AGR Launches Riserless Mud Recovery Pilot Program in Deepwater GoM

A Joint Industry Project (JIP) to develop and pilot AGR's Riserless Mud Recovery system in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico has been launched with field trials to be performed in 2007. The NOK 79 million cost of the program is to be sponsored by BP, Shell and Demo2000 (the Research Council of Norway).

The Riserless Mud Recovery (RMR) technology has been developed by AGR 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.

RMR has, since its introduction in 2004, so far been used on more than 25 wells in the Caspian, offshore Sakhalin Island, the Barents Sea and the North Sea and has been deployed in waters up to 400 meters deep.

Under the Joint Industry Project, AGR Subsea has now commenced development work with BP and Shell to make the technology operational in water depths up to 1,500 meters. Field trials at these depths are planned for the Gulf of Mexico in 2007.

The participants are committed to proving the tools and technology to a point of being available as a user-friendly, safe and cost effective alternative to the conventional practice of discharge of drilling fluids at the seabed.

Roger Stave, the President of AGR Subsea Inc in Houston said:

"Riserless Mud Recovery has been successfully used around the world in waters up to 400 meters deep. This project is pushing the boundaries once more and we are delighted to have the technical and financial contribution of BP, Shell and Demo2000 to the project."

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