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Next year should bring our first deepwater well drilled with dual-gradient, mud-lift technology. The new Pacific Santa Ana drillship should soon be fitted with the equipment to allow us to pump mud and drilled cuttings up from the seabed, reducing the hydrostatic pressure on drilled formations, and allowing us to complete deepwater wells with far fewer casing strings. Development of the Enhanced Single-Trip Multi-zone frac-pack system has the potential to substantially reduce completion costs, especially in the Gulf of Mexico’s extensive Lower Tertiary play.
Our technology alliances with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA continue to yield exciting solutions. Inficomm is a wireless data transmission system that allows real-time pressure and temperature data to be gathered from the bottom of a well without the usual electrical lines or batteries. Sensors for additional physical and chemical properties are in the works. TruDepth gives real-time data on the liquid level in a well, so pumps are never damaged by running dry. Also, keeping a minimal liquid column in the well has reduced backpressure on the reservoir and increased production rates. Safire is a new two-phase flowmeter being commercialized through GE that can be strapped onto any pipe for accurate, real-time oil-cut/water-cut information, even in the presence of gas. These technologies are just the tip of the iceberg, with many more out-of-the box solutions in the works.
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