Offshore Drilling and Completion

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And never were truer words spoken regarding the oil field and new frontiers. Indeed, as the industry significantly increases the number of work fronts in both the established and the new deepwater frontiers, ever-more-innovative approaches are being developed to address the challenges faced.

However, innovation in isolation is not sufficient. As we push the envelope of application, it is a necessity that the equipment and approaches being applied be fit for purpose, robust, and engineered. In support of this, while a model is a useful tool and plays a role as part of a development process, such complex engineering can best be implemented efficiently through obtaining actual performance data, which may then be used as a basis for improvement and expanded qualification.

Data play a key role in two distinct and principal areas of technology development: data that are obtained and used to demonstrate the initial qualification (surface) and in-situ performance (deployed) data that are used to calibrate simulations and models and to allow further efficiencies to be securely achieved.

As a technical advisor in hydraulic fracturing and unconventionals, I fully appreciate the plan/do/measure/learn cycle because this is fundamental to our overall efficiency. However, deepwater drilling and completion operations are quite different from those in unconventionals. With few wells and much higher costs, the statistical multiwell approaches taken onshore with unconventionals simply do not apply to deepwater efforts. While approximately 20,000 unconventional wells are drilled per year in North America, fewer than 200 deepwater wells have been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico to date. This makes each opportunity to gather data in deep water particularly valuable. And the key to maximizing industry efficiency will be to make sure that data gathering is part of our everyday business. Of course, this is best achieved by embedding the opportunities to gather such data within our standard practice. In this way, we improve incrementally.

The following papers provide just a small snapshot of the areas in which incremental improvements are being achieved, allowing the deepwater drilling and completions envelope to be pushed further. It is very likely that such data-driven innovation will continue to be the lifeblood of the business.

This Month's Technical Papers

Testing of Distributed-Temperature Sensing in Flexible Risers and Flowlines

Evaluation of Wellhead Fatigue With Structural-Monitoring Data

Surface-Controlled Formation-Isolation Valves Used for Temporary Well Suspension

Recommended Additional Reading

OTC 24275 Real-Time Drilling-Data Diagnosis Implemented in Deepwater Wells—A Reality by R.A. Gandelman, Petrobras, et al.

OTC 24081 Concept Alternatives and Feasibility Analyses of Deepwater Dual-Gradient Drilling-Riser Systems by Atul Ganpatye, Stress Engineering Services, et al.

SPE 166554 Low Cycle Fatigue Analysis of Threaded Connectors for Subsea Drilling and Production by B. Zhu, GE Oil and Gas, et al.

SPE 166589 Structural Response Monitoring of Huntington HP Drilling and Completion Riser by A. Rimmer, 2H Offshore Engineering, et al.

Martin Rylance, SPE, is senior advisor within the BP Global Wells Organization. He has worked with BP and its partners for more than 28 years. Rylance holds a BS degree in pure mathematics. He has been involved in all aspects of pumping operations, well-control, well intervention, and pressure service. More recently, Rylance has specialized in unconventional-resource development and hydraulic fracturing in tectonic regimes and high-pressure/high-temperature environments. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2006–07 and again in 2013–14 and serves on the JPT Editorial Committee.

Offshore Drilling and Completion

Martin Rylance, SPE, Senior Adviser, BP Global Wells Organization

01 April 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 4