Integrated Simulation Increases Efficiency of Deepwater Risk Management

Topics: Risk management/decision-making
Source: Getty Images.

As deepwater drilling moved into the dynamic-positioning (DP) era, many drilling contractors and operators lacked an evidence-based approach for identification of potential process-safety and well-control failure points. In an effort to better understand well issues, operational-procedure adequacy, well-control intervention practices, and human factors, a global offshore drilling contractor created a program of fully integrated deepwater-DP-drilling simulation exercises to scrutinize all critical aspects of deepwater well-control operations. The result is a proactive, behavior-based risk-management process.

A Sea Change in Drilling

Beginning in the early 2000s, offshore drilling experienced significant growth in demand. This increased demand, driven by rising commodity prices and the macro­economic phenomenon of rapid economic development in China and India, combined with enhanced technological developments enabling drilling in deeper water, led the industry into a new era.

With the move to deeper water and enhanced DP operations, the industry faced unprecedented demand for drilling units and, therefore, new personnel. In the early 2000s, more than 150 new deepwater mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) were under construction, creating a need for tens of thousands of new crew members. A sector that had historically hired frontline workers and grown them into drillers and managers over a period of years suddenly needed to hire thousands of new employees each year with virtually no time for them to learn on the job. In addition, both old and new crews were dealing with new technology, resulting in daunting training challenges. Many of the new crew members were going directly to the latest and most-complex rigs being built.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 180351, “Deepwater Well Control: Integrated Simulation for Risk Management,” by Fritz Golding, Noble; John Spath, Talos Energy; and Bob Newhouse, Newhouse Consultants, prepared for the 2016 SPE Deepwater Drilling and Completions Conference, Galveston, Texas, USA, 14–15 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Integrated Simulation Increases Efficiency of Deepwater Risk Management

01 August 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 8