This paper shares results from the first year of deepwater operations using an active sealing device purpose built for deepwater Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD). The active sealing device is a clean-sheet design approach. The first use of the system was performed in a narrow margin deepwater well in the Black Sea with subsequent wells in the Gulf of Mexico. This paper shares lessons learned from first year of operations.

This paper discusses field operations, lessons learned, and post run evaluation of system performance. An overview of the design introduces system elements and briefly discusses system testing measures taken prior to field deployment. An overview of operations from the first year is provided, highlighting lessons learned, action items taken, and solutions implemented between wells. Analysis of the link between the testing and field results demonstrates the novel approach to testing and validity of assumptions made during the testing phase. Furthermore, methods of evaluating seal performance are discussed.

The paper shares conclusions from the first year of active sealing device deployment.

  • A non-rotating seal sleeve element design eliminates multiple high-wear rotating control device (RCD) components such as bearings and rotary seal as well as their associated failure modes.

  • Redundant, active seal elements ensure wellbore seal quality throughout the seal assembly life.

  • Active seal condition monitoring alerts the rig crew prior to failure to replace the seal assembly.

  • Multi-modal seal control provides crew methods to reach total depth in contingency mode.

  • Full-scale simulated drilling testing included the use of client equipment prior to first use.

  • Testing procedures were designed to simulate drilling to mirror system use in a live well.

  • First MPD well completed in 2019 in the Black Sea with subsequent wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Lessons learned from operations to applied in continuous improvement program.

  • Novel approaches to assessing performance have been developed in order to provide consistent metrics.

  • Learnings have been applied in subsequent wells to improve technology transfer to drilling contractors.

The paper discusses other aspects of the program such as drilling contractor ownership vs. use of third (3rd) party systems, integration of the MPD equipment into the rig, and network architecture. Further, an algorithm has been developed to analyze system performance from electronic drilling recorder data to better characterize the effect of usage patterns of seal wear. These data demonstrate the validity of assumptions made during the development of the test procedures.

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