Benefits of using managed pressure drilling (MPD) are already widely acknowledged throughout the offshore drilling industry. This presentation will focus on some of the non-trivial issues that must be addressed in the actual deployment of this emerging technology before implementing it to drill from a floating mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). This information will be based on the authors' recent and on-going experiences. For deepwater drilling, MPD is not widely practiced and is considered as an extension of industry's new technology. Therefore, sharing lessons learned will help to advance this technology.
A major consideration that must be addressed in the initial phases of any MPD deployment includes integration of MPD equipment with the existing conventional drilling systems. A critical choice to be made as early as possible is whether or not to make the MPD systems a temporary or permanent installation on the particular MODU(s) being considered. There are also class society considerations that must be addressed in offshore MPD deployment discussions.
There is a possibility that MPD equipment manufacturers and their vendors may have never furnished products for offshore utilization on a classed MODU. They may be unaware of the many safety and design related issues involved in receiving and maintaining equipment class certification. The paper will also discuss some of these topics, such as: material traceability, MPD equipment design considerations, offshore maintenance, rig implementation with operator, classification society and repair requirements and the constant safety considerations that must be honored.
The next significant consideration in any MPD deployment is related to the actual ownership of the MPD systems being used. Three possible choices exist: the drilling contractor, MPD service provider(s), or the operating company. Each one of these groups carries several unique benefits and bears additional consequences as well. These issues quickly exhibit circular logic, always leading back to the key question: "Are these to be temporary or permanent installations?" On matters such as: personnel training, equipment maintenance, including the spare parts inventory policies, and MPD operating responsibilities, choices will vary, depending on who owns the equipment, and whether or not it is permanently installed on the particular floating MODU(s).
Finally, the crucial roles of risk exposure and risk reduction in making all of these MPD choices will be examined. Regulatory awareness and their approvals for the intended use of MPD technology can be facilitated by class society involvement early in each project. The matter of who owns the MPD systems will play another role in these risks analyses, and the planned mitigations.