Drilling in the Norwegian Part of the North Sea
- Odd Harbek (Oil Industries Services)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1969
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,259 - 1,262
- 1969. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.5.4 Mooring Systems, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
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To perform effectively in the tough environment of the North Sea it is necessary to become aware of the physical conditions, the economic latitudes and restrictions, and the government regulations, and to take these factors into account in the early stages of planning.
The North Sea is most often defined as that portion of the sea lying between the parallels of 51 degrees N and 61 degrees N and the meridians 2 1/2 degrees W and 8 1/2 degrees E. It is bounded on the west by the British Isles and on the east by Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium and a few miles of France. In the north it is open to the Atlantic Ocean, or rather the Norwegian Sea, and in southern end is open through the Straits of Dover and the English Channel to the Atlantic. The Skagerak in the east between Norway and Denmark connects the North Sea with Kattegat, and thus with the Baltic Sea.
Of the total 275 million inhabitants of Western Europe, 130 million live in the countries bordering the North Sea. For these people the North Sea is a main fishing ground as well as a principal route for national and international shipping. The ports along the shores-London, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Bremen and Hamburg-are among the busiest in the world and have become market places of great importance to world trade. Through the centuries die people in the area surrounding the North Sea have developed a highly advanced technology in a number of different fields, and enjoy a standard of living surpassed by only the U. S. and Canada.
To maintain this status, an increase in gross national product and per-capita income is needed, and for this, cheap energy is of paramount importance.
When, on Aug. 14, 1959, the now-famous well, Schlocteren No. 1, in the Groeningen province of the Netherlands reached strata enormously rich in natural gas, visions of a new era for Western Europe became clear to the European industrial entrepreneurs as well as to the politicians. Almost instantly the prospect of the North Sea area as a place to search prospect of the North Sea area as a place to search for new oil and gas deposits became apparent. And as the legal problems were solved internationally by the Continental Shelf Convention of 1958 (duly ratified and binding from June 10, 1964), and nationally by the different countries bordering the North Sea concessions were granted for exploration and exploitation. On the Norwegian part of the continental shelf the seismic work started in 1963, and the first well was spudded in 1966.
The Challenge of the North Sea
Before a driller enters a new area, he tries to familiarize himself with the environment in which he will operate. One would think that for this area, where so much trading and fishing has been carried on by well trained and educated people, all relevant data would be readily available. But it is not. Nothing like a "Driller's Manual to the North Sea" exists, and those operating in this area have gained their experience the hard and expensive way. Many critical situations have been experienced, and even some serious disasters.
The loss of the jack-up rig Sea Gem in British waters in December, 1965, with the loss of 13 lives, was the first shock for the public.
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