AGR Puts Riserless Technology to Work in GOM, 100th Well

Discoverer Americas
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AGR has achieved two highly significant milestones with their proven Riserless Mud Recovery (RMR™) system -- the successful application of riserless mud recovery technology on Statoil's Krakatoa well in the Gulf of Mexico, and the global well count for RMR™ technology surpassing 100.

The Krakatoa well, in 2060 ft (620m) water depth, is the first application of AGR's Riserless Mud Recovery system (RMR™) in the GOM, and represents a breakthrough for this well proven technology into a region with huge future potential. The RMR™ system was installed on Transocean's brand new ultra-deepwater drillship Discoverer Americas and used to return drilling mud and cuttings to the surface while the top-hole section of the Krakatoa well was drilled.

Terry Scanlon, Senior Vice President - Americas, commented, "This is exactly the kind of well opportunity we were looking for on our first well in the GOM -- top-hole instability with shallow water flow and shallow gas flow concerns -- to establish our game-changing technology and services capability on these difficult GOM wells. We very much appreciate Statoil's commitment to running our mud recovery system and we believe their press release will verify the value of using this system on their Krakatoa well in Mississippi Canyon. Statoil has used our RMR™ technology on some 19 wells in the Norwegian sector prior to their decision to apply this technology to this current, deepwater GOM well.
Statoil used the RMR™ system with a 4-stage pump on their GOM Krakatoa well top-hole section and as a result managed to maintain top-hole stability, circulate through unconsolidated water flow and gas flow formations and managed to push the 22" casing setting depth significantly deeper than had been achieved previously on offset wells. The RMR™ system was deployed over the side, thus not interfering with direct line rotary table/moonpool activities."

"The RMR™ system allows us to circulate the mud, consequently reducing the total mud consumption and discharge to the sea to a quarter of the amount typically used with conventional methods," explained Tore Grønås, Statoil's Drilling Superintendent for the Discoverer Americas drillship. "The cost of mud itself and the transportation of it to the drillship are significantly reduced. In addition, this technology allows us to push the drilling depth deeper for the shallow casing string which again reduces the overall drilling time per well. Minimizing the number of casing strings down to the reservoir is crucial for our well success, especially in deepwater drilling where you may run out of options, prior to reaching the reservoir. With the RMRTM technology, we have the possibility to reduce the required number of casing strings and thereby reduce the total well cost by several millions of US dollars."

"We currently have two drilling units in operation in the Gulf of Mexico. The RMR™ technology has successfully been used by Statoil on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in 19 operations over the past years," said Erling Meyer, head of Statoil drilling department in Houston. "We are the first company to use this technology in the Gulf of Mexico, and I am happy that we are constantly striving to push the boundaries in the areas in which we operate, to work continuously towards more environmentally friendly solutions."

The RMR™ system is a core technology (patent protected) of AGR Subsea, Inc with offices at 16420 Park Ten Place, Houston, Texas 77084.

At the same time AGR is also celebrating over 100 wells drilled to date using RMR™ technology. The system has served clients globally in water depths from 40m to 1,500m, from semisubmersibles, jackups and now a deepwater drillship, and for a wide variety of client requirements.

Tom Hasler, EVP Drilling services, commented, "The RMR™ system is a solution to many different challenges experienced by our clients. The earliest applications of the system were to mitigate the risk of shallow hazards by using engineered mud in the top-hole, then our clients started to include the RMR™ during the well design phase to improve top-hole quality and reduce casing costs, however the fastest growing application is to eliminate discharge of drilling fluids for environmental reasons. With the completion of our 100th well AGR consider that the RMRTM is truly an established system, and we look forward to working with our clients to use it in yet more diverse and innovative ways."

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