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Statoil Signs LoI for AGR’s EC-Drill Managed Pressure Drilling System

Offshore technology provider AGR Enhanced Drilling, via its subsidiary Ocean Riser Systems, has entered into a NOK120m (USD20m) Letter of Intent (LOI) together with Statoil to deliver the next-generation EC-Drill® Managed Pressure Drilling system.

This latest contract will replace a purchase order made last year, when Statoil joined with Norway-based Enhanced Drilling to further develop its EC-Drill® Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) solution for floating rigs. The initial phase of the project was worth US$5.1m.

The next-generation EC-Drill® system incorporates state-of-the-art control system capability, enhanced riser integration and multiple other features. Testing of the system is due to commence in the autumn and it will eventually be used on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

EC-Drill® is a step-change MPD solution, solving a challenge commonly encountered in deep-water wells: drilling within a Narrow Pressure Window. EC-Drill® manipulates bottom-hole pressure by changing the level of drilling mud in the riser, enabling the operator to ‘walk the line’ between pore and fracture pressures. It provides a far greater degree of control than conventional drilling while enhancing safety, plus it is possible to cost-effectively hit deep targets that are simply impractical to reach with more traditional drilling techniques.

David Hine, Executive Vice President at Enhanced Drilling, said from the company’s head office in Straume: “This further commitment by Statoil is another significant endorsement of EC-Drill® as a game-changing technology and the benefits that it brings. This next-generation system is a further step in taking Enhanced Drilling towards the forefront of the MPD market.”

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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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