Overview: HP/HT Challenges (March 2006)
- Robert MacAndrew (Aberdeen Drilling Management Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 70 - 70
- 2006. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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During my tenure as reviewer for the HP/HT feature, I have seen trends and areas of new activity as well as problems addressed in the papers reviewed each year for inclusion in this feature. This year has been no exception, with a wide range of subjects; showing how the push toward HP/HT production presents challenges to our industry as the boundaries of existing technologies are pushed outward, first slowly and then with more vigor and surety.
The industry is pushing the drilling-technology frontier forward with enthusiasm, despite the high costs. However, the capabilities of available completion equipment are in danger of being left behind this headlong rush by the geological and drilling fraternities. In discussions with those concerned with providing completions for the ever deeper and hotter wells, it is clear that they are, to an extent, struggling with the old problem of the materials world: the lack of any “free lunch.” Therefore, completions engineers are engaged in the struggle of finding materials to provide these wells with reliable completions.
One issue, voiced more than once, is the problem resulting from the general reduction in basic engineering research by the major oil and gas companies. As operators reduced their research activities, the service sector has been left to take up the slack. However, one senses reluctance by the service industry to take up the slack. The anecdotal evidence is that the service companies do not feel comfortable taking on the commercial risks involved in developing new or significantly enhanced products. The reasons for this, no doubt, vary from company to company, but if a significant technology gap develops between equipment requirements and availability, then HP/HT developments may stall, or operate with equipment that may have questionable reliability. While not necessarily jeopardizing safety, this gap can present a considerable risk to operating costs. The industry should address this issue to ensure that existing mechanisms of fostering equipment development are functioning and are strong enough to meet the industry’s needs.
One last thing: Where are the engineers to drill, complete, and operate these wells? Operators are struggling to fill positions required to produce these generally demanding wells. Requirements to fill these positions are being lowered in the search to find candidates. And once these less experienced candidates are in place, does experience exist within the company to manage these people? Thoughts along the lines of “here we go again” spring to mind!
HP/HT Challenges additional reading available at the SPE eLibrary: www.spe.org
SPE 97018 “Evaluation of Equivalent Circulating Density of Drilling Fluids Under High-Pressure/High-Temperature Conditions,” by O.O. Harris, SPE, U. of Oklahoma, et al.
SPE 97582 “Alternatives for High-Strength Materials in Sour Environments,” by G. López Turconi, Tenaris, et al.
available at the OTC Library: www.otcnet.org
OTC 17315 “New Bundled Hybrid Risers for HP/HT Applications,” by P. Sauvage, Doris Engineering, et al.
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