The contract with Shell includes the supply of 12 MS-700 slimbore subsea wellhead systems and seven 42-inch liners, with delivery beginning in July of 2007. Once installed, the MS-700 slimbore wellhead systems will enable Shell to drill and complete wells in conjunction with their reduced bore riser and a surface blowout-preventer (BOP), thus exploiting the drilling capabilities of rigs with conventional operating envelopes, typically less than the actual water depth at Parque das Conchas (up to 1930m water depth).
The project will mark Shell's first use of a surface BOP system for deepwater in field development. As deepwater exploration and development moves into deeper water and more demanding environments, operators are looking for ways to reduce costs to make projects more economically attractive. A key avenue to achieve cost reduction is to use smaller deepwater rigs for drilling, testing and completing wells. Surface BOP technology facilitates the deployment of smaller rigs in deep water, which results in lower day rates, well costs, and field development costs.
The design of the MS-700 slimbore subsea wellhead system, with a 13-5/8 nominal bore design, originated from the MS-700 18-3/4 subsea wellhead. Although smaller in size, the MS-700 slimbore subsea wellhead system utilizes the same (all) metal-to-metal sealing technology as VetcoGray's field proven MS-700 18-3/4 MS-1 seal. Within deepwater applications the MS-700 slimbore subsea wellhead system provides substantial savings in rig cost, rig time and drilling cost. In addition, there is increased flexibility to complete and work-over subsea wells utilizing slender intervention riser systems and smaller less expensive vessels.
"We're pleased that Shell has selected VetcoGray's new generation technology for the technically challenging environment of the BC-10 project," said Terry Scanlon, VetcoGray's vice president of sales and marketing for the Western region. "We view this as a significant step as part of our global commitment to our partnership with Shell."
VetcoGray has supplied over 60 MS-700 slimbore subsea wellhead systems to customers in Brazil, West Africa, and Asia Pacific, who have all capitalized on the new technology. In keeping with Shell's commitment to high local content, VetcoGray will manufacture the MS-700 slimbore subsea wellhead systems in Brazil.
The BC-10 block includes the Ostra, Abalone, Nautilus and Argonauta fields in the Campos Basin about 120 kilometers southeast of the city of Vitoria, Brazil in water depths ranging from 1,650 to 1,930 meters. Shell has a 50 per cent operating stake in the BC-10 block, which was declared commercial in December of 2005. Other Partners in the venture include Petrobras (35%) and ONGC (15%).
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