The Navarin Basin, located in the Alaskan Bering Sea, is the approximate size of the state of Louisiana. In 1984, industry paid over $681 million for leases in the Navarin Basin. Amoco Production Company, along with two other companies, decided to explore parts of the Basin in 1985 to evaluate its hydrocarbon potential.

Because of ice encroachment and associated environmental concerns, the drilling window for most of the Navarin Basin is between June and December. Amoco's strategy was to drill four to six wells starting in June (historically the time the ice regresses).

This paper presents how a systems-oriented approach was used to plan, prepare for drilling and drill five wells by mid-November 1985. This paper will show how the project objectives and environment led to the design of the "wareship concept" to support the drilling of five wells without one day being lost waiting on materials or personnel. The paper will present the first major use of Amoco's "Critical drilling Facility" concept to plan, prepare and drill the Navarin wells.

The paper will show how two drilling rigs, a wareship, tanker, four workboats, two standby boats, three helicopters, a staging base in St. Paul and a secondary support base in Dutch Harbor was controlled by the Anchorage Navarin Operations Center using the Tulsa-based Critical Drilling Facility. This was all made possible by the advanced systems technology, including a sophisticated satellite communications system and a project-oriented methodology.

This paper will present the drilling system design, implementation, and results. This includes the design and use of a potassium lime mud system and the optimization of the solids control system on each drilling machine. Included results will show that the designed drilling system achieved all drilling objectives and had a significant impact on the success of the Navarin project.

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