<a href="http://youngpetro.org/2013/03/06/how-is-it-possible-to-produce-oil-from-sand/"><b>How is it possible to produce oil from sand?</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2011/10/09/people-engineers-and-spe-members/"><b>People, Engineers and SPE Members</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2012/12/19/if-i-were-a-prime-minister/"><b>If I Were a Prime Minister…</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2012/12/26/polish-shales-delayed/"><b>Polish shales delayed?</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2013/01/11/russia-continues-the-policy-of-states-companies-monopoly/"><b>Russia continues the policy of state companies’ monopoly</b></a>

Do you know what does the WECP abbreviation means?

Do you know what does the WECP abbreviation means?

There are many cities worldwide, that are globally considered to be international energy capitals but only 19 of them are associated in World Energy Cities Partnership (WECP). Members cooperate and exchange trends not only in petroleum or even business province, but also at the corporate, city, educational, and civic levels. WECP goals are to ensure city-to-city learning and achieve economic growth. Let’s take a look at six selected cities from different continents, whose membership of the WECP may not be obvious to everyone.

Villahermosa, Mexico

This capital and largest city of the State of Tabasco, located in the southernmost part of the Gulf of Mexico can be surly called the energy city of Mexico, with a dynamic petroleum activity taking place in its region. Nearly the totality of oil and more than 90% of domestic natural gas production is produced no further than 200 km from the city. The city is located about 55 km from the coast, with easy drive to or from seaports, which are responsible for 95% of Mexico’s crude oil export. You will find here such petroleum companies as Pemex Exploration and Production, Halliburton, NOV, CGG, Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP), Schlumberger, Baker Hughes a GE company, Petrotec, Precision Drilling and few others.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This city is known for its unique carnival and picturesque location. As the third largest city in Latin America it is also considered to be an important logistic hub as well as a great place for headquarters of major companies in Brazil. It is estimated that in the next years the oil and gas sector will account for 62% of investments with total value $614 billion, which gives over $380 billion for petroleum investments. Oil and gas together with three other sectors (mining, steel and petrochemicals) represent as much as 84% of future investments in the country. You can find here the leading service companies again, domestic Petrobras or even Statoil.

Esbjerg, Denmark

Esbjerg is one of the three European cities belonging to the WECP (alongside Aberdeen and Stavanger). The city is recognized as the Energy Metropolis of Denmark and plays a crucial role in the development of the energy sector- in both renewable and conventional province. The success of the city lies in a strategic location close to the North Sea and a seaport, which provide services for the Danish oil and gas industry, other companies operating on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and Wind Industry as a preassembly base port. Over 250 companies work in the industry, and the national Maersk emerges on their fronts. In 1991, Denmark became oil independent, and energy independent in 1997. The government in Copenhagen decided that by the middle of the century the country would completely give up dirty fuels.

Cape Town, South Africa

Second largest city in South Africa with 3,8 million citizens and the newest member of WECP. Because of established position of midstream and downstream activities, Cape Town has developed as an significant region for many local, regional and international oil and gas companies. The city is a great place to provide services and expertise for oil and gas exploitation in Africa.

Karamay, China

Karamay lies on the edge of the desert in the northwest of China. The city was founded exactly 60 years ago and today it is probably China’s richest city. Were it not for the resource commonly known as black gold, Karamay wouldn’t even exist. Local deposits are characterized by shallow depths and good quality. The Karamay Oilfield has started production in 1955 and it was developed by China National Petroleum Corporation. Total estimated oil reserves in place are around 3 billion barrels and production rate is centered on 290 000 barrels per day.

Perth, Australia

Perth together with Houston are founding members of WECP. Houston is the energy capital of the world, while Perth is the energy and resource capital of South East Asia and one of the best place to live. The region produces commercially over 50 different minerals, extracts 63% of the nation’s natural gas and handles 86% of LNG export. In the city you can find offices of oil and gas companies and oil services companies, which operate and support activities in Australia, across the Indian Ocean and Pacific region such as Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell and BHP Billiton. Due to the strategic location of the city, it becomes a rapidly growing city of energy, supplying countries undergoing a rapid urbanisation such as China, India and South-East Asia or these already highly developed as Japan and Korea.



ATCE 2017 to highlight digital energy, hydraulic fracturing, unmanned vehicles, and more; host inaugural energy startup competition!

