Deep Water Drilling Technology

Standard Oil of Iowa Deep water drilling and workover is presently performed with jointed steel risers. The vessels and equipment have been upgraded to work in a water depth down to more than 1700 m. In deepwater and harsh environment the challenges related to operation are large due to use of buoyancy, fairings etc.

The drilling contractors are presently building new vessels and upgrading existing vessel to meet the deepwater requirement. Smedvig and Navion have contracted a new drillship MST ODIN to be rented by Statoil. The vessel is fully equipped for drilling in 2500m water-depth. Drilling in even deeper water is planned. The technology status is, however, presently limited to approximately 2500 m.

Two of the critical items for deepwater drilling are riser weight and riser control. In order to reduce the riser weight, alternative materials are considered. SeaFlex and Raufoss have completed a JIP project related to composite risers. At the Heidrun TLP a titanium drillingriser has been installed. One composite drilling joint has been qualification tested and is ready for offshore trial in the Gulf of Mexico.

Deepwater drilling is a mechanical process where a deep wellbore is drilled to a depth greater than 300m. Only recently has the technology existed to enable economically feasible deep-water exploration, but with better technical development and increased demand for oil exploration, operators have recently invested in deep sea projects to access deposits buried very deep under the sea floor.

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