British Government legislation effectively prohibits the offshore disposal of oil contaminated cuttings. By the end of 2000 this will include cuttings contaminated by synthetic / pseudo-oil based muds. In high pressure and temperature environments such as Shearwater, temperature and wellbore stability constraints restrict the use of existing silicate water based muds to tophole sections. Total containment of cuttings is therefore required. The Ship and Skip program implemented on Shearwater has demonstrated that total cuttings containment is possible even during high speed drilling of larger hole (16") sections without incurring drilling downtime. The phased nature and sound planning of the program was key to operational safety and cost.

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