The first PTTEPI deepwater well in 1,003m water was drilled in the Gulf of Martaban, Myanmar in 2013. The tight deepwater rig market and single well program made it difficult to secure a rig, but a newbuild 6th generation drillship was eventually contracted. Non-Productive Time (NPT) is always the major concern when using a newbuild, especially in deepwater where the operational cost was 62,500 USD/hour. This paper explains how NPT was kept to acceptable level, describing the procedures employed.

The drillship used was identical to a sister rig which had already started the operations and lessons were learned from that. Start-up NPT from the previous rig was found to be 12.4% in the first 2 wells and the majority of this resulted from drawworks, BOP and Top-drive issues. Sub-sea equipment downtime was especially damaging in deepwater due to the extended time required to pull and re-run the BOP. This area was, therefore, a primary focus.

Third party inspection of BOP systems was witnessed by company representatives and a comprehensive testing and inspection program was designed to simulate operations wherever possible. Pre-running and Post-running tests were performed per API standard 53 and all tests were completed successfully. When the rig was in operation, BOP running procedures were strictly enforced. Contractual clauses were also agreed between the contractor and operator to minimise the impact of any start-up NPT.

Logistics planning of equipment, bulk, and chemical also played important part of downtime minimization. As the turnaround time from shorebase to well location was 5 days, lots of loadings had been done before rig departed from Singapore.

At the end of the well, drilling operations were found to have been performed efficiently. Rig NPT was only 6.9%, but with the majority of this resulting from problems with a new design of diverter system. This level of NPT was impressive for a newbuild high technology drillship, being 70% lower than the figure for start-up of the sister unit.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.