OTC 2012: Ultra deep drilling in ultra-deepwater possible

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – An Offshore Technology Conference session on designing of the world’s deepest offshore well has featured a discussion of the challenges to drilling into the Earth’s mantle to take a 500 m (1,640 ft) sample.

The main challenges noted by presenters IODP Management International Inc. and Blade Energy Partners start with the issues surrounding a drilling riser for use in 4,000 m (13,123 ft) water depth. Next came the high bottomhole temperatures expected to reach 250°C (482°F). After that is the difficulty in drilling a very deep straight hole of about 6,000 m (19,685 ft) into the oceanic crust.

Notably, detailed analyses and discussions concerning drilling riser options reviewing the capabilities of the current riser configuration that is onboard the IODP scientific drilling vessel Chikyu, and also alternative designs such as titanium riser, hybrid titanium-steel riser, slim-riser have been performed. Furthermore, deepwater subsea equipment, drill pipe design, wellbore design, downhole tools, drilling fluids, circulating temperature, cementing methods and various advanced technologies are reviewed.

Results of the research shows that drilling to the mantle is feasible, and there are existing solutions to many of the technological challenges based on work being done in the oilfield, offshore, and geothermal industries.


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