No Challenge Is Too Great

The Newpark Drilling Fluids Port Fourchon facility is undergoing a major expansion to meet the growing needs of the deepwater market

New deepwater initiative was built on three primary tenets: facilities expansion, fluids technology, and people.

Analysts and operators agree that the deepwater market is on track for tremendous growth over the next five years. Despite the recent drop in oil prices and subsequent decline in onshore drilling, industry experts estimate deepwater expenditures through 2019 will increase 69% over the previous five-year period. According to Douglas-Westwood’s World Deepwater Market Forecast, "… as production from mature basins onshore and in shallow water declines, development of deepwater reserves has become increasingly vital."

The recent U.S. Central Gulf of Mexico (GoM) Lease Sale 235 further amplifies this potential growth, drawing 412 bidding companies, including major players such as Shell, Chevron, Exxon, and Anadarko. Deepwater and ultra-deepwater tracts drew the most bids at $192 million and $335 million, respectively. Because the deepwater market is not as susceptible to fluctuating market trends as onshore operations, deepwater and ultradeep water present a dynamic, long-term opportunity to harvest untapped oil and gas reserves worldwide.

Known for its Evolution water-based drilling fluid system that optimizes drilling in unconventional onshore wells, Newpark Drilling Fluids has continued in its quest to develop drilling fluid systems that exceed industry requirements. A team of expert engineers and scientists has approached the deepwater environment in the same manner applied to the creation of the Evolution system, tailoring drilling fluids to the specific technical and ecological challenges of a variety of deepwater fields. Newpark is extending its offshore reach with a comprehensive deepwater initiative built on three primary tenets: facilities expansion, fluids technology, and people.

The Newpark Drilling Fluids Port Fourchon facility, the hub for the company’s deepwater operations and gateway to the GoM, is undergoing a major expansion to meet the growing needs of the deepwater market. The revamped facility will increase both synthetic and water-based drilling fluid mixing and storage capacities. The complex also will house a dedicated barite storage area. Newpark’s wholly owned subsidiary, Excalibar Minerals LLC, will maintain a bulk barite supply ready for use, so operators won’t incur unnecessary costs and downtime waiting for barite delivery.

Adopting Lean Six Sigma principles throughout the expansion project, Newpark also is installing a system capable of hauling bulk sack material to the mixing pits. This new system protects the well-being and safety of workers by eliminating manual handling requirements while providing faster, more efficient transport for safe, streamlined operations.

Enhanced fluids technology

Drawing on more than a decade of experience, Newpark has set out to develop advanced, environmentally sound systems tailored to new deepwater challenges, with an emphasis on the GoM. The result is the versatile Kronos drilling fluids system, a proprietary, synthetic-based invert emulsion designed to comply with the environmental requirements for nonaqueous fluids used in deepwater. Kronos systems can be adapted to virtually any deepwater drilling application with minor formulation alterations, making the systems valuable in a variety of deepwater wells worldwide.

The Newpark Drilling Fluids team consists of chemists, engineers, technicians and support staff who engage in ongoing, in-depth training from the moment they join the company. The Newpark Technology Center, located in Katy, Texas, is home to a laboratory with designated areas for development, testing and field sample analysis, providing real-time, hands-on training. The team is cross-trained in various processes to cultivate a well-rounded understanding of each deepwater product formulation.

This article appeared in the OTC Show Daily – May 4, 2015

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