Majors develop cutting-edge subsea drilling technology
On February 2013, the German Wintershall oil and gas company has decided to follow Chevron example in taking shares in the subsea drilling innovative company Badger Explorer aside its key stakeholders ExxonMobil and Statoil.
With the ambition to increase its footprint in the offshore exploration and production in the Norwegian North Sea, BASF‘s Oil and Gas subsidiary Wintershall is jumping on the opportunity to join the major companies in the revolutionary technology currently developed by Badger Explorer for the subsea exploration and production.
Based in Norway, Badger Explorer was established as a company in 2003 at the initiative of the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS) to develop breaking through drilling and well technologies.
The driving concept, also called Badger Explorer, is to drill directly from the seabed without surface equipment to perform formation and reservoir evaluation.
With this solution, Badger Explorer shall be able to monitor the reservoirs continuously online without all the costs, complexity and risks of drilling conventional exploratory wells from a rig or a drilling ship.
The Badger Explorer combines proven technology and proprietary solutions to drill in subsurface conditions.
Once installed by a vessel, Badger Explorer is burying itself in the seabed to drill down hole.
Badger Explorer is designed as a drill bit:
– Powered by only 10 kW electrical motor and gear
– Equipped with sensors
– Featured with communication and data transmission systems
With this equipment Badger Explorer is able to
– Handle cutting and compression constraints
– Deploy an integrated electrical cable for power supply and data transmission
– Record data about formation and reservoir
– Sustain long term continuous data monitoring and reporting
– Reach 3,000 meters depth from the seabed
– Drill at 2 meters per hour
ExxonMobil – Shell – Statoil funded Prototype Program
The Badger Explorer development program has been articulated around three phases:
– Prototype Program
– Demonstrator Program
– Field Pilot Program
This Demonstrator Program is to planned to take three years to prepare the first commercial application to be implemented during the Field Pilot Program.
This Field Pilot Program is targeting to expose the Badger Explorer to a series of formation and reservoirs scaling up the technical and operations challenges.
– Provide Badger Explorer with their respective subsea expertise
– Add their own requirements for the development Badger Explorer at a key period of the Demonstrator Program
Compared with using conventional drillship or rig, Badger Explorer should provide companies with 60 to 80% costs reduction.
Such figures indicate also that the companies partnering in Badger Explorer could perform many more discoveries for the same exploration and production budget.
In addition this technology would reduce risks and environmental impacts so that it should fit perfectly with Arctic and deep offshore conditions.
As a side application Badger Explorer may also be used to assess known but undeveloped oil and gas fields and therefore to speed up the reclassification of probable reserves into proven or recoverable reserves.
All along the exploration phases, Badger Explorer is saving costs and time so that the partnering companies should be able to reduce the cycle time from first discovery to development to 3 or 4 years.