Newpark drilling fluids discusses strong presence in fourchon in world oil supplement
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Newpark Drilling Fluids, which has long held a prominent position on the shelf, was reminded of those challenges with a recent 25,000-ft TD well drilled off the shelf in 85 ft of water. Newpark’s ...

Newpark Drilling Fluids, which has long held a prominent position on the shelf, was reminded of those challenges with a recent 25,000-ft TD well drilled off the shelf in 85 ft of water. Newpark’s South Louisiana regional operations manager, Sam Smith, said the well generated bottomhole circulating temperatures (BHT) of 365°F, with pressures requiring a surface mud weight of 19 lb/gal.

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Newpark drilling fluids discusses strong presence in fourchon in world oil supplement Document Transcript

  • 1. World Oil / april 2013 PF–191 Originally appeared in the World Oil ® April 2013 issue, page PF195. Port Fourchon Supplement Posted with permission. Article copyright © 2013 by Gulf Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A. Not to be distributed in electronic or printed form, or posted on a website, without express written permission of copyright holder. While Port Fourchon is more closely alignedwiththedeepandultra-deepwater Gulf, players on the shelf are also contrib- uting significantly to increased activity. Despite today’s low, albeit rising, gas prices, New Orleans’ McMoRan Ex- ploration Co, Energy XXI, Apache and others continue to construct wells that are 20,000 ft and deeper along the Gulf of Mexico shelf. Apache, for instance, operated five shallow-water rigs during the fourth quarter and saw its shelf pro- duction reach 95,980 boed, represent- ing a 7% quarter-over-quarter increase. Apache was awarded 60 of the 66 blocks that it bid on in the June 2012 Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale, and now has an interest in 666 blocks covering ap- proximately 3 million gross acres on the shelf, the operator said. Today’s shelf activity is quite a reversal for a drilling theater that essentially was left for dead four years ago. Most observ- ers credit McMoRan, which remains the shelf’s most active player, with bringing new life to it, with its 2010 Davy Jones dis- covery drilled to a blistering 29,000-ft TD. “Of the six rigs we service out of here, three are drilling on the shelf,” said Port Four- chon tenant Dwayne Reb- stock, president and CEO of Allport Services LLC. “It was really drying up between 2008and2009,butnowcom- panies are re-drilling and re- entering old wells. The shelf really hasn’t died off at all.” Illustrating the shelf’s new life is the number of once- stacked jackups that are now being refur- bished,allowingthemtoreturntoservice. Ben Bordelon, executive vice president of repair for giant Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, La., said in late January that the company had overhauled three stacked jackups over the previous two quarters, with four more tentatively scheduled over the subsequent two quarters. “The shelf has struggled, but we be- gan seeing an uptick in activity last year. There’s so much optimism there, for sure, and it’s encouraging to finally have a good heartbeat in that market,” Bordelon said. Tommy Fanguy, president of Hou- ma’s Supreme Services & Specialty Co., suggested that the shelf would be an ideal proving ground for any com- pany wanting to field-trial the very lat- est in high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) technology. “Between ex- tremely high pressures and tempera- tures, the shelf definitely poses a lot of challenges. Most of the work there now is workovers and P&A, but there’s some potential for new development, if the high-temperature and high-pressure stuff takes off,” he said. Newpark Drilling Fluids, which has long held a prominent position on the shelf, was reminded of those challenges with a recent 25,000-ft TD well drilled off the shelf in 85 ft of water. Newpark’s South Louisiana regional operations manager, Sam Smith, said the well gen- erated bottomhole circulating tempera- tures (BHT) of 365°F, with pressures re- quiringasurfacemudweightof19lb/gal. “We had to determine the equivalent mud weight for both getting in and out of the hole. We definitely ran a lot of labora- tory tests for this well and, overall, it was a very well-managed operation.” Smith said the ultra-deep HPHT wells that characterize shelf targets are not the place for drilling fluid engineers to learn on the job. “Our mud engineers for this well averaged 15 years of experi- ence,” he said. “For these ul- tra-deep wells, once you get past 25,000 ft, you're playing in an entirely different envi- ronment.” The 400-day well, which reached its targeted depth ear- ly this year, required mixing more than 50,000 bbl of oil- based mud, which was run on a closed loop drilling system. “We had some folks working overtime.” Newpark operates two yards in Port Fourchon with a cumulative capacity of 40,000 bbl of water, oil and synthetic- based drilling fluids.  Deepwatergetstheink,butdon’tcountouttheshelf One of the near-shore platforms that contributed to a 7% increase in Apache’s Gulf of Mexico shelf production during fourth-quarter 2012. (Photo courtesy of Apache Corp.)