D&C Tech Digest

Commissioning of BP’s record-setting Atlantis platform completed

BP announced it has completed commissioning of the Atlantis semi-submersible platform in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and commenced the export of oil and gas from the deepest moored floating oil and gas production facility in the world.

The water depths and reservoir structure make Atlantis among the most technologically challenging developments undertaken by BP,” said Andy Inglis, BP’s chief executive of exploration and production. “Start-up is an important milestone as we grow production from our strong upstream portfolio in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere in the world.”

Production began with the commissioning of wells and facilities in October 2007. With gas facilities and export pipelines now fully commissioned, gas sales have started, and oil volumes are increasing. Additional wells will continue to be brought on stream, and the facility is expected to reach plateau production by the end of 2008.

BP began production operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico in 1995. Since then, the company has participated in a series of major projects, investing more than $14 billion.

The investment we are making to deliver world-class projects like Atlantis in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico is making a major contribution to US energy supply and US energy security,” said Bob Malone, chairman and president of BP America.

Hughes Christensen bit sets record in Saudi Arabia field

A Hughes Christensen 28-in. GTX large-diameter Tricone bit set a Saudi Arabia field record. The o-ring sealed bit drilled the longest section in the field of 2,125 ft (648 m) with the fastest ROP of 37.6 ft/hr. This was 41% more footage and 31% faster than the closest competitor offset.

The team met the operator’s objective to drill vertically through the Khafji formation from casing to casing with the fastest ROP to TD. Comparing the averages of two GTX bit runs in this field to the competitor’s top two average offsets, the Hughes Christensen ROP was 21% faster.

Petrobras sets daily oil production record

After six new offshore production structures went online in 2007, Petrobras set a daily oil production record in Brazil on 25 December 2007 of 2,000,238 bbl. The previous record was set on 23 October 2006 with 1,912,000 bbl.

In January, the FPSO Cidade do Rio de Janeiro went online in the Espadarte field in the Campos Basin; it is capable of lifting 100,000 bbl/day. Then the Manati platform, capable of producing up to 6 million cu m/day of gas, went up in the same field. In October, the Piranema platform came online off the Sergipe coast, with the capacity to lift 30,000 bbl/day of light oil. The next month, platform P-52 and FPSO Cidade de Vitória began operations. P-52 is in the Roncador field in the Campos Basin, with the capacity to add 180,000 bbl/day. The Cidade de Vitória, in the Golfinho field, Espirito Santo basin, is capable of lifting 100,000 bbl/day. Platform P-54 kicked production off on 11 December, also in the Roncador field. Top production is expected during the second half of 2008, and it will add 180,000 bbl/day to domestic production.

New oil production systems will go online at an increasingly intense pace in 2008, Petrobras said. Three new oil platforms and one gas platform are scheduled for deployment: the P-51 in the Marlim Sul field in the Campos Basin; the P-53, the FPSO Cidade Niterói in Marlim Leste; and the FPSO Cidade de São Mateus in the Espírito Santo Basin.

M-I Swaco fluid technology used in 1st deepwater application offshore Malaysia

In its first deepwater application offshore Malaysia, M-I Swaco’s Warp Fluid Technology was employed successfully with 150-micron screens, the smallest ever used for the uniquely weighted fluid system.

In what was also its first application in the Asia Pacific region, the technology was used in conjunction with a VERSAPRO reservoir drill-in fluid on two completions in 4,285 ft (1,306 m) of water.

The fluid technology uses specially treated barite or other weighting agents that are ground to 1/50 of their original size. It has been shown to eliminate sag and many other technical and HSE problems encountered with conventionally weighted drilling and completion fluids.

For the Malaysia application, the operator needed a fluid that could accommodate 150-micron screens and achieve optimum production while controlling formation solids. A conventional reservoir drill-in fluid weighted with API-grade barite would plug the screens, while a water-based system would cause emulsification problems with produced hydrocarbons. The two 8 ½-in. sections were drilled to total depth, the hole was in gauge and the 150-micron expandable screens were run and expanded without problems. No indications of formation damage or plugging of the screens downhole were observed. In both wells, the production flowback was as good or better than expected.

Varel drills fastest mile in Sutton County

HighMount E&P has used Varel’s 7 7/8-in. CH35AS to drill the fastest mile in Sutton County, Texas, at 145.8 ft/hr. The bit drilled a 6,800-ft interval to an 8,000-ft TD.

