October 2002 ///

Special Focus

An effective approach to keeping the hole clean in high-angle wells

Drilling a high-angle well is almost always accompanied by hole-cleaning issues. Traditional approaches such as high-viscosity sweeps, high rotary speeds, fast pump rates, frequent short trips and lubricants may buy time if the well reaches total depth (TD) quickly enough. However, in long, openhole intervals, hole cleaning should be effective, or the operator may face sidetracking the well.

Casing drilling proves successful in South Texas

Conoco has used Tesco’s Casing Drilling* system to drill 17 development wells in Lobo field of South Texas since mid-2001. The intermediate and production sections of Lobo wells often require time for hole conditioning, lost circulation, gas influxes, stuck pipe and running casing. The system has significantly reduced these downhole problems by casing the well as it is drilled. This is accomplished by using casing as the drill pipe. Once the casing point is reached, the casing is cemented in place without tripping pipe, unless the production casing is partially tripped for openhole logs. Negligible time has been required for hole conditioning and lost circulation. Gas influx has been less of a problem while drilling with casing than when drilling conventionally. Performance on the first 10 casing drilled wells shows that the technology provides time savings of 8% to 33%.

First use of extended-range EM MWD in offshore, underbalanced drilling

The use of EM MWD in offshore applications has been limited, primarily due to the difficulty of seabed deployment of the receiving antenna. In certain underbalanced drilling (UBD) operations, however, EM is the MWD system of choice because mud-pulse telemetry has great difficulty operating in the two-phase flow conditions sometimes used. Repsol-YPF-Maxus successfully used UBD on Krisna Well D12 in offshore Indonesia to prevent massive lost circulation and stuck pipe in the reservoir. Although the vertical depth of the well was relatively shallow (about 4,200 ft subsea), the very low resistivity of the formations above the reservoir precluded use of standard EM MWD services. The extended-range EM MWD system was used to extend the depth capability. This article discusses the planning, results, problems and lessons learned during the first use of the Extended-Range Electromagnetic (EM) MWD system for UBD in an offshore well.


Analysis of the increasing U.S. dependence on imported oil

The United States now harbors 5% of the world’s population, but consumes 26% of the world’s petroleum. The reasons why it consumes so much are straightforward. First, petroleum products are less expensive in the U.S. than elsewhere. Second, U.S. per-capita income is the highest in the world – about five times the world average. With current technology, a wealthy nation requires a great deal of petroleum for manufacturing, for producing electricity and, particularly, for transportation. Since 1975, the U.S. has consumed far more petroleum than it produced. The gap between domestic consumption and production must, of course, be filled by imports. Crude oil accounts for about 80% of all imported petroleum. The remaining 20% comprises distillate fuel oil, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gases, gasoline and gasoline blending compounds, residual fuel oil and other products.

Applying unified fracture design to natural gas wells

This approach to designing hydraulic fracture treatments optimizes fracture dimensions to maximize productivity index

Comparative study of two sulfate scale control methods

Effects of calcium, magnesium and iron additions were studied to evaluate methods of controlling sulfate scale in seawater injection for EOR

Exploration strategies in the 21st Century - the end of elephant hunting?

Companies need to know what exploration strategies they are employing in their portfolios, and what the risks and rewards are for a particular strategy

Special Report

Deepwater Technology


Companies in the news

Veritas DGC Inc. has acquired the geophysical software and services business of Hampson-Russell Software Services Ltd. The transaction closed on August 21, 2002. With corporate headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Hampson-Russell provides software tools and consulting services for complex seismic data interpretation and reservoir analysis. "The latest Hampson-Russell products include interpretation tools for multi-component and 4-D seismic data."

New equipment

The LO-CO Series is a turbine flowmeter for liquid service. It is an economical solution for many industrial applications. It is available in nine overlapping sizes from 1/4 in. to 2 in. Its performance specs provide ±1% accuracy, and it can be configured in a 4-to-20-mA output, conditioned pulse output or with indicator / totalizer packages. The LO-CO series is available in an explosion-proof configuration and is CE compliant.

