Drilling & Well Technology
Automated drilling is one of the main areas of focus for IRIS Energy and has been since 2008. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the technology. This, together with IRIS’ international recognition, forms a basis for new projects, publications and invitations to participate in international arenas. Our drilling and well simulation laboratory has been important for research in the field of automated drilling, and in 2016 we further developed our national research infrastructure a bit further. OpenLab Drilling received NOK 48 million from the Research Council of Norway in 2015. By 2016, we have further developed the laboratory so that it is accessible via the Internet from anywhere in the world. The new infrastructure will provide national access to a unique development and testing arena, and, not least, be a state-of-the-art aid in petroleum education for both Norwegian and international universities.
DrillWell drilling and well centre for oil improved recovery (IOR)
SFI DrillWell was established in 2011 and is a centre for research-driven innovation. The centre is led by IRIS, with SINTEF, the University of Stavanger, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Centre for Research-based Innovation, and The Research Council of Norway as research partners. In Phase 2 (2016-19), DrillWell has funding from four oil companies in addition to funding from the Research Council. These four companies are Statoil, ConocoPhillips, AkerBP and Wintershall. DrillWell was awarded three additional projects from the Research Council’s Petromaks2 programme in 2014 and 2015, and now has financing totalling NOK 45 million per year.
In Phase 2, the main research areas are optimisation of the drilling process, well management, cement integrity, and permanent plugging of wells.
The Centre has increased its focus on international collaboration. Via the Research Council of Norway’ s programme INTPART, DrillWell leads a project under the NorTex umbrella that increases the collaboration between parties in Norway and the state of Texas. The project provides research exchange, joint publications and organises joint seminars in Houston and Stavanger. Participants in the project include SFI Offshore Mekatronikk, GCE NODE, and two universities in Texas, the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University in Houston.
Most significant results from DrillWell during the period 2011-2016:
- A computer model has been developed that is used to optimise clearing wells of drill cuttings. The model has already proved to be of great value in use for wells on the Norwegian continental shelf.
- Prototype computer models within the field of drilling optimisation have been installed at an oil company for testing and usage.
- Solubility of gas in oil-based drilling fluid is measured at high pressure and temperature and great differences have been demonstrated in solubility on drilling fluids with different oil bases. This could have great significance for safety when drilling wells with high pressure.
- Experiments have been made to study how cement in wells can degrade if the well is exposed to temperature variations when changing between production and injection. The work is expected to be significant for optimising cement mixes.
- In full-scale experiments is has been shown that it is possible to achieve a good placing of cement in production pipe and in the annulus between production pipe and casing for wells that are to be plugged and permanently abandoned. This result could lead to great cost savings by avoiding the need to pull the production pipe before the well is plugged.
- For the first part, a new full-scale well laboratory is built and initial attempts have been made. The laboratory is established for the testing of measuring equipment that is used to evaluate the quality of barriers behind the casing by permanent plugging of wells.
- There has been a lot of activity with the dissemination of results at international conferences, the Centre’s annual seminar and mini-seminars at the customers. Production of journal articles for publication increased significantly in 2016.
- Three PhD candidates defended their doctoral dissertations in 2016 and were awarded degrees.
The Research Council has approved the centre’s plans for phase 2, which runs from summer 2016 to summer 2019.
Plugging and abandoning wells
Plugging and abandonment of wells (P&A) is an area of strategic focus for IRIS Energy. With the activities in DrillWell, which includes the supplemental funding from Petromaks, we have a project portfolio of NOK 46 million with the projects “Cementing Irregular Wellbore Geometries,” “Leakage Risk Assessment for Plugged & Abandoned Wells” and “Technologies for Barrier Evaluation.” In 2016, we organised a P&A workshop in Houston under OTC 2016 within the framework of our international project, NorTex Data Science Cluster. We have further developed our test facilities within the field of cement evaluation. We are seeing a growing demand for research and