Statoil, Baker Hughes to develop steerable drilling liner

Offshore staff

STAVANGER, Norway – Statoil has signed a $43-million agreement with Baker Hughes to develop and qualify next-generation steerable drilling liner (SDL) technology.

This follows results of a well drilled on the Grane field in the North Sea in September, where use of SDL is set to increase recovery by around 350,000 bbl. It was also the first commercial application of the technique anywhere, Statoil says.

The company now plans to adopt the technique for various other fields on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Normally, a well is constructed by first drilling a section, then pulling the drilling tool out of the hole. To prevent the hole from collapsing, a liner is then installed as support – however, with SDL, both these operations can be performed as one process.

As the liner is part of the drilling procedure, it can remain in place, preventing the hole from collapsing after drilling to the intended depth. The hole is thus supported as drilling proceeds.

The technology is designed to simplify drilling through unstable formations, saving time and money. Additionally, says Øystein Håland, Statoil’s senior VP for the drilling and well business cluster, “it helps improve the recovery factor of mature fields on the NCS because it enables us to drill in places where it was previously not possible to do so, and we can place the well path optimally in the reservoir.”

The idea for the technology was born at Statoil’s research center at Rotvoll in Norway in 2004. Two years later, the company signed an R&D agreement with Baker Hughes.

Under the new agreement, the aim is to develop the technology to combine three operations into one. This means drilling in the liner and cementing it into place without having to withdraw the drill string in the meantime. Work will continue through 2016.


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