Ability Drills First North Sea Well Using Riserless Mud Recovery Technology

The first North Sea oil well employing Ability Subsea's advanced Riserless Mud Recovery (RMR) technology has been successfully drilled by Total E&P UK PLC on the Jura West 3/15-10 prospect. The recently completed well was drilled using Transocean's Sedco 714 semisubmersible rig in 113 meters of water.

RMR technology has been developed by Ability Subsea part of the Norway-based oil technology and services group Ability Group ASA as a means of recirculating and re-using drilling fluids. Benefits of the technology include cost savings from reduced operating time and reduced environmental impact from avoided discharges to the sea.

Total E&P UK PLC acknowledged a significant time saving over the previous technology used to drill similar 26" hole sections and regarded the implementation as very successful. The company plans further deployment of the technology later this year.

Use of the RMR technology is growing rapidly. For instance it has been recently deployed off Sahkalin Island in Eastern Russia and in the Barents Sea where no drilling discharge is permitted. Other applications have been in areas of poor hole stability where an engineered fluid system is required. One of the main advantages of running the system is the ability to push planned casing setting depths deeper and hence simplify casing design.

RMR has been deployed in water depths of up to 400 meters and Ability Subsea has now commenced development work with two leading oil corporations to make the technology operational in water depths up to 1,500 meters. Field trials at these depths are planned in 2007.

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