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Cairn Uses Centek Itsfu in Greenland Offshore Operations


Cairn Energy PLC, the Edinburgh-based oil and gas exploration and production company, has successfully deployed Centek’s Itsfu Auto Fill Sub in drilling operations in its 2011 Greenland Drilling campaign. The Itsfu provides controlled drill string filling in one third of the time of alternative methods and prevents uncontrolled, hazardous spillage of well drilling fluids onto the rig floor.

“After learning how the Itsfu works, we are now able to fill 10 stands of 5 7/8″ TT585 connection string in around three minutes,” said John Boyle, Drilling Manager, with Cairn Energy. “This saves both time and ensures the immediate area of the rotary table remains clean compared with conventional filling practices.”

Around every 1,000 feet of running in, the drill string must be filled with fluid to equalize the pressure inside and outside the pipe to avoid it collapsing and to balance the well. The filling process interrupts running in, so speed is very important.

Every 10 stands the Itsfu is made up to the drillpipe by means of the integral swivel and the charge pump is started. The gooseneck outlet is automatically closed by a plastic disc to prevent air entering, and the closed-system drillpipe can now be filled in around one third the time of conventional methods. Once the drill pipe is full, the plastic disc comes free, discharging fluid from the gooseneck as a tell-tale. The mud pump is switched off, and with no pressure or air present, the Itsful fill-up tool can be readily removed by hand from the drillstring, without fluid spurting, and hoisted back to its storage area.

“The Itsfu offers real savings of time as it minimises spillages and cleaning up,” said Cliff Berry, Sales and Marketing Manager at Centek Limited. “Also because it screws into the drill pipe at the rotary table rather than by disconnecting the top-drive, the next pipe stand can be made ready while drill string filling is in progress.”

The Itsfu is drill-team friendly and as simple to install as a circulating sub. In addition, as the top drive is not involved in filling, there is no danger of damaging the top drive saver sub threads and the top drive is also available if needed in the open hole.

The Itsfu is available to drilling teams now and can be rented on a daily basis.


Expro Strengthens its Foothold in Ghana. Opens New Facility


Leading international oilfield services company Expro has officially opened its new custom-built facility in Ghana, West Africa.

Expro has made a significant financial investment to create a world-class base for its experienced team in Ghana, highlighting its commitment to the area and demonstrating a determination to meet the needs of the market.

Expro currently operates in Takoradi with teams working on the Tullow Oil Jubilee contract, supplying deepwater electro-hydraulic subsea services, well testing and a range of other services. Expro has been involved with Tullow in Ghana from the exploration & appraisal phase of Jubilee through to the fast-track development phase.

The new site allows all project activity, including deepwater subsea tools, well testing, clean-up, sampling and PVT (pressure, volume, temperature) services, to be co-ordinated and monitored from a fully integrated facility. The bespoke 8,000m2 facility, which houses extensive workshop and office space, has been developed around ‘modular concepts’ which provide efficient work areas and can expand with greater ease, as future operations in the region dictate. This impressive site has also been designed with minimising the potential impact on the environment in mind.

West Africa has been a major focus for Expro in recent years with a number of significant contracts secured. Almost 700 people are currently working across Expro’s Southern & West Africa region, and the company is continuing to invest in people, technology and infrastructure to position itself for growth opportunities.

SWA Region Director Brett Lestrange: “Having a permanent operational base in Ghana will ensure we can offer the most efficient and effective service, as well as continuing to develop our presence in the challenging subsea deepwater environments. The Jubilee contract is an important part of our future plans in the region, and Expro’s capabilities in all aspects of well flow management mean we are well positioned as Ghana develops through 2011 and beyond.”

Recruiting and developing a local workforce plays an important part in Expro’s business in Ghana, with the company taking pride in its approach to continuing to develop a nationalised workforce. The new operational base incorporates training facilities to ensure the workforce receive the training they need to benefit them personally as well as benefiting the business.

Mr Lestrange said: “We have high expectations for the new facility. Its opening, combined with the expertise of our people and our latest technology developments, will allow us to continue to deliver to the highest standards for our customers at this exciting period for the region.”

Original Article

100 tons of readiness

Centerpiece of $1 billion spill containment system awaits the call to action



If BP’s Macondo well blowout happened today, oil companies say they would be far better prepared to respond than they were a year ago. One reason sits in an out-of-the-way fabrication yard in northwest Houston.

Here, nearly nine months after the idea was hatched, the Marine Well Containment Co.’s $1 billion oil spill-containment system is ready to go — and, with any luck, will never have to be used.

On Friday, the company allowed reporters for the first time to get an up-close look at the centerpiece of the system, a giant well-capping stack with the capacity to collect 60,000 barrels a day of oil from a leaking well in 8,000 feet of water.

Standing 30 feet tall and weighing 100 tons, the capping stack is designed to be lowered on top of a runaway well. The goal is shutting it in or, if that can’t be done safely, collecting and routing the oil to ships above.

In that way, it is very similar to the piece of equipment that ultimately halted oil gushing from Macondo – in mile-deep waters 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana – but not before it bled more than 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

Marty Massey, CEO of the Marine Well Containment Co., or MWCC, said by contrast its new system can be trucked from Houston and on location at a well site in the Gulf of Mexico “in a matter of days.”

“The bottom line in all of this is the Marine Well Containment Co. is prepared and ready to go,” Massey told reporters in a briefing at a Trendsetter Engineering yard, where the capping stack was developed and will be stored.

