Neodrill targets drift-off, reducing idle offshore rig time by several days


STAVANGER – Neodrill has launched its new Wellhead Saver System, to directly address the industry challenge of drift-off during offshore drilling. It is estimated that the new solution will deliver savings in the order of 6 to 12 rig days on a typical well. Enhanced health and safety benefits are also a key part of the technology.

When deepwater rigs are used under shallow water conditions, the forces and bending moments from the BOP and riser are placed on the wellhead. The new WSS adapts the established CAN well foundation to redirect the bending forces away from the wellhead directly into the well foundation. By protecting the wellhead, conductor and casing from over-bending and over-stressing, it is possible to increase the drift-off distance before disconnect occurs. This allows the rig to stay on location and remain connected to the well in more severe weather conditions, saving idle rig time costs.

Compared to the traditional approach of tethering the BOP and wellhead system down, the WSS is connected to both the wellhead and the CAN, which allows it to act as a wellhead saver sub. This process enables drilling operations to take place without loading the original wellhead. It also facilitates installation of the production tree on a virgin wellhead. Compared to the BOP tethering system, a unique aspect is that it avoids long steel and fiber wires that may require re-tensioning during operations.

It is anticipated that the WSS will deliver cost savings and HSE benefits. The use of the CAN technology, as well as the reduced weight of the system in comparison to the BOP tethering system, also reduces the CO₂ footprint.

Neodrill’s CEO Jostein Aleksandersen said: “With the increased use of deepwater drilling rigs in shallow water operations, the underlying threat of ‘drift-off’ will increase substantially. Our Wellhead Saver System has been designed to overcome the challenges typically associated with the use of heavy BOPs on deepwater rigs in shallow water.

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