This paper shares results from the successful first use of an active sealing device in a narrow margin deepwater well in the Black Sea. The active sealing device is a clean-sheet design approach which is purpose built for deepwater Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) operations. This paper shares highlights from design, testing, and first-use stages of the program.

Methods, Procedures, Process

This paper discusses the three key program phases from development to field operation. An overview of the detailed design phase introduces system elements and purposes. An overview of the fullscale prototype testing phase discusses design verification testing, system optimization testing, and systems integration testing measures taken prior to field deployment. Finally, an overview of the field deployment phase shares outcomes from the first deployment on a dynamically positioned deepwater rig drilling a narrow margin MPD well in the Black Sea.

Results, Observations, Conclusions

The paper shares conclusions from each of the active sealing device development program phases. Upscaling passive RCD technology for deepwater has had negative effects on performance. A nonrotating seal sleeve element design eliminates multiple high-wear RCD components. Elimination of bearings and rotary seals removes common system failure modes. Redundant, active seal elements ensure wellbore seal quality throughout the seal life. A lubrication system extends seal life and enables active seal condition monitoring. Active seal condition monitoring alerts the rig crew prior to failure to replace the seal assembly. Full-scale testing demonstrates the system under simulated drilling conditions. Seal life observed at over 200 rotating hours, outlasting most deepwater MPD hole sections. First active sealing device integrated into deepwater drillship. Multi-modal seal control system provides crew operational methods to reach the total depth. Consistent seal life enables rig crew to better plan and drill MPD sections with confidence. First deepwater MPD well drilled using the new active sealing device.

Novel/Additive Information

The project discusses other novel aspects such as drilling contractor ownership and integration of the MPD equipment. A design objective is to enable new models of MPD system fleet management to allow drilling contractors to share equipment between rigs. The integrated active wellbore sealing system allows communication between the rig drilling control system, subsea and topside equipment, and all 3rd party systems, while sharing commonality with other rigs in the fleet.

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