The Interior Department now requires oil companies to prove they have access to spill-containment equipment, able to withstand even worst-case blowout scenarios, as a condition of winning a permit to drill in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico.

Two systems

So far, two systems have emerged that pass the test, the one by MWCC and another by Helix Energy Solutions. Both companies are based in Houston.

“The most significant thing that’s happened in the last year is the confirmation in the ability to cap and contain a well if something was to go wrong,” said Marvin Odum, head of U.S. operations for Shell, one of the largest leaseholders in the Gulf, in an interview.

Of the 10 deep-water drilling permits regulators have approved since the spill, four rely on the MWCC system to meet spill-fighting requirements and the others Helix.

The Helix system, also to operate in 8,000 feet of water and collect 55,000 barrels of oil per day, incorporates equipment used in plugging the Macondo well.

Helix CEO Owen Kratz said last week his company’s system could be able to contain a Macondo-like well in 10 to 17 days, versus the time needed to stop Macondo.

“We’re working on getting that done,” Kratz said. “That’s a matter not of technology but of refining the communications and procedures to make it happen a little more smoothly. We’re being a little conservative at the 10 to 17 days.”

Nonprofit company

The MWCC is a nonprofit company formed in July by Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Shell and ConocoPhillips, each of which pledged $250 million to develop a system for the Gulf. Since then, six more oil companies have joined as members: BP, Apache Corp., Statoil, BHP Billiton, Hess Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

Massey said all 10 members hold an equal stake and are dividing the initial $1 billion outlay to build the system. But non-member companies may also pay a fee to use the system.

“We’re open to all Gulf of Mexico operators,” Massey said.

Both MWCC and Helix are also developing higher-capacity systems that can operate in deeper water depths.

The MWCC capping stack took more than two months to build and drew heavily on lessons from the frenzied Macondo well-plugging effort, Massey said.

It is flexible enough to be installed atop a well’s blowout preventer – the towering stack of shut-off valves that sits on a well head on the sea floor – or directly on a well head if the blowout preventer stack is damaged and needs to be removed.

Once in place, robot submarines slowly close well-sealing rams in the capping stack. Four other outlet points are closed off, two at a time, as crews above monitor well pressures to avoid risk of rupture. At that point, the well could either be considered shut in and temporarily secure or the operator may decide it is safer to produce oil from the well through the outlet points. Once the well is deemed secure, crews would then work to permanently seal the well.

( Original Article )

USA: International Energy Officials Prefer “Safety Case” System for Drilling Oversight


Case-by-case regulation of offshore oil drilling is better than the one-size-fits-all approach favored by the United States, energy officials at an international oil spill conference said on Thursday.

Countries such as Britain and Norway have adopted regulatory regimes that ask companies to outline their plans to deal with the unique risks associated with each well they drill. Those governments then approve and enforce such plans.

That so-called “safety case” system differs from the U.S. style of drilling oversight, which focuses more on setting standards that companies must meet when drilling every well.

“If you use prescriptive regulations, companies become complacent,”

Jan de Jong, inspector-general of mines for the Netherlands, said on the sidelines of the conference sponsored by the U.S. Interior Department, held as the first anniversary of the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history looms.

“They think: ‘If I stick to regulations, then that’s fine’,” he told Reuters.

“We want them to identify every risk that people are exposed to or the environment is exposed to and think them all through.”

Still, he said he did not think U.S. regulations were the cause of the BP oil spill.

Held six days before the anniversary of the BP drilling disaster that ravaged the Gulf of Mexico coast, the conference gathered officials from 11 countries and the European Union to consider lessons learned from the accident and to share best practices for offshore drilling.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the delegates of the other countries at the conference had agreed to create a working group that could eventually lead to the development of international guidelines for safety in offshore drilling.

An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig last year killed 11 workers and ruptured BP’s underwater Macondo well, unleashing nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

The Obama administration has since imposed a raft of safety measures and moved forward with rules that would take a more risk-based approach to worker safety on rigs, but Salazar warned against focusing too much on the style of regulation.

“I think sometimes there’s a false choice between safety case and prescriptive rules,” Salazar said.

He said most regimes would end up with a mix of regulations that fall in either category.

Martin Hoffman, deputy secretary of the department of resources and energy for Australia, said risk-based regimes still required countries to develop a general consensus about adequate safety standards.

“The safety case only works if there is a view around what is good oilfield practice, that has to be defined within real specific details,”

 Hoffman said. Australia, which uses the safety case system, suffered from a major oil spill in its Montara field in 2009.

( Original Article )

Cyprus: Prosafe Announces Rig Utilisation of 61 pct for 1Q 2011


Rig utilisation in the first quarter of 2011 was 61 per cent. Safe Esbjerg, Safe Lancia, Jasminia, Safe Hibernia, Safe Britannia and Safe Regency have been fully utilised in the first quarter.

MSV Regalia(photo) operated for BP at Valhall on the Norwegian Continental Shelf from mid March.

Safe Scandinavia operated for BP at Valhall on the Norwegian Continental Shelf until mid March.

Safe Caledonia commenced operation for BG on the UK Continental Shelf in the beginning of March.

Safe Astoria and Safe Bristolia were idle in the first quarter.

MSV Regalia, Safe Scandinavia and Safe Caledonia have carried out parts of their annual maintenance work in the first quarter. Safe Bristolia has undertaken a five year Special Periodic Survey (SPS) during the first quarter.

In the first quarter, Safe Concordia was mobilizing to Brazil and arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 10 April. The rig will go through the necessary approval process and is expected to commence on contract with Petrobras in the near future.

( Original Article )

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