New literature

LAMOT has a brochure available on its rupture disc overpressure relief products. The discs help protect vessels, equipment and systems from damaging overpressure conditions. The firm’s full line of rupture disc assemblies provide overpressure protection and performance and help extend the life of safety relief valves by isolating them from media corrosives while assisting in reducing fugitive emissions.

People in industry

David A. Gray joined Torch Offshore as general manager of its deepwater operations and deepwater management support. Charlie Moncla of Moncla Well Services Inc. was installed as president of the Association of Energy Engineers. Brian M. Ahern was appointed president and CEO of Verano.


Drilling advances

17th World Petroleum Congress. From September 2 – 5, Rio de Janeiro’s huge Riocentro complex was the site of the 17th WPC, last held in Calgary in 2000. The WPC Conference was held in conjunction with Rio Oil & Gas Expo 2002, one of the world’s five largest oil industry exhibitions. This combined venue made for four days of concentrated emphasis on politics and the petroleum industry, from pumping a 20-bopd oil well in northeastern Brazil, to supplying the world with hydrocarbon energy for the next 50 years – without disturbing the environment in the process. English was the official language of WPC, but Portuguese dominated the exhibition.

Editorial Comment

Hypocrite summit. Although we didn’t expected much of consequence to come out of the latest Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, we were surprised at the scathing criticism spewing forth from the online version of the UK’s Sun Newspaper. But there it was – the left-leaning press raising cane because the world’s leading socialists were "living high on the hog."

International Politics

Brazilian E&P unfazed by election worries. Taking center stage in Brazil is the Oct. 6 presidential election between left-leaning Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and President Fernando Cardoso’s anointed successor, Jose Serra. At press time, Lula da Silva had increased his poll lead over Serra, 39% to 19%. Concern over a leftist victory had created enough worry that Finance Minister Pedro Malan felt compelled to spend time in Europe and Asia speaking to investors. He tried to convince them that should Lula da Silva win, Brazil would neither reverse economic liberalization nor default on its debt.

What's new in exploration

The baffle of the bulge. For the past 18,000 years, our planet has been slimming. Now, it’s suddenly starting to bulge in the middle. Researchers are baffled. While there are explanations for slight changes in the Earth’s dimensions, none of them account for a shift this big, this fast. The first satellites showed that Earth is rather pear-shaped, and because it is spinning and made largely of somewhat elastic rock, it is a bit wider around the equator. The difference is slight – Earth’s equator is only about 0.3% greater than its height.

What's new in production

Offshore prospects look good. Energy analysts Douglas-Westwood and data specialists Infield Systems of the UK say the offshore industry should enjoy steady growth over the next five years, and the longer-term prospects are looking even better as the potential for higher oil prices grows. However, the growth is mainly seen to be outside the North Sea, where reserve sizes of new field developments are now "very small." Considering global offshore prospects, Infield notes that there were "a total 2,384 fields under consideration for future development worldwide, which could involve 1,587 fixed platforms, 232 floating production systems, 138,000 km of pipelines and 30,000 km of umbilical cables."

News & Resources

Industry at a glance

World of Oil

Western oil companies’ hopes of entering Saudi Arabia’s upstream gas market appear to have been crushed. In a surprise move that could damage relations with the U.S., Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal took three gas development areas previously awarded to foreign consortia off the table. As was leaked to a New York-based newspaper, Prince Faisal divulged his decision in a letter early last month to ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, leaders of the consortia set to operate the tracts. Talks aimed at signing final contracts for the areas had been bogged down for months over the rate of return that foreign firms would receive. Instead of these premier areas, the Saudis were preparing to offer a scaled-down, "take it or leave it" program of less significant gas tracts. Oil companies said that they do not believe these areas can produce sufficient income to offset investments needed for desalination, power and other projects.