American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.
This paper was prepared for the 45th Annual California Regional Meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, to be held in Ventura, Calif., April 2–4, 1975. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon request to the Editor PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon request to the Editor of the appropriate journal provided agreement to give proper credit is made.
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In order to meet the needs of drilling offshore oil and gas wells in water depths exceeding 3,000 ft., a deep water guidelineless drilling system has been conceived and is being developed. The operation of this system will be discussed, and the new and improved products in the specific areas of the wellhead products in the specific areas of the wellhead system, the re-entry equipment, the blowout preventer stack, and the riser system will preventer stack, and the riser system will be described.
At the present time, most offshore floating drilling vessels can drill in water depths of approximately 1,000 ft.. There are only several drilling vessels which can drill in water depths as much as 3,000 ft. To date, the deepest water depth in which one of these vessels has drilled a well has been just over 2,000 ft. As the need for oil increases and the demand for finding this oil offshore also increases, a need is developing for exploring for oil in water depths beyond 3,000 ft. and ranging up to 6,000 ft.
The drilling vessels, which now have a capability of drilling in about 1,000 ft. of water, are moored in position using anchors. Guidelines are used to guide subsea drilling equipment from the drilling vessel to the ocean floor. It is believed by some researchers that guideline technology is applicable only to water depths of approximately 1,500 ft. or less. Other researchers believe guidelines may be used to 3,000 ft. or more. Nonetheless, even deep water drilling using guideline technology requires special techniques and additional equipment to perform drilling operations with the same degree perform drilling operations with the same degree of reliability found when using conventional drilling methods in shallow water. There are some distinct disadvantages in using guidelines in deep water, such as the size of the line necessary to insure adequate strength, the size of the machinery required to handle this line, the requirement for motion compensation equipment, and the maintainability of these guidelines during a drilling operation. In an attempt to overcome some of these disadvantages and to easily extend drilling operations into water as deep as 6,000 ft., guidelineless drilling technology has been called upon as a means of achieving this objective.
The majority of drilling vessels which are capable of drilling in the deeper water depths will be dynamically positioned and will be guidelineless.