ATCE 2017 to highlight digital energy, hydraulic fracturing, unmanned vehicles, and more; host inaugural energy startup competition!

On 9–11 October, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) will again assemble exploration and production (E&P) professionals from around the world for the 2017 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

A leading technical conference in the upstream oil and gas industry for the past 93 years, ATCE will present current best practices and emerging technologies to attending engineers, scientists, academia, managers and executives. At the same time the conference’s exhibiting companies, which represent more than 50 countries, will feature the latest products and services.

“SPE members and companies know the value and return on investment of meeting and networking at ATCE. There is simply no other event in the industry that brings the level of insights, innovations and technological dialogue covering all things E&P,” said ATCE 2017 General Chairperson Vicki Hollub. “This year’s robust technical offerings and our great new programs, should inspire everyone – from students to more experienced professionals – and generate solutions that can be applied back at the office or in the field.”

This year’s conference received a record 2,521 paper proposal submissions, with close to 400 selected for presentations. The technical sessions, ePosters and panel sessions will cover digital energy, chemicals, hydraulic fracturing, flow assurance, unmanned vehicles, and other timely topics. Anticipated session highlights include:

  • “Driving Sustainable Value From Digital Energy Revolution,” which will present various case studies for showcasing the use of digital automation;
  • “Chemical Oil Enhanced Recovery,” showcasing the current interest in the E&P industry;
  • “Frac Modeling: From Injection Test to Treatment Simulation,” featuring papers ranging from pre-fracturing tests to post-fracturing diagnostics and assessments;
  • “The Smarter Flow Assurance Path Toward Improved Offshore Production Economics,” which explores opportunities for flow assurance to help decrease costs and make offshore more competitive with onshore and unconventional; and
  • “Can Unmanned Vehicles and Robotics Create a Step Change in the Oil Industry,” a special session about new technologies to improve operational efficiency and asset integrity as well as minimize personnel exposure to dangerous environments.

New to ATCE, Startup Village will feature new business-focused table discussions and expert presentations on Tuesday. It also includes the inaugural Energy Startup Competition, in partnership with Rice University. This competition will showcase promising emerging technology companies in the energy sector as they pitch venture capitalists, angel investors, and industry leaders.

“Downturns have traditionally been a catalyst for startups, and ATCE has always embraced this industry’s entrepreneurial spirit. While widely known as the launching pad for new onshore and offshore technologies among leading E&P companies, programs like this equip future oil and gas leaders with the right tools, insights, and networks to turn these business ideas into realities that can benefit the broader industry,” said 2017 SPE President Janeen Judah.

ATCE continues to deliver training courses, special awards recognitions and specialized topics for students and young professionals, such as:

  • 20 pre- and post-conference training courses covering a wide range of industry topics;
  • Its traditional ATCE Annual Reception and Banquet on Tuesday to recognize outstanding SPE members who have made significant contributions to the industry, and the President’s Luncheon and Annual Meeting of Members on Wednesday, where new achievements and upcoming initiatives will be presented.

For more information on ATCE 2017, visit www.spe.org/atce.

New Discoveries in North-Western Poland

New Discoveries in North-Western Poland

Polish Oil and Gas Mining Company in collaboration with LOTOS Petrobaltic have started drilling exploratory well on a concession Kamień Pomorski. According to the estimates in the area of work being prepared, in commune Golczewo (West Pomeranian voivodeship) may be 7.5 million boe.

Read more

4th Annual Student Energy Conference

4th Annual Student Energy Conference



4th Annual Student Energy Conference
– 12th March, Zagreb, Croatia
Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, University of Zagreb

