2018 Offshore Technology Yearbook

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30 | December 2017 | Offshore Technology Aims at Lowering Breakeven Economics 2018 OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY YEARBOOK | DRILLING TECHNOLOGY From cost-effective RSS to higher bandwidth mud pulse to lower vibration underreamers, service companies are designing tools to meet industry demands. By Scott Weeden, Contributing Editor T he deepwater offshore drilling industry is changing with a focus on the "highest-spec- ification assets [that] are at a critical inflection point as few such assets are in the global rig sup- ply," according to Ensco Plc in its September 2017 investor presentation. There is an "industry-wide focus on lowering breakeven costs for offshore projects through re-engineering, standardization and simplifica- tion," the company stated. There will be fewer offshore drillers due to consolidation. Ensco backed up that statement with the completion of the acquisition of Atwood Oceanics Ltd. in early October 2017. According to the company, "Larger customers [will] contract rigs with service providers that can help to continue improving breakeven economics for offshore projects through technology, innova- tion and new contracting models." Service and manufacturing companies are responding to the call for more cost-efficient and higher performance tools to meet customer demands. The largest advantage offshore operators have to improving drilling operations is data. The more real-time data that is available and leveraged, the more accurate and efficient is the placement of the wellbore. "We saw the opportunity to develop a high-per- formance but simple and cost-effective rotary steerable system [RSS] as part of a back-to-basics approach that we're taking to design tools for the current environment," said John Clegg, director of R&D and engineering for the Drilling and Evalua- tion Segment for Weatherford. The new RSS represents "a very good, competi- tive option for somebody looking to drill efficiently in the $50 or even sub-$50 oil price environment," Clegg explained. Other companies have developed technology for getting useable data to the surface more quickly so the industry can drill longer, smoother laterals and wells with ultra-extended-reach drilling (ERD). Expanded mud-pulse telemetry The industry standard for getting data to the sur- face in a real-time stream is mud-pulse telemetry. As more tools are added for logging-while-drilling (LWD), a larger amount of data needs to be pulsed to the surface. "What we've done is introduced a new pulse sys- tem called JetPulse that has a higher data rate that is double or triple the bandwidth we were able to get previously," said Tim Parker, Sperry Drilling, a Halliburton business line. "We can now use tools that are more data intensive such as the azimuthal lithodensity (ALD) tool, azimuthal acoustic tool or other azimuthal imaging tools that generate a lot of information. Having a faster pulsing system means that the operator doesn't necessarily have to slow

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