Helix ESG Finishes Methane Gas Hydrate Slimhole Drilling Project in GOM

Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc.

Helix ESG announced that its unique multi-service vessel, the Q4000, has successfully finished a 21-day deepwater drilling project in the Gulf of Mexico, in support of a Methane Hydrates Joint Industry Program (JIP) consisting of the US Geodetic Survey (USGS), National Energy Technology Center (NETC), Minerals Management Service (MMS) and Chevron as operator.

In April and May 2009 the Q4000 drilled seven deepwater slimbore wells in three locations in Walker Ridge, Green Canyon and Alaminos Canyon in water depths ranging from 4,800 to 6,600 feet. The participants reported that four wells drilled from the Q4000 found high concentrations of hydrate in porous, permeable sands. Two found low concentrations of hydrate in promising sands. One found promising sand but no hydrate.

"We are pleased with the Q4000's capability to drill slimbore wells in water depths of up to 6,600 ft.," said Well Ops USA General Manager Ian Collie, "and we are excited about the success of the JIP. We hope that customers see the value of using the Q4000 either in drilling or completion mode as a way to lower their finding and development costs."

Along with the previously installed derrick and topdrive system, the Q4000 now also carries eight riser tensioners, two mud pumps, a mud gas separator and new fluid handling system. The Q4000 crew conducted 8-1/2" openhole drilling and real-time logging-while-drilling (LWD).