University of Zagreb SPE Student Chapter

This March, Zagreb was the heart of the SPE Student Community. From March 8th to 12th University of Zagreb SPE Student Chapter organized a wonderful event entitled 4th Annual Student Energy Conference. Aim of the Conference was to bring students and young professionals to share knowledge and discuss the latest trends and achievements in the oil and gas industry. The day before official start of the Conference, Chapter hosted Ice-breaking games and Meet&Greet Dinner.
The extensive Conference programme was divided into three days of lectures and workshops held by industry professionals with expertise in oil and gas industry, University professors and students from different Universities. Fourth day of the programme was reserved for field trips where students could choose between field Trips to offshore jack-up drilling rig „Labin“ and field trip to „Omisalj“ Oil Terminal.
On the opening ceremony day, welcome speech was given by the President of SPE Student Chapter Croatia, Mr. Mario Jukic. Also, a warm welcome to all participants was delivered by the Faculty’s Dean, Mr. Zoran Nakic; the President of SPE Croatian Section, Mr. Vladislav Brkic; Mr. Matthias Meister, SPE Regional Director for South, Central and East Europe; John Gasparac, PwC Croatia, Country Managing Partner; Andrija Mikulic, the President of City Council; Helena Beus, City of Zagreb Department for youth and the Vice-rector of University of Zagreb. The opening Ceremony was embellished by the SPE Student Chapter’s Men Choir, which performed several traditional Croatian ballads.
After the inauguration, Conference began with the Panel session on the topic „Future of Petroleum Industry: New Solutions to Old Challenges“. Moderator prof. Daria Karasalihovic Sedlar raised interesting questions to each of the panelists. Case focused on Croatian industry, nevertheless, this was interesting discussion to each participant in the lecture hall. Panel was followed by interesting presentations from HEP Gas Supply Ltd., Plinarco d.o.o., PPD d.o.o. and INA d.d. companies. At the end of the day, we had a unique chance to make a Zagreb City Tour under professional guidance.
Second day, the presentation were given by presenters from MB Geothermal, INA d.d., Baker Hughes, Eni Croatia B.V., Schlumberger, University professors and students from different Universities. Every lecture was an interesting dose of information connected to our sector. What really got my attention was the lecture held by Ivan Kurchatov from Gubkin Russian State University about “Comparative analysis of development concepts of the “A” field located in the East Siberian Sea”. His presentation was also appreciated by the organizers for what he received first place in the paper contest. The good spirit of the lectures was Matthias Meister, the regional SPE Director for South, Central and East Europe. His attitude and professionalism were the best possible examples on how knowledge can be shared by real SPE Professional from Baker Hughes Company.
Except the part with lectures, each participant had the opportunity to take part in workshops. Everyone could choose between Technical Workshop “Kappa – Pressure Transient Analysis (Saphir module)” and Soft Skills Workshops “Enhance Your Strengths, Learn from Your Weaknesses” and “Tips and Tricks for Effective CV Writing”. Soft Skills Workshop learnt immense amount of advices about effective CV writing from Ana Boric – HR Partner for INA Company.
The third day of the Conference began with presentation given by University professor and students from different Universities. After a coffee break, two intellectual battles started up: Poster session and PetroTournamentcompetition. During the closing ceremony organizers declared the results of the paper and poster competition. Both winners were from Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas. Winners of PetroTournament were from the University of Zagreb. After the announcement, participants could attend Technical Workshop “PETREL – Well to Seismic Tie and Horizon Interpretation”.
This Conference was held for the fourth time in Croatia and attracted by the size and quality of organization from the leading industry professionals and University professors. Organizers are the real pride and joy for the SPE community. The event is a chance to spend time with amazing people from almost every continent. More than 360 participants attended the Conference, with over 50 foreign participants.
The Conference was held under the high patronage of the President of Republic of Croatia, Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and the Mayor of Zagreb, Mr. Milan Bandic. The organisation of the Conference was financially supported by PwC Croatia, INA d.d., Plinacro d.o.o., Janaf d.d., PSP Okoli d.o.o., PPD d.o.o., the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, SPE Croatian Section. GasinfoService and YoungPetro were the media patrons of the Conference.

The only thing that’s left to say is to invite you all to join this wonderful event next year! The fifth edition of this successful Conference will be held in March 2018 in Croatia. Check out their SPE Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SPEZG for more information and to see more photos from the Conference!


Black Sea, Romania’s path to energy independence

Black Sea, Romania’s path to energy independence

The history of oil and gas operations in the Romanian waters of the Black Sea starts in 1969. Below are presented the most important stages in the development of the offshore production activities:oana

Romania has the capacity to become one of the great European powers in the energy sector due to oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea, much of it in deepwater where several companies have begun to explore. The big players like Total, OMV, Repsol, Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO), Shell and ExxonMobil are all interested in what lies under the Black Sea. TPAO estimates there are up to ten billion barrels of oil in the region, and the various companies are working on several projects in different sections which are divided into „blocks”.

