Deepwater oil and gas exploration continues to push the technological and regulatory boundaries of drilling techniques and drilling equipment, as exploration moves ever deeper and into more remote locations. These challenges call for new and enhanced development of drilling techniques and drilling equipment. This is clearly evident after the Macondo incident, where specific new regulatory requirements have been implemented, especially for well control.

To meet these challenges, a new drillship design has been developed that is capable of applying a suite of drilling techniques to various well conditions while providing improved safety by including systems such as riser gas handling and downhole event detection systems. The systems and capabilities of the new drillship design make it a versatile asset that is able to drill in difficult conditions with the ability to prevent, manage and react to emergency situations. Systems included with the new drillship design are the following:

  • Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD);

  • Underbalanced Drilling (UBD);

  • Riser Gas Handling (RGH);

  • Down Hole Event Detection Systems;

  • Integral Full Well Testing.

This paper describes how a new innovative drillship design enhances the drilling efficiency and capabilities, as well as the safety aspects of deepwater drilling operations. Advanced Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD), Underbalanced Drilling (UBD), Well Testing, Riser Gas Handling (RGH) and down hole event detection systems are built into the design of the drillship. The additional deck space, large oil storage capacity, dual moon pools and large Variable Deck Load (VDL) of the drillship design adds capabilities and functionalities supporting more efficient and safer drilling operations. In case of an emergency well situation the drillship can also act as a single well response vessel.

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