BJ Completes Challenging Hammer Conductor-Driving Operation

BJ Tubular Services has completed a complex hammer conductor-driving operation on an ultra deep well for a major operator in the Gulf of Mexico's continental shelf. The well, which features a TD of approximately 32,000 feet, is located in a new development that covers several blocks in the South Timbalier and Ship Shoal regions offshore Louisiana. More specifically, it is located in South Timbalier 168.

The project is part of BJ Tubular Services ongoing efforts to strengthen its market position within the Gulf of Mexico, and expand BJ's hammer services into the "ultra deep" wells on the continental shelf.

Operation Carried Out from Lift Boats in 72-feet of Water
Prior to the arrival of the Scooter Yeargain jack-up drilling rig, BJ Tubular Services commenced the conductor-driving operation by working from lift boats in 72 feet of water. BJ Tubular Services successfully drove a 72-inch custom-welded conductor with a 2.5-inch wall thickness to 376-feet below the mud line, which required penetrating a thick layer of sand measuring 140-feet.

Recipe for Success: Experience and Field-proven Equipment
To carry out the operation, BJ Tubular Services mobilized a hammer services crew made up of 22, including a supervisor, technicians and welders from its base in Broussard, Louisiana. To ensure that the conductor would be welded to the highest standard, BJ Tubular Services created a new welding procedure exclusively for this operation. Every welder was then certified in the new procedure prior to proceeding with the operation.

The company employed its wide range of field-proven hammer conductor-driving equipment. By using the BJ S-200 Hydrohammer, a state-of-the-art hydraulic pile-driving system with a capacity of 147,500 ft/lbs, the system achieved a maximum of 479 blows per foot at 147 kips.

BJ also supplied additional custom equipment for the operation:

  • A specially fabricated Horvath drive shoe to enhance the driving process.
  • A beam package, which was welded to the lift boat deck to operate as a base for the welding platform.
  • To assist in reaching maximum penetration, a special sling package and drill pipe tongs were supplied to run drillpipe inside the conductor for jetting purposes.
  • Hydraulic power packs to power to the Hydrohammers.

BJ Stimulation Vessels Supply Pumping Power
BJ Services' Well Services Division also deployed two vessels from its fleet of stimulation vessels, the Discovery and the Blue Ray. These vessels were necessary to provide sufficient pumping power for the jetting operation. Together, the two vessels provided a pumping capacity of 20,900 HP and a maximum pumping rate of 57bbl/minute.

Following successful installation of the 72-inch welded conductor, BJ attached the fabricated pile clamp and steel stabbing guides to it in order that the two 36-inch batter piles could be installed so as to provide further support for the 72-inch conductor. Working from a second lift boat, BJ then drove the two 36-inch batter piles to 188-feet below the mudline with an S-90 Hydrohammer.

BJ installed a 48-inch crossover to the top of the pile using temporary decks and a navigation aid. A boat landing and ladders were also installed on the 72-inch conductor to ease mobility for the crew.

A Challenging Operation
The high profile operation proved to be a challenge for BJ Tubular Services. "This hammer operation was very unusual. In view of the fact that extremely heavy casing strings will eventually hang from the conductor, it was absolutely critical that we protect its projected fatigue life," said Dow Drobish, hammer operations manager – North America for BJ Tubular Services. "Fortunately, we achieved this by investing a great deal of thought and care into the engineering and strategic planning process. Thanks to the dedication of the staff and the reliability of our systems, I'm happy to report that the entire operation was completed before the jack-up drilling rig arrived, with safety a top priority for this operation," he added.

Hammer Services Celebrates 10 Years
Keen to develop a niche in the growing hammer services market, BJ Tubular Services performed its first-ever hydraulic hammer conductor-driving operation in 1995 in The Netherlands. Since then, the division has delivered hundreds of single-slot hydraulic hammer conductor and caisson-driving operations worldwide, in Europe, Latin America, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Trinidad, China, the Middle East, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. With the 2003 acquisition of hydraulic and diesel hammer services specialist Petro-Drive and Cajun Tubular Services of Louisiana, BJ Tubular Services expanded its range of casing and tubing running services, and hammer services capabilities into the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas market.