2,000,000 lb. Landing String Developments: Novel Slipless Technology Extends the Deepwater Operating Envelope
- Burnett R. Simpson (BP America) | Michael L. Payne (BP plc) | Michael J. Jellison (Grant Prideco LP) | Burt A. Adams (Oil & Gas Rental Services Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- June 2005
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 9 - 122
- 2005. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.1.7 Deepwater Completions Design, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 2 Well Completion, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.7 Pressure Management
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The initial impetus for developing 2,000,000-lbf landing strings was thefact that failures in the field were being experienced with loads less thanequipment ratings. This paper pertains to the technological development of acompletely integrated landing system that provides the ability to extend thedeepwater drilling and completion envelope. This system comprises an elevator,slipless spider, and landing string—all specifically designed to landheavy-casing strings in deepwater wells and thus overcome the load limitationsof conventional equipment. All stages of evolution are analyzed, includingresearch, development, design, verification testing, manufacturing, prooftesting, running, handling, and actual case histories detailing field use.Actual verification-testing loads were over 5,200,000 lbf, and proof-testingloads were 3,000,000 lbf.Unique manufacturing challenges and solutionsassociated with the production of ultrathick wall landing strings, with2,000,000 lbf at super-premium-yield ratings1 (90% remaining body wall), arepresented in detail.
As the measured depths of deepwater wells increase toward 30,000 ft andbeyond, the wells become significantly more difficult and costly to drill.Deepwater wells require larger casing programs with much heavier loads thanpreviously experienced. They also require a completely integrated landingsystem that delivers optimum load-carrying capacity to handle the longest andheaviest casing loads and is constructed in a manner that allows for minimumtime on location. Some operators have opted to run the otherwise very longcasing strings as a liner and tieback to eliminate the need to run a very heavyload. This adds cost through increased rig time and the additional expense ofthe liner and tieback hardware.This increases risk by running anadditional operation (at a critical stage in the well) that could otherwise beeliminated, and it heightens design concerns associated with compressionloading on the casing-tieback connections. Other operators have opted to"qualify" conventional equipment, typically comprising a mix of elevators,slips, and landing strings that were developed independent of one anotherthrough a test program integrating the various individual components. Atechnological development was needed that had the capability to support thevery large loads required in deepwater operations, without the following:
• The limitations of conventional slip-based equipment.
• The inefficiencies and health, safety, and environmental (HSE) concerns ofconventional nonslip-based equipment.
• The expense and risks associated with dividing long casing stringsunnecessarily into liner and tieback arrangements.
• The investment of time and expense trying to "prove out" conventionalequipment.
The Landing and Slipless Technology (LAST?) System2,3,4,5 was developed andmeets all criteria specified by the operator for the Thunder Horsedeepwater-drilling and completion program on the drillship DiscovererEnterprise. The profiles of the 5½- and 6?-in. landing strings are shown inFigs. 1 and 2, respectively.The performance properties are detailed inTable 1.
BP has been using the Discoverer Enterprise to conduct drilling operationsin the central Mississippi Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico for 1½ years.This rig is equipped with latest-generation equipment, including dual-derrickoperations with a 2,000,000-lbf-load rating. The Thunder Horse project consistsof several wells more than 20,000 ft deep in water depths of more than 6,100ft—all of which are shown graphically in Fig. 3—in relation to otherextended-reach wells in the industry.
Several experiences and lessons were documented during the extended fielduse of this new system. One well in particular was recently drilled andexperienced one of the heaviest loads in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Themaximum actual hookload encountered during operations was more than 1,700,000lbf. A wellbore schematic of this well is shown in Fig. 4.
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