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Steve Combe

Our deep water drilling team completed a complex well operation in record time, saving the client £10m in the well delivery process.

The challenge

To rapidly deliver a deep water well in a highly challenging environment

AGR’s Well Management was contracted by Starc Limited to deliver a new and very challenging deep water exploration well in 1,327m water depth, off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, West Africa.

The commitment to develop ‘Block X’ began after a production-sharing contract between Starc Limited, Glencore Exploration EG (a subsidiary of Swiss-based Glencore International) and Equatorial Guinea’s national oil company, GEPetrol, was agreed upon. Soon after, AGR was engaged by Starc Limited and asked to rapidly ramp up activity when a suitable rig – the dual activity Stena DrillMax drillship – became available.

But successfully delivering this deep water well was going to be anything but straightforward. The project had a number of complicating factors, including; very limited offset data, significant risk of overpressure, multiple logistical hurdles (operating across five customs regimes), managing the rig intake after completion of the shipyard workscope and a late decision to deepen the well by an extra 250m.

The solution

Trusted project management, collaboration and the ability to hit the ground running

Given the rapid turnaround times, along with the various other challenging aspects of this deep water well, expert planning, project management and logistics coordination were all essential. AGR’s Well Management team managed the project remotely, with some of the consumables for the project transported from Scotland to Equatorial Guinea.

In addition, being able to communicate effectively with a number of service companies involved in the project would be key to ensuring that all stakeholders had full visibility of the project.

The outcome

A deeper than planned well completed in record time and £10m under budget

Following a refit during a shipyard stay in Las Palmas, the Stena DrillMax sailed to the well location. The ‘X-1’ well was completed just in 20 days. This was six days ahead of AFE and contributed to project cost savings of around £10m.

This was achieved despite having to drill 250m deeper than originally planned. The timescale in which the well was completed is widely believed to be a record for the area and was the first exploration well in ‘Block X’ in Equatorial Guinea.

You can read how we solved the logistics challenges for the well project here.

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