Case History: Designing and Implementing the Operations for Drilling in the Navarin Basin, Alaskan Bering Sea
- H.B. Zaremba (Amoco Production Co.) | K.K. Millheim (Amoco Production Co.) | G.F. Boykin (Amoco Production Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- IADC/SPE Drilling Conference, 9-12 February, Dallas, Texas
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 1986. IADC/SPE Drilling Conference
- 1.12.1 Measurement While Drilling, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 4.2.4 Risers, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 6.5.5 Oil and Chemical Spills, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.11.4 Solids Control, 6.5.4 Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.3.2 Subsea Wellheads, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.12.6 Drilling Data Management and Standards, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
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The Navarin Basin, located in the Alaskan Bering Sea, is the approximate size of the state of Louisiana. In 1984, industry paid over $681 million for leases in the Navarin Basin. Amoco Production Company, along with two other companies, decided to explore parts of the Basin in 1985 to evaluate its hydrocarbon potential.
Because of ice encroachment and associated environmental concerns, the drilling window for most of the Navarin Basin is between June and December. Amoco's strategy was to drill four to six wells starting in June (historically the time the ice regresses).
This paper presents how a systems-oriented approach was used to plan, prepare for drilling and drill five wells by mid-November 1985. This paper will show how the project objectives and environment led to the design of the "wareship concept" to support the drilling of five wells without one day being lost waiting on materials or personnel. The paper will present the first major use of Amoco's paper will present the first major use of Amoco's "Critical drilling Facility" concept to plan, prepare and drill the Navarin wells. prepare and drill the Navarin wells. The paper will show how two drilling rigs, a wareship, tanker, four workboats, two standby boats, three helicopters, a staging base in St. Paul and a secondary support base in Dutch Harbor was controlled by the Anchorage Navarin Operations Center using the Tulsa-based Critical Drilling Facility. This was all made possible by the advanced systems technology, including a sophisticated satellite communications system and a project-oriented methodology.
This paper will present the drilling system design, implementation, and results. This includes the design and use of a potassium lime mud system and the optimization of the solids control system on each drilling machine. Included results will show that the designed drilling system achieved all drilling objectives and had a significant impact on the success of the Navarin project.
The exploration of far northern frontier areas, such as the Navarin Basin, Gulf of Alaska, Norton Sound, St. Georges Basin, the Beaufort Sea and the east coast of Canada, have proved to be extremely costly, time consuming and dangerous. Logistical problems, severe weather conditions, limited problems, severe weather conditions, limited communications and environmental constraints can make drilling operations some of the most expensive in the world. In 1984, Amoco Production Company made the decision to explore certain prospects in the Navarin Basin where only one COST well had been drilled in the entire basin (Figure 1).
The Company had to develop an exploration strategy which considered some of the following factors: (1) given the weather window to explore in the Navarin is roughly from June to December, should the exploration be phased over a number of years or should the Company go ail out to evaluate as much of the basin as possible in one season?; (2) given that the Company had never operated in the Bering Sea, should it pursue a more aggressive drilling program or be more conservative?; and (3) if the Company only had five months to plan and get ready for the June startup, should it consider the more aggressive multidrilling rig approach versus the conventional single drilling rig exploration program?
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