As part of a highly impressive campaign for Aker BP, the XLE jack-up became the first rig on the Norwegian Continental Shelf to go beyond 2000m on a 12 ¼” section inside 24 hours. Maersk drilling breaks record

During the spring of 2020, Maersk Invincible was breaking boundaries on the Valhall Flank West field operated by Aker BP. In the nine-well campaign, it was proved that the approach of the jack-up alliance between Aker BP, Maersk Drilling and Halliburton is capable of delivering big efficiency gains.

In a record-breaking feat, Maersk Invincible reached 2278m drilled in one day when drilling the V-2 well on Valhall Flank West. No rig had previously reached 2000m of 12 ¼” section drilling in 24 hours on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

This was part of a continuous series of improvements made possible by the great teamwork in the alliance where all parties are working as one team to maximise end-to-end efficiency in drilling operations. Benchmarked against the ultra-harsh environment rig’s previous non-alliance campaign on Valhall Flank South, the Valhall Flank West campaign registered an 88% improvement in average rate of penetration, and a 186% improvement in connection times.

“The excellent drilling performance is no doubt the result of a team effort, a genuine alliance. Our Plan Do Study Act philosophy has seen the team review all processes in order to maximise efficiency. This process is continuous and we anticipate greater achievements for the alliance in the years to come!” said Warren Power, Drilling Section Leader, Maersk Invincible.

Careful planning and constant learning

The previous record for an Aker BP-contracted rig was 1866m in a day, and the Invincible team had their eyes set on not only beating that record, but being the first to go beyond 2000m. They knew that thorough preparation and planning was necessary to do this.

The first part of preparations focused on getting all necessary components in place. To mitigate the risk of bad weather, the rig team sourced skips and mobilised extra personnel to make it possible to hold the entire 12 ¼” section ready on board the rig. Extra personnel were also mobilised for cuttings handling to optimise turnaround time for the cuttings vessel.

On top of this, the teamwork in the Aker BP alliance in itself proved to be a crucial factor. The constant lessons from the Valhall Flank West campaign were captured in weekly meetings, facilitating improvements from each well to the next.

”The entire drilling alliance team and subsurface team, both on- and offshore, all played a vital part in achieving this goal by continuously pushing and improving limits and performance. This was made possible through hard work, good craftmanship, and by working as one team throughout the entire operation,” said Knut Eugen Svendsen, Assistant Drilling Superintendent, Aker BP.

During the record-setting 24 hours, the maximum speed reached was 280m per hour.

“We are proud to see the hard work of the engineers and crew across departments paying off in setting a new drilling record and delivering impressive improvements in performance across the entire Valhall Flank West campaign. The performance mind-set is pushing the technical limits by challenging all bottlenecks as an alliance,” said Tor Kvinnesland, Rig Manager, Maersk Invincible.

Danish offshore driller Maersk Drilling has made history by drilling the deepest ever well on the Norwegian Continental Shelf says Offshore Energy Today

The company on Thursday said that using the jack-up rig Maersk Gallant had beaten the record by reaching a total depth of 5.491 meters while drilling the ultra high-pressure, high-temperature Solaris well for Total E&P.

“We have broken a number of records during the Solaris operation. But this achievement is second to none. There was a lot of cheering in the driller’s cabin that day,” says Sadi Ozturk, Assistant Rig Manager on Mærsk Gallant.

He continues: “The Solaris exploration well is one of the most challenging wells in the North Sea. All crew members are very excited about this achievement.”

In the Solaris project – together with the client Total E&P Norge – Maersk Drilling has taken a 15,000 psi rig and adapted the equipment and procedures in order to drill a reservoir section where predicted pore pressures are well in excess of 15,000 psi.

The demanding requirements of the customer have led to a wide variety of modifications on the rig, the driller added.

Apart from breaking the depth record, there were other achievements made, so Maersk Drilling has compiled a full list of the records set during the Solaris drilling. Here it is:

1: the largest and most complicated BOP stack rig up.

2: the biggest cement job (600 m3 cement slurry).

3: the heaviest casing run (1,2M lbs).

4: first time a 20K BOP has been nippled up (installed) and used to drill an ultra HPHT well.

At the moment, the crew members on Mærsk Gallant are in the process of plugging and abandoning the well and expect to start the rig move in the beginning of September.

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