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Life Cycle Assessment quantifies technology’s reduced environmental impact

Neodrill has shared the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report for its work on Repsol’s Kathryn well. The report was carried out by Asplan Viak.

The LCA study compared the environmental impact of a well drilled using the CAN-ductor technology, to that of a conventionally drilled well. The report analyzed all aspects of top hole activity, including drilling and supply vessels, energy, and casing materials as well as the production, installation, removal and maintenance operations of the CAN-ductor unit.

The reference well used for the report was Repsol’s Kathryn well. Located in the Norwegian North Sea, the well is about 140 km from the onshore mobilization port in roughly 100 m water depth. Characterized as having sandy seabed conditions, the Kathryn well was the first installation of the CAN technology in sand-based conditions. Sand-based seabeds pose bigger installation challenges than clay seabeds. To overcome the challenges posed by the sand, the Neodrill team reengineered the installation process by adding a water injection system to the CAN to overcome the tip friction of the internals of the structure.

The report compared the processes for both the CAN and conventional drilling methods across eight environmental impact categories, including CO2 emissions. It was found that reduced rig time and the decreased volume of materials required by the CAN technology, such as cement and steel in well casings, were the main reasons for its strong environmental credentials. In total, the rig time was reduced from seven days on a conventionally drilled well to four days using the CAN technology. Cement savings were reduced from 241 cu m with the conventionally drilled well, to only 53 cu m using the CAN-ductor technology. 

The key environmental impact results are as follows:

Impact Category Unit Conventional well CAN-ductor Reduced impact of CAN-ductor
Climate change t CO2 eq 1379 947 31%
Human toxicity t 1,4-DCB eq 270 226 16%
Particulate matter formation t PM10 eq 6.6 4.7 28%
Terrestrial acidification t SO2 eq 12 8.8 24%
Freshwater Eutropication t P eq 0.21 0.18 13%
Marnie Eutrophicaton t N eq 0.72 0.53 26%
NOx t NOx 17 12 27%
Sox t Sox 2.0 1,8 9.1%


“Making positive changes in the industry is part of our core values. Through all of our innovations, we ensure that delivering on this is built into our products from the outset,” Jostein Aleksandersen, Neodrill’s Chief Executive Officer, said.

“The Kathryn well was our first application of the technology in sand based seabed conditions,” Mr Aleksandersen added. “As a team of problem-solvers, we successfully reengineered the CAN installation mechanism and are proud to be offering this new solution to operators experiencing sandy conditions.”

“Technology is a mainstay of Repsol, and we are always looking for innovative solutions to increase the sustainability and efficiency of our assets,” Harald Blikra, Repsol Norge’s Well Construction Manager, said. “Repsol’s goal was to drill a fast, cost-efficient and low-risk exploration well. The challenges on the Kathryn location was firm sand on the sea bottom from the first meter. Together with Neodrill, we modified the system to ensure that we successfully could install the CAN system in sand formation for the first time. In addition, we achieved a reduced environmental impact on the operation as such and this was a bonus for the whole team.”

This is the second LCA performed on the CAN-ductor technology by Asplan Viak. This first report examined the use of the technology on Siccar Point’s Cambo well in the UK Continental Shelf. This report found that the CAN-ductor reduced environmental impact by up to 44% on top hole activity. Both reports prove the CAN technology consistently reduces CO2 emissions for top hole activity. The reduction in CO2 for the Cambo Well was 32% and the Kathryn well was 31%.

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