Gen Electric (NYSE:GE)
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In a milestone for the global oil and gas industry, GE (NYSE: GE) is
showcasing its new MaxLift 1800 pump system at the 2012 Offshore
Technology Conference (OTC). This product will pave the way for the use
of dual gradient drilling (DGD) technology in challenging deepwater
DGD significantly lessens the impact of the water column on deepwater
drilling. In addition, drillers can reach reservoirs that are
impractical to access using conventional single gradient drilling. The
net effect of DGD will help optimize the productivity, safety and
efficiency of deepwater wells.
Sam Aquillano, vice president—drilling and surface for GE Oil & Gas
said, “For years, deepwater operators and equipment providers worldwide
have investigated ways to explore reservoirs previously thought
unreachable. Following rigorous prototype testing and successful field
trials since 2001, GE’s MaxLift 1800 will make dual gradient drilling a
reality for the industry, helping optimize the safe and efficient future
drilling of deepwater wells.”
To achieve a dual gradient, flow from a well being drilled is diverted
to the MaxLift 1800 pump, which is located above the blow out preventer
and pumps the cuttings-laden mud back to the drilling vessel in an
auxiliary line. The riser is then filled with seawater density fluid, so
the reservoir ‘feels’ as if the rig is located on the seabed since the
MaxLift pumps prevent the hydrostatic pressure of the mud from being
transmitted back to the wellbore. The new GE pump can deliver up to
1,800 gpm at discharge pressures up to 6,600 psi and can handle solids
up to 1.5 inches in diameter.
Deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico and other parts of the world
including West Africa and the Caspian Sea are challenging due to the
narrow pore pressure/fracture gradient environment. The DGD system gives
operators a tool to manage the downhole environment while drilling,
resulting in longer casing strings and/or larger diameter completions.
The DGD system increases drilling efficiency while lowering mechanical
risk and well costs.
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