Planning the First Deepwater Well Offshore Norway
- R.C. Minton (BP Norge) | J.L. Thorogood (BP Norge)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- December 1998
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 274 - 280
- 1998. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.1.7 Deepwater Completions Design, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 1.6.5 Drilling Time Analysis, 7.2.5 Emergency Preparedness and Training, 7.2.1 Risk, Uncertainty and Risk Assessment, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 5.1.9 Four-Dimensional and Four-Component Seismic, 1.12.1 Measurement While Drilling, 4.2.4 Risers, 4.3.1 Hydrates, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.7.5 Well Control, 6.5.5 Oil and Chemical Spills, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.5.10 Remotely Operated Vehicles, 7.3.3 Project Management
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This paper (SPE 52886) was revised for publication from paper SPE 38505, first presented at the 1997 SPE Offshore Europe Conference held in Aberdeen, 9-12 September. Original manuscript received for review 13 November 1997. Revised manuscript received 18 March 1998. Paper peer approved 19 March 1998.
BP Norge was awarded acreage in the Norwegian Fifteenth Licensing Round, with water depths up to 1420 meters. Three-dimensional seismic studies revealed a number of significant structures in these licenses, and the decision was made to evaluate the most interesting of these at the earliest opportunity. As a consequence, the well engineering team proceeded to plan the first exploration well, which was to be drilled in 1275 meters of water in the Nyk High area off northern Norway.
The team faced two significant challenges. The rig market for fourth generation semisubmersible drilling units capable of drilling in these water depths was such that there were no Norwegian approved vessels available. Hence, they had to plan for the importation of an appropriate rig and introduce a new drilling contractor to the Norwegian sector. Additionally, the water depth was indicative of a dynamically positioned drilling operation, and the Norwegian authorities needed to be convinced that this unit and the associated drilling program were appropriate for the task at hand.
Consequently, there were a number of key processes that were central to the success of this exercise. These included detailed project planning, wide ranging risk assessments, and accessing the knowledge and skills of groups inside BP Exploration with experience in these operations. Visible compliance with our internal technical and Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) systems and policies was a central feature of this project, along with compliance with the Norwegian requirements. As the first well of this nature in the Norwegian sector, these processes were all key to final approval to proceed with the drilling activity.
We describe how these aims were achieved by detailing the well engineering team project management, the risk assessment procedures that were implemented, the approach to regulatory compliance, and the verification processes that were put in place. The detailed engineering studies and the performance of the first well will be reported separately in later papers.
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