Recent discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and around the world clearly affirm the fact that the age of cheap oil is close to being over, as we explore reservoirs deeper and in more challenging environments. To keep up with the US and global energy demand, major operators in the Gulf of Mexico are shifting their focus toward deepwater and ultradeepwater operations.

A customized package of solutions and technologies is needed to offset the costs of drilling in deepwater and ultradeepwater environments. This paper discusses the deployment of certain technologies (customized to meet operators’ specific challenges) that helped the operators reach their goals. The paper also examines technologies that are still at the stage of inception but hold tremendous potential for development and execution in ultradeepwater operations.

The following case studies and examples from Miocene and Lower Tertiary plays in the GOM are illustrated in this paper:

  1. Real-time drilling dynamics for optimum drilling parameters selection

  2. Real-time density imaging to reduce structural uncertainty

  3. Casing while drilling for trouble zone isolation

  4. Azimuthal resistivity for 3D geosteering

  5. High-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) constant rheology for equivalent circulating density (ECD) and surge reduction

  6. Drillpipe valve for dual gradient drilling (future potential)

  7. High-speed data telemetry for real-time decisions (future potential)

The future of wellbore construction will depend on build-to-suit technologies encompassing directional drilling, formation evaluation and drilling fluids that can deliver optimized solutions in challenging and costly operations.

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