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USA: Aker Solutions to Open Hi-Tech Drilling Equipment Simulator in – Houston

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Norway based, international oil services group Aker Solutions is about to open North America’s most advanced drilling equipment simulator in Houston, Texas. The simulator will be available to rig operators with the objective of making offshore drilling operations safer and more cost effective.

Aker Solutions is investing USD 2.5 million in the new state-of-the-art drilling equipment simulator, which will be available 24/7 for North American based rig operators and oil companies. It will double the capacity of the current training centre located in Katy near Houston. The new drilling simulator is expected to be officially opened early 2012.

“This will be the most advanced drilling simulator in North America and we will double our training capacity when it is ready for use. It will have dedicated staff who can provide round-the-clock service on Aker Solutions’ complete range of topside drilling equipment. We look forward to start working with our customers in this new and upgraded centre,” says Glenn Ellis, head of drilling technologies for Aker Solutions in the US.

Aker Solutions is one of the world’s top providers of drilling equipment packages and technologies for deepwater drilling operations. Using advanced 3D visualisation technology, the company has developed the market leading drilling simulators, which are already in operation in Brazil, Singapore, Norway and South Korea, in addition to Houston. A new simulator is also being prepared in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The centrepiece of the 9,800 square foot training centre is a new 240 degree domed simulator. Its dome-shaped screen, combined with utilization of actual drilling control systems software, creates a realistic environment that emulates what is experienced on a rig. Each specific rig is meticulously recreated as a virtual asset, including all rig equipment and control systems. This offers the possibility of onshore training and detailed operational planning, with the same signal treatment, in virtual environments that are identical to those that will be experienced offshore.

The training centre’s extensive server systems are made up of 88 individual servers, which provide enough capacity to run simulations on two drilling rigs simulator systems simultaneously. A manual switchover solution allows quick change of the rig configuration in the simulator to ensure maximum simulator utilisation.

“A realistic, real-time visualisation of drilling operations enables rig operators to learn to make better and faster decisions. The result is safer operations, more efficient drilling and increased rig uptime. This simulator technology certainly allows us to offer superior training facilities for our clients and our own employees,” adds Glenn Ellis.

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Milestone Achievement for AGR’s Drilling Technology in Chirag Field, Azerbaijan

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Oil & Gas industry solutions provider AGR is celebrating a milestone achievement for its drilling technology.  Its Riserless Mud Recovery system (RMR™) and Cutting Transportation System (CTS™) have now been deployed on more than 500 wells.

This achievement is not only an indication of AGR’s experience but also of the continued need from the industry for the technology devised by the Norwegian firm’s Enhanced Drilling Solutions division.

David Hine, EVP Enhanced Drilling Solutions, said: “This achievement is a reflection of the ground-breaking technologies that we pride ourselves at AGR and confirms their continued popularity with operators the world over. It also demonstrates the hard work, dedication and ingenuity of the people who work here.

“AGR will continue to further its reputation for step-change technological solutions into 2012 with our EC-Drill™ managed pressure drilling system. This will be deployed for the first time early next year.”

Well number 500 was on the Caspian Sea’s Chirag Oil Project field, located 120 km (75 mi) east of Baku, Azerbaijan and a part of the larger Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) project. It was drilled using RMR™ in order to solve the challenge of the area’s weak clay formation. The client was BP, which was the first user of RMR™, again in the Caspian, in 2003.

RMR has been an industry changer since it was introduced. It allows engineered mud to be used in the top-hole section of a well, enabling a much more stable foundation for successful drilling, with all mud and cuttings being returned to the rig.

The top-hole section can be drilled more safely, quickly and with far less impact on the environment, says AGR on its website.

CTS enables operators to take cuttings, cement, mud, clay and other deposits away from the well area, keeping templates debris free. Because of this, it has had a major impact on the validity of drilling operations in areas that have been deemed is being particularly environmentally sensitive. The system was first used by Statoil on the Gullfaks field in 1998.

EC-Drill™ solves the challenge of the narrow-pressure window in deep-water well drilling, where too much bottom hole pressure (BHP) can cause the formation to fracture; too little may cause an influx. EC-Drill offers greater control of the BHP as it is not regulated by mud-weight but the level of fluid in the riser.

Not only is there the potential to reduce the number of casings, saving time and money, but safety is also enhanced thanks to improved kick/loss detection, improved hole stability and the possibility of drilling with riser margin.

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