Romania currently imports 20% of energy needs, the other 80% are satisfied from own production of natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear power. It is estimated that Romania holds 1,400 billion cubic meters of shale gas, which ranks it on the third place in Europe and starting with 2019 will begin extraction of natural gas reserves located in the Black Sea, considered globally significant.

The gas resources discovered by Exxon Mobil and Lukoil are in amount to a maximum of 130 billion cubic meters. If this amount is fully exploited, which is unlikely, and to operate it profitable requires a production of 6 billion cubic meters per year, specialists said that will get a production which will be exhausted in 20 years. This production in the Black Sea overlaps with current production of on shore fields, 6 billion cubic meters per year, which has a constant decrease.

The exploration of the Black Sea will start when gas and oil prices will increase and if gas transportation system will be connected to international markets. One of the main reason is that demand in the country has decreased significantly and the investors which will extract the sea deposits need a market for the transportation of gas from maritime perimeters, which are quite far, from 150-200 kilometers from shore. According to these statements, in the medium and long term, energy future of Romania depends on the interconnection of gas and electricity, but also diversification. Experts believe that Romania will become independent in terms of energy by 2020, but the results could be seen over the decades due to the long process of exploitation and lack of infrastructure.

Will Romania become independent until 2020, as was expected?

by Oana Alexandra






Oil Prices are above 50$ a barrel after OPEC deal

Oil Prices are above 50$ a barrel after OPEC deal

Agreement to cut production between OPEC members was a suprise in oil sector. It caused price rise of black gold, but will it last for long?
Enthusiasm for the proposed deal finally cooled down and after a while and turned into wary skepticism. Lack of faith in this deal is quiet understandable. Deal is full of exemptions and conditional allowances. Ground of agreement rests on good will of Saudi Arabia. OPEC leader wants to pull the other members behind it in a fight to rescue prices from further stagnation. The cut is also evidence of the changing conditions within Saudi Arabia itself, which after a two-year strategy of maximized production is at a cross-roads, financial stress and general instability.

The goal of the cut is to bring the OPEC production level from 33.24 mln bpd (level at the time of the meeting) to a level between 32.5/33 mln bpd. This agreement is an important sign of changing priorities within Saudi government. There are some politicians in UAE that hope to see their country in other field than oil sector and begin more diversified economy.

The Saudi commitment to cut production is shared by only ten other members of the organization: there are several important exceptions that will, in effect, render the cuts largely symbolic, at least as far as the supply-demand balance is concerned.

Nigeria has been allowed to continue pumping, as it deals with violence in the Niger River Delta. Libya is also exempt, as its oil industry slowly finds its feet amidst civil war. Questions linger over how Iraq, which has enjoyed freedom to pump what it wants since 1991, will be brought back into an OPEC system of production management. Iraq’s energy minister has acted defiantly, arguing that OPEC figures under-estimate Iraq’s current production levels. This indicates that Iraq, in the middle of its on-going struggle with ISIS, will fight tooth and nail for its existing market share, as well as the freedom to continue pumping what it wants. Russia also will not participate in any cuts and there is huge chance that production cut but OPEC members will be replaced by non-OPEC countries.

To sum up these cuts are about moving the market and sending a message of unity and puropse. Even slight cut of 240,000 barrels per day will show us that OPEC is prepared to influence prices. They lead us to political strategy of Saudi Arabia and changing balance of strength in structures of OPEC. After the first rise in Oil price let’s wait for the further effects of this deal.



Norway wants to become a major natural gas deliverer in Europe

Norway wants to become a major natural gas deliverer in Europe

Norway has got a chance to become a major natural gas deliverer in Central Europe. Now the most important thing is positive reaction of European Commission. Tord Lien, norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy is cofident that his country is ready to become essential natural gas supplier to Europe for many decades.
In European Union many people see this move as a plan to reduce dependence on russian natural gas. Many countries in Europe are tired of games with Russia. They are looking for a strong, safe and certain ally to leave their main gas supplier. In that case Norway is a very attractive and trustworthy associate. Nevertheless nothing is official and Norway waits to see specific decisions from Europe.
These days European countries are looking for a way out from russian authority in gas sector. New polish government is interested in diversification of gas suppliers to Poland and analyzes project about collaboration with Norway, which was rejected years ago. Many things changed in last few years and now norge gas is much more eye-catching than earlier. What’s interesting is that for the first time in lithuanian history Russia will not be primary gas supplier for this country. Rokas Masiulis, Energy minister in Lithania during an interview with Reuters says that in 2016 Gazprom lost their gas monopoly to Statoil.
Without clear decisions from european and norwegian side we can only debate about these ideas. We see that Norway has got a lot of friends in European Union and this move might be attractive for both groups. Now we have to wait for more informations in that important case.




