Statoil, BHI Test New Drilling Technology at Brage Platform

Statoil has successfully tested the world's first rotary steerable liner-while-drilling system from its Brage platform in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The new technology was jointly developed by Statoil and Baker Hughes Incorporated.

The concept of a rotary steerable system that gives operators the ability to accurately drill and log three-dimensional well profiles with a liner attached directly to the drillstring is entirely new. The system is designed to withstand high circulation rates and high torque loads while providing liner connect and disconnect capabilities. Following a second deployment in January at Statoil's Statfjord Field, the new technology will be commercialized.

"This joint development project with Statoil illustrates Baker Hughes' commitment to working with our clients to develop leading-edge technology based on the needs of the industry," noted Gary Rich, president, Europe region, for Baker Hughes. "This project also highlights the advantages of bringing together experts from several different disciplines to work collaboratively on a project that encompasses both the drilling and completion well construction processes."

In conventional drilling operations, it is necessary to pull the drillstring before the casing or liner can be run into the borehole. Liner drilling systems eliminate the need to pull the drillstring to run casing, saving time and drilling costs by minimizing the risk of borehole collapse and reducing non-productive time. The addition of rotary steerable capabilities helps overcome the challenges of drilling in zones with lower pressure and unstable shale / coal layers and in formations with varying flow and pressure regimes.

Statoil and Baker Hughes qualified and verified this breakthrough technology through a rigorous development process and conducted extensive onshore testing before it was run on Statoil's Brage platform. A research group in Statoil's technology and new energy division (TNE) has worked in cooperation with Baker Hughes to develop the new drilling technology.