Technology Focus: High Pressure/High Temperature
- Robert Ziegler (Weatherford)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 79 - 79
- 2019. 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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After a year, I could begin my editorial the same way I did in 2018, with the words, “The industry is slowly recovering from the worst downturn we have seen in many decades … .” But now, at least, we see some clear indications that the “HP/HT spring” is upon us, most notably the announcement by Chevron and Transocean that they will partner on construction of an ultradeepwater drillship. Because significant financial commitment is behind this agreement, we can safely say that ultradeepwater high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) drilling is alive and well and that geologists see major resource potential in this environment.
That said, the mantra given out at the beginning of the downturn, “Fit for 50,” by then SPE President Helge Haldorsen of Equinor, is still the benchmark many (wisely) applied for their projects—and, given the volatility of oil prices we have seen in the past year, rightly so. Therefore, and similar to last year’s HP/HT feature, we must concentrate our paper selection on technology and operating methods that make HP/HT drilling operations faster, safer, and more cost-efficient. If above-threshold drilling costs shelve a project, we can have the nicest production hardware in the world, but the project will not fly. And without projects, all HP/HT know-how and equipment quickly disappears. So, this focus is in the interest of the entire HP/HT value chain.
Being able to construct wells efficiently is especially important for a technological frontier operation such as HP/HT. Industry veterans remember the enthusiasm of the 1980s for subalpine HP/HT exploration. The resource basis was there, but the failure of several wells to reach their objective (unfortunately something that happens all too often in conventional HP/HT exploration drilling) killed the potentially very important resource development that could have mitigated the decline of own-gas production in western and central Europe with all its geopolitical consequences.
As the technical and commercial partnership of a drilling contractor and a major operator mentioned previously shows, frontiers of technology such as (extreme) HP/HT are best explored in the spirit (and the contractual framework) of technology partnerships, because very little of the required equipment and procedures is commodified enough to allow the corporate supply chain to decide what the most-cost-effective solution for a project may be. This is not even considering the rare and valuable innovative HP/HT know-how that only a few experts in our industry really possess and can apply, allowing the cost savings of this new level of HP/HT drilling efficiency to be realized. I hope that the papers selected will enhance the broader dissemination of this efficient HP/HT, narrow-margin well-construction knowledge and lead to a step change in HP/HT drilling-cost efficiency that is necessary in our operating environment. Interestingly, geographically, the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Pacific regions seem to be at the forefront of this development, as the selected papers show. I hope you will enjoy them and learn a lot. And, please, provide any feedback you believe to be useful to advance efficient HP/HT well-construction practices.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
OTC 28327 Maharaja Lela South: Innovation at Work To Push the Limits and To Deliver by Sebastien Cochet, Vallourec Asia Pacific, et al.
OTC 28624 Subsea High-Pressure/ High-Temperature Technology Verification, Validation, and Regulatory Requirements: HP/HT Riser Technology Challenges by Selcuk Dincal, 2H Offshore, et al.
OTC 18869 HP/HT Hands-Free Drilling Riser System With Superior Fatigue Performance by Colton Sandman, Dril-Quip, et al.
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