Half of US shale drillers may go bankrupt

Half of US shale drillers may go bankrupt

Before the crude market reaches equilibrium Half of U.S. shale oil producers could go bankrupt. The senior oil and gas analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., Fadel Gheit, said this Monday that it could be more than two years before crude prices ultimately will stabilize, and its price will oscillate near $60.

Many secondary U.S. drillers must drill into and break up shale rock to get the oil and gas released through a process called hydraulic fracturing. It is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid. The process involves the high-pressure injection of ‘fracking fluid’  into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely. It causes that fracking is significantly more expensive than extracting oil from conventional wells. This drillers cannot wait for prices to stabilize so long, also they need at least $70 oil to survive. At current oil prices, companies both large and small – including ExxonMobil and Chevron — will have to think twice about their dividend.

On Tuesday, U.S. crude fell to $29.93, which was last seen in December 2003. Such a drop would be brief because supply and demand are beginning to come into balance. But a number of producers would enter bankruptcy even with crude near $30 per barrel. U.S. drillers are now spending more than they are making from operations, a situation that Gheit said is unsustainable and will eventually force prices higher.

Summing up, the oil industry needs a minimum amount of investment to keep oil supply in line with demand. The current investment right now would not be sufficient enough to bring additional production to meet global demand. It’s not a good information that crude price fell, but we have to remember that this industry is very unstable, so let’s hope it get better within upcoming days.

sources: www.cnbc.comen.wikipedia.org

Unlocking the potential for Underground Coal Gasification in the UK

Unlocking the potential for Underground Coal Gasification in the UK

With the need to diversify the UK energy market becoming increasingly pressing, new technologies are continually developing and evolving the market. One such technology which is gaining increased attention across the energy industry is Underground Coal Gasification (UCG).

UCG uses stranded coal seams, which cannot be accessed by conventional mining techniques due to geology, safety or depth constraints, and converts this in-situ coal into a mixture of gasses known as syngas, which can then be used for power generation. UCG is not a new concept; trials have taken place across the course of the last century. However, technological advancements have prompted a resurgence in the industry, with the UK tipped to be a key area to watch. The UK is ideally suited to the development of UCG due to its large indigenous coal resources. UCG also provides opportunities for developing much-needed cost effective cleaner coal technologies, diversity of supply and energy security for the UK.

UCG also holds a wealth of advantages over other forms of energy generation. UCG does not use chemicals or fracking, the depth at which UCG operations are undertaken are situated far below fresh water aquifers and thus avoid water contamination, and UCG holds substantial environmental benefits over conventional coal fired power generation. UCG is also ideally suited for use in conjunction with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), technology that the UK government is very eager to utilise. Combining these two technologies provides an incredibly promising opportunity for low carbon power generation, and one of a very small number of methods that will enable the ongoing use of fossil fuels without the current environmental damage they cause.

UCG technology is also incredibly flexible. Rather than being restricted to simply providing gas directly into the grid, UCG also has the potential to play a significant role in providing feedstock for the petrochemical industry and a cost effective fuel source for energy intensive industry. UCG also has possibilities for generating hydrogen for vehicles and fuel cells, and supporting primary electricity generation.

One organisation pioneering the development of the UCG industry in the UK is Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR). Founded in 2012 by veteran North Sea entrepreneur Algy Cluff, CLNR has committed to the development of the UK’s first UCG operations since the 1950’s, and already has a growing portfolio of UK assets including 8 UCG licences. CLNR’s current UCG licences cover the North Wales/Merseyside border, Durham South, Maryport, North Cumbria, Largo Bay Durham North, Carmarthenshire and the Dee Estuary, The Firth of Forth near Kincardine, Scotland.

The UCG industry in the UK is still in the early stages of development, however it has the potential to become a key element of the UK energy industry. Andrew Nunn, Chief Operating Officer for CLNR has commented that ‘the industry, quite rightly, is taking a very measured approach to the development of UCG.  In line with the comprehensive body of evidence published by DECC, and its predecessors, the next step for UCG in the UK is a small number of production tests to confirm commercial and environmental performance in a local context, before rolling out a larger commercial UCG development’.

