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  • Shell's deepwater program: A broad-based technology commitment


    Robert E. Snyder, Editor

    Shell Exploration & Production Co. (SEPCo) is pursuing several technology developments in a coordinated effort to both reduce the extremely high costs of finding and developing oil and gas reserves in deep water, and optimize the development of completed wells and reservoirs in all water depths. Development costs are high in deep water, as judged by reports of wells costing $50 million, or more, to drill. Rewards are also high, as sustained per-well production rates of 20,000 – 30,000 bopd are also reported. Cutting drilling costs as operators move into ever deeper waters is a major challenge, which is approachable by redesigning well completions so that smaller, semisubmersible rigs can be used at significantly reduced dayrates. This is being done by reducing the size / number of downhole tubulars needed to end up with the same size final string for optimum production. Other innovations such as dual-gradient drilling, pre-installed mooring and surface-located BOPs can make smaller rigs feasible.

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