Applying Project Management Techniques to a Record-Breaking Ultra-Deepwater Frontier Drilling Operation

Authors Carlos Eduardo Nunes (Newpark Drilling Fluids Brazil) | Vance Smith (Newpark Drilling Fluids LLC) | Ahmed Amer (Newpark Drilling Fluids LLC) | Diogo Wink Tourinho (Newpark Drilling Fluids Brazil)
DOI https://doi.org/10.2118/191174-MS
Document ID SPE-191174-MS
Publisher Society of Petroleum Engineers
Source SPE Trinidad and Tobago Section Energy Resources Conference, 25-26 June, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Publication Date 2018

Abstract

This paper highlights the use of integrated project management techniques, as well as innovative drilling fluids technology, to safely achieve drilling objectives on a frontier exploratory, ultra-deepwater project offshore Uruguay. Drilling in a frontier offshore area adds layers of complexity due to inherent uncertainties and risks associated with these types of operations. The use of project management techniques, combined with application of novel drilling fluids technologies, served to mitigate and reduce project risks. Preparation for this well included regulatory review and HSE compliance procedures, facilities and logistics planning, the operator's understanding of the well complexities, selection of experts for each aspect of the operation, and contingency planning to include displacement and emergency disconnect. A thorough and comprehensive readiness review, coupled with communications processes, reinforced the project management loop. Critical path management and efficiencies of drilling operations dictated managing the logistics of mixing large volumes of drilling fluid at multiple locations. The well design program considered the possibility of encountering extreme sediment compaction arising from mass transport complexes (MTC) in the riserless interval. MTCs are a recognized geologic phenomenon and are typically avoided when drilling in deepwater areas of the world.1 The novelty of the workflow involved in safely and effectively delivering this record, frontier ultra-deepwater well included thorough planning and execution, in parallel with the use of new drilling fluid technology and facilities.