CLNR recently entered into a joint venture with Halliburton to accelerate the development of the Kincardine UCG project. On the recent partnership, Andrew has commented that ‘Halliburton’s commitment is a great endorsement of both the technical and commercial viability of UCG on a local and global scale. They are one of the world’s leading providers of subsurface engineering and services to the energy industry and this relationship gives us access to experience and technologies from across Halliburton’s global product lines. This includes their high temperature geothermal products, SAGD/TAGD experience and a vast array of monitoring and instrumentation technologies which are all directly applicable to UCG operations. This technically lead collaboration will ensure the approach to designing and operating the UCG production test will be subject to the same rigorous processes as other major energy projects’.

As with other energy initiatives, such as the shale gas industry, the success of the UCG industry will be determined by public opinion. Andrew has noted that in order to develop a thriving UCG industry in the UK, ‘key regulators must be technically capable, politically empowered and sufficiently funded to take a very hands role during the developmental phase of the UCG industry’, in order to assure local communities that UCG operations are being conducted ‘in a safe and responsible manner’. The difference between UCG and many other energy industries is the foundation that it will be built upon. Andrew has highlighted that ‘one of the key differentiator’s for UCG is that the industry is being built on a strong scientific evidence base which was compiled by the UK Government over a period of 10 years in the absence of any external commercial influence, so the basis for progressive government policy is in place’.

The next five years will be key to the development of the UK UCG industry and CLNR already have plans in place for the development of the industry. Andrew has outlined as follows; ‘We are currently preparing the Environmental Statement and Planning Application documentation for our proposed UCG production test in the Firth of Forth which we plan to submit towards the end of the year.  Following approval the focus will be on drilling and construction of the production facilities to support approximately 200 days of gasification operations, followed by decommissioning of the surface equipment and validation of environmental performance. All the data gathered will be used to book reserves and underpin a full bankable feasibility study for a fully optimised commercial development within the Firth of Forth’.

Despite the promise that the UCG industry holds it is likely to be 2020 at the earliest before we see commercial development of the industry. However, with Cluff Natural Resources continually working to develop the industry and a target production test date of early 2017, the UCG industry is undoubtedly a key area to watch within the UK energy industry. Industry leaders from across the energy sector will meet to discuss the promising UCG industry at the Third European Shale Gas & Oil Summit, taking place 15th-16th October, in a conference dedicated to this developing technology.

For more information regarding the summit visit the website at http://www.esgos.eu/

By Megan.Roden@charlesmaxwell.co.uk

Managed Pressure Drilling- A Food For Thought

Managed Pressure Drilling- A Food For Thought

Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) is a new technology that uses tools similar to those of underbalanced drilling to better control pressure variations while drilling a well. The aim of MPD is to improve the drillability of a well by alleviating drilling issues that can arise.

IADC defines MPD as “An adaptive drilling process used to precisely control the annular pressure profile throughout the wellbore. The objectives are to ascertain the downhole pressure environment limits and to manage the annular hydraulic pressure profile accordingly.”

MPD is further divided into two categories -“reactive” (the well is designed for conventional drilling, but equipment is rigged up to quickly react to unexpected pressure changes) and “proactive” (equipment is rigged up to actively alter the annular pressure profile, potentially extending or eliminating casing points). This category of MPD can offer the greatest benefit to the offshore drilling industry as it can deal with unforeseen problems before they occur.


            The primary objectives of MPD are to mitigate drilling hazards and increase operational drilling efficiencies by diminishing the non-productive time (NPT). The operational drilling problems most associated with NPT include:

  • Lost Circulation
  • Stuck Pipe
  • Wellbore instability
  • Well control incidents

            MPD process uses a collection of tools and techniques to mitigate the risks and costs associated with drilling wells that have narrow downhole environment limits, by proactively managing the pressure profile.

MPD may include control of back pressure, fluid density, fluid rheology, annular fluid level, circulating friction, hole geometry and combinations thereof.

MPD may allow fast corrective action to deal with observed pressure variations. The ability to control annular pressures dynamically facilitates drilling of what might otherwise be economically unattainable prospects.

