach drilling. Also, the reeled pipe eliminates many hazardous pipehandling operations common with jointed drillpipe. The first Anaconda system uses a 2 7/8-in. OD pipe with embedded conductors that relay two-way data between the control center and the subsurface assembly.

The BHA measures borehole and formation parameters. orients the borehole in 3-D space, provides mechanical forces to drill the hole and uses the industry’s first open-system, subsurface propulsion system. With the system–an electronically-sequenced tractor with expandable “packers” to contact the borehole wall–no mechanical force is required from sup face equipment to convey pipe into or out of the well. Instead, the pipe can be propelled by downhole hydraulic forces.

A resistivity tool above the bit with five transmitters gives 16 depths of investigation for formation evaluation/steering A standard mud motor drives standard bits located below a 3-D steering tool.

Research resulted in a vision of three evolving systems, each one progressively building on the technological accomplishments of the last. System 1, which was developed to meet Statoil’s needs in the North Sea, uses 22,000 ft of reeled, 2 7/8-in OD SmartPipe and a 3 1/8-in. OD ADEPT assembly. Development will commence soon on a system which will be capable of constructing larger well diameters and achieving measured depths of up to 50,000 ft.

The system is undergoing extensive testing at the Halliburton R&D Center in Duncan, Oklahoma. Two wells were drilled there in May, and commercial application is expected “this summer.” The first commercial deployment will be in the Gulf of Mexico region. Statoil and Halliburton have agreed that the first few commercial wells will be drilled in the U,S. to prove up all the components before going to Norway, probably in 2001.

U.S. drilling permits moving up. Salomon Smith Barney reports that, in March, adjusted total drilling permits for states in the U.S. reached a total 3,563, the highest number of applications reported in any month in the last five years. The March 2000 figure is a 14.4% jump from February and a 134% increase from March 1999.

Texas paced the increase with 1,312 permits (before adjusting) in March, up from 637 in February. Permits in Texas last September and October numbered over 1,000, nearly three times the May 1999 level. The second-largest state for permits was Wyoming, with 967 in March, a rate it has kept up since December, due to strong coalbed drilling. Before 1999, Wyoming’s permits averaged less than 200 per month; they were much less than 100 in 1995.

Bigger Gorilla. Taking advantage of the improving jackup market and perceptions that activity will continue to pick up, two contractors have placed orders for new jackups. Houston-based Rowan Companies has committed to design and construction of a new jackup rig that it believes will be the “world’s most-capable, bottom-supported offshore drilling unit.” The new design will be an enhanced version of Rowan’s Super Gorilla Class rig and will be designated Super Gorilla XL.

The first rig built to the design will be named Gorilla VIII. It will be built by Rowan subsidiary LeTourneau at Vicksburg, Mississippi, at an estimated cost of $190 million. Delivery is expected in 3rd quarter 2003. The new rig will have 708-ft legs and 30% larger spud cans than a Super Gorilla. This will enable it to work in water depths to 550 ft in GOM environments and to 400 ft in more-demanding locations such as the Canadian Atlantic and North Sea.

Chiles Offshore LLC announced that a wholly owned subsidiary has entered into an agreement with Keppel FELS in Singapore to build a KFELS MOD V B design, cantilevered jackup. Total construction cost is estimated at up to $110 million, including equipment furnished by the owner. The proprietary design modeled on MOD V “harsh-environment” jackups will deliver a unit with leg lengths between 475 and 545 ft.

Bill Chiles, CEO/president says, “Our goal is to augment our position in the ultra-premium, deepwater jackup market niche. We believe, in the next three to five years, the demand for high-productivity jackups will increase.” Chiles recently took delivery of two deepwater jackups, the Chiles Columbus and the Chiles Magellan, which were built at Amfels in Brownsville, Texas, a Keppel subsidiary.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gulf Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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