“As our company has grown, we’ve experienced more demand for bits designed specifically for underbalanced drilling applications,” said Dewayne Fuller, Varel’s roller cone product manager.

Varel is a leader in drill bits in blasthole drilling for open pit mining — which is similar to the oilfield underbalanced drilling environment. As in blasthole mining, underbalanced applications produce heavy gage row wear, and, in some cases, this wear can result in insert breakage on drill bits.

To alleviate this wear, the cone offset and journal angles are optimized for maximum rates of penetration while improving gage row wear and breakage resistance. Additionally, Varel’s HET (High Energy Tumbling) of their tungsten carbide inserts enhances insert life and breakage resistance. Using the technology and design techniques developed in blast hole drilling, Varel has created the Jet Air product line for oilfield underbalanced drilling.

The Jet Air series bits are designed for underbalanced applications where air, water mist or foam circulation is used instead of drilling mud. Technology and design techniques specifically match the drill bit to the application. First, the cutting structure is designed to achieve high ROP in underbalanced conditions. Tooth extension, shape and carbide grade are selected for underbalanced environments. Second, the gage and shirttail area are enhanced to resist the extreme wear commonly seen in underbalanced drilling. A variety of shirttail protection packages are available to meet specific customer needs. Additionally, the Jet Air series uses a nail retained, replaceable nozzle instead of the snap ring retained nozzle standard in other Varel products. The nail retention system provides enhanced resistance to sandblasting erosion, which is common in air and water mist drilling.

Enventure sets expandable installation milestone on water injection wells

Enventure Global Technology and Denbury Resources has set an expandable installation milestone: two Solid Expandable Tubular (SET) systems in two wells with one crew in one day.

The operation was performed for two of Denbury’s South Mississippi water injection wells possessing severe water thief zones. The operator chose Enventure’s cased-hole SET technology to cover perforations in a middle zone of each well.

“Previous methods of squeezing, casing patches and even dual packer isolation assemblies rarely worked,” Lance Taylor, Denbury senior operations engineer, explained. “The success of this program saved time and money on costly remedial workovers, increased production and ultimately will result in higher reserves due to improved waterflood sweep efficiency.”

The 4 ¼ x 5 ½-in. SET systems enabled Denbury to conserve internal well diameter, improving distribution in their waterflood. The expandable liners were accurately installed in a tight target area covering water thief zones without closing off other critical perforations.

This is the fourth expandable installation for Denbury, and eight more installations are planned.

Apache Corp drills 1st significant well from survey on Tierra del Fuego

Apache Corp announced that the first significant well drilled from its 700-sq-mile (1,800-sq km), 3D seismic survey in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego is producing 1,635 bbl/day of oil and 1.3 million cu ft/day of gas from the Lower Cretaceous Springhill sandstone.

“Prior to Apache becoming operator of this 714,000-acre block in Tierra del Fuego, very little 3D seismic had been acquired,” said G. Steven Farris, Apache’s president and chief executive officer. “With 40% of the survey shot and newly processed data arriving every day, we have identified more than 30 exploratory, field extension and development locations.”

The new well, the Seccion Banos-2004, had the highest initial production rate of any well drilled in four decades of oil and gas activity on the Tierra del Fuego concession. The SB-2004, which was drilled to 5,544 ft, confirmed the productivity of a sparsely drilled 20-sq-mile (50-sq-km) area between three 40-year-old fields — Canadon Piedras, Cabo Nombre and Bajo Grande. Apache has commenced drilling the first of six potential offsets that have been identified to date.

The Seccion Banos success follows Apache’s development of the previously unexploited discovery at Cabo Nombre Sur, located offshore 4.2 miles (7 km) south of the latest well. Two wells — the CNS-2005 and CNS-2006 — currently are producing a total of 11.5 million cu ft of gas and 53 bbl/day of oil.

Apache is the operator of the TDF concession with a 70% working interest; Repsol YPF owns the remaining interest. Apache is the largest acreage holder on the island of Tierra del Fuego, with almost 2 million gross acres — 714,000 acres on the Argentine side and two recently awarded exploration blocks comprising 1.2 million acres on the Chilean side of the island. Its current net production on the island is 5,226 bbl/day of liquid hydrocarbons and 122 million cu ft/day of gas.

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