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.”
TOTAL E&P Australia (Total) has signed up to use AGR’s Riserless Mud Recovery (RMR®) system. The contract is for two exploration wells to be drilled over the next year in the Browse Basin off North West Australia.
Bernt Eikemo, AGR’s Vice President of the Enhanced Drilling Solutions (EDS) division (Asia Pacific), said: “AGR is delighted to be part of Total’s drilling team during the forthcoming exploration campaign. We hope that this is the start of a long, successful relationship with Total E&P Australia.”
He added: “Our previous experiences with several operators in the Browse Basin and the North West Shelf have shown that unconsolidated sand formations become much more benign when drilled with RMR® using a proper mud system.”
RMR® has been used by Total on several other projects internationally but this is the first time that the operator has used the system in Australia.
The main reason for using RMR® on these wells is to be able to drill through the unconsolidated sands of the Grebe Formation. It is renowned for stuck-pipe problems when drilling riserless using seawater and sweeps.
RMR® (system example attached) enables the use of weighted, engineered mud in the top-hole section. All mud and cuttings are returned to the rig with no discharge to the seabed. The top-hole section can be drilled more safely, quickly and with less impact on the environment.
RMR®, together with its sister technology the Cutting Transportation System (CTS™), has been deployed on more than 500 wells worldwide to date.