Managing Marine Geohazard Risks Throughout the Business Cycle

Fig. 1—Example components involved in the management of geohazards across a full license life cycle. Note the many potential drilling stages (green triangles) across the life cycle that will need geohazards support.

Today, the industry is faced with entry into frontier areas with little prior published understanding and potentially complex slope and deepwater settings. In such settings, early effort in the exploration-and-production cycle is required to allow appropriate data to be gathered and assessed. In order to address these issues, BP has adopted a methodology to manage geohazard risks over the life of the license.


In 1964, the rig C.P. Baker was lost in the Gulf of Mexico in a shallow-gas blowout with the loss of 22 lives. That accident, and similar events in the industry around the same time, triggered the development of geophysical site investigation or geohazard methodologies to support safety in tophole drilling and field development through detailed assessment of seabed and near-surface geology. To this end, the Hazards Survey in North America and the Site Survey in Europe became the staple means for evaluating predrill or predevelopment conditions over the following 30 years.

The technologies used in these surveys have continued to be developed. These approaches have generally served the industry well for 50 years. However, as the industry has progressed from operations generally on the continental shelf out onto the continental slope and into ultradeep water, the geohazard issues that need to be addressed by the industry have grown in variety and complexity.

While the scope of possible sources of geohazards has expanded, so has the potential size of license areas to be studied.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 173139, “Managing Marine Geohazard Risks Over the Full Business Cycle,” by Andrew W. Hill and Gareth A. Wood, BP America, prepared for the 2015 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, London, 17–19 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Managing Marine Geohazard Risks Throughout the Business Cycle

01 August 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 8


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