MPD technique may be used to avoid formation influx. Any flow incidental to the operation will be safely contained using an appropriate process.

The centerpiece of the definition is “precise control”. The technology allows drillers to control bottom hole pressure from the surface within a range of 30-50 psi. One method does not address all the problems and MPD is application specific. The vast majority of MPD while drilling in a closed vessel, using an RCD with at least one drill string, non-return valve and a DCM.


MPD is similar to underbalanced drilling (UBD). It uses many of the same tools that were designed for UBD

operations. The difference between the methods is that UBD is used to prevent

damage to the reservoir while the purpose of MPD is to solve drilling problems. UBD allows influx of formation fluids by drilling with the pressure of the fluid in the wellbore lower than the pore pressure. MPD manages the pressure to remain between the pore pressure and the fracture pressure of the reservoir. It is set up to handle the influx of fluids that may occur while drilling but does not encourage influx. UBD is reservoir-issue related while MPD is drilling-issue related.


As a well is drilled, drilling fluid is circulated in the hole to obtain a specific bottom hole pressure. The density of the fluid is determined by the formation and pore pressure gradients and the wellbore stability.1

Fig. 1shows a pressure gradient profile of a well. This profile shows the change in pressure as the depth increases. The pressure window is the area between the pore pressure and the fracture pressure. The goal when drilling a well is to keep the pressure inside this pressure window. In a static well, the pressure is determined by the hydrostatic pressure of the mud. In conventional drilling, the only way to adjust the pressure during static conditions is to vary mud weight in the well.

Fig. 2shows the problem that can occur when dealing with tight pressure gradient windows. When the well is static, the pressure in the well is less than the pore pressure and the well takes a kick; that is, hydrocarbons flow into the well. Before drilling can begin again, the kick has to be circulated out. After a connection, the pumps restart, the BHP (Bottom Hole Pressure) increases, and the pressure goes above the fracture-pressure, resulting in lost circulation, or fluid flowing into the formation. The goal of managed pressure drilling is to walk the line of the pressure gradients. Managing the pressure and remaining inside this pressure gradient window can avoid many drilling problems.


CONTINUOUS CIRCULATION SYSTEM The continuous circulation system (CCS) is a new technology that enables a driller to make connections without stopping fluid circulation. A CCS enables a driller to maintain a constant ECD when making connections. In normal drilling operations, a driller must turn the pumps off when making a connection. Numerous problems can occur as pumps start and stop in a drilling operation. (Fig. 3)


In a narrow drilling window, where the pore pressure and fracture pressure gradients are close, continuous circulation can prevent many problems from occurring.

Benefits of using the CCS include

• Reducing nonrotation time by eliminating the need to circulate the cuttings out of the bottom hole assembly.

• Reducing the possibility of a stuck drillstring by keeping the cuttings from dropping to the bottom.

• Constant ECD can be maintained.


The ECD reduction tool is designed to reduce the bottomhole pressure increase caused by friction in the annulus by providing a pressure boost up annulus.

            Equivalent circulating density (ECD) is a function of mud density, mud rheology, cuttings loading, annular geometry and flow rate. Drilling-fluid density is required for pressure control and wellbore stability. Viscosity and flow rate are needed for hole cleaning and barite-sag mitigation. Gel strengths are required to suspend drill cuttings. The goal of ECD management is to find balance between these parameters to successfully drill a well.

Reducing ECD in a well can result in many benefits. These benefits can include:

• Reducing the number of casing strings.

• Improving hole cleaning by using higher flow rates.

• Being able to remain in the pressure window for complex wells.

• Reducing lost circulation and differential sticking.

• Reducing formation damage.


The challenge for the future of MPD is to convince the industry of its benefits.

The main problem in instituting MPD is that companies think that their way works well enough and do not want to take the risk of trying a newer method.

This is similar to situations that occurred when underbalanced drilling and horizontal drilling were first introduced. It is just going to take time for MPD to become an accepted method and be used in regular drilling operation.

The benefits that should be shown to companies to convince them to try MPD include the possibility of improving the drill-ability of depleted formations. Drilling through these depleted zones often result in narrow pressure windows and lost circulation issues. Drilling in these areas require a more constant bottomhole pressure to remain in the narrow pressure window. MPD would help reduce costs and improve current assets held by companies. Companies realizing these benefits and seeing them work would lead to more common use by these companies.