World-Class Drilling on Valhall Flank West

June 19, 2020 | Oil & Gas | Energy Facts Staff Writer | 3min

The drilling programme on Valhall Flank West is now complete. Over the course of 11 months, the Maersk Invincible rig set 12 conductors, drilled nine wells and drilled 22,000 metres of reservoir.

“The jack-up rig alliance between Aker BP, Maersk Drilling and Halliburton has delivered world-class performances. We’re demonstrating that the strategy of creating increased value through alliances yields results,” confirms Aker BP’s SVP Drilling and Wells Tommy Sigmundstad.

Maersk Invincible arrived on the Valhall field in late June last year. After the 12 first large conductors were set, the rig drilled an average of one well per month. A total of nine wells have been drilled and completed. Three of these are multibranch wells.

“This would not have been possible without a strong alliance team capable of bringing out the very best efforts in each other. Compared with a comparable campaign completed outside the alliance, we see an improvement of 88 per cent in average rate of penetration and 186 per cent improvement in connection times. Congratulations go out to everyone involved,” says Sigmundstad.

Aker BP, Maersk Drilling and Halliburton World-Class Drilling on Valhall Flank West

First alliance project for the rig

The drilling programme on Valhall Flank West is the first project delivered through the alliance and Maersk Invincible.

“It all started with batch setting 12 conductors, where we had a fantastic learning curve and ended up 15 days ahead of our estimated time consumption. This learning curve has simply continued to grow. We’ve had some challenges, but they were resolved in a very good way because the whole team has pulled in the same direction. Now, as we look ahead, it’s important that we capture the lessons learned, so the alliance can continue to deliver good projects,” says drilling superintendent Anders Linndal.

Aker BP, Maersk Drilling and Halliburton World-Class Drilling on Valhall Flank West

2278 metres in one day

Last winter, the rig set a new record on the Norwegian Shelf when it drilled 2278 metres in a 12¼” section in 24 hours. Maximum drilling speed achieved by the rig on the record-breaking day was 280 metres per hour.

“I want to thank the entire drilling and subsurface team offshore and on land. We achieved this milestone because we’re constantly improving all parts of our performances. Behind this record lies a lot of hard work, fantastic craftsmanship and a strong team throughout the entire operation,” says assistant drilling superintendent Knut Eugen Svendsen in Aker BP.

“We push the envelope because we constantly manage to tackle bottlenecks together, as an alliance team,” says Tor Kvinnesland, Rig Manager on Maersk Invincible.

Maersk Invincible also held the previous drilling record in Aker BP, with 1953 metres drilled in a single day. That record was also set on a well on Valhall Flank West.

Important contribution to Valhall

Valhall Flank West came on stream in December 2019, just two years after the Plan for Development and Operation was submitted to the Norwegian authorities. The giant Valhall field has produced more than one billion barrels of oil equivalent since the field was opened in 1982. The ambition is to produce another billion barrels over the next 40 years. Valhall Flank West is an important contribution.

Maersk Invincible will remain on the field through the summer to assist in ongoing well stimulation work. Aker BP has been the first company in the world to use a new method of well stimulation offshore. The single-trip multi-frac technology (link), which yields faster and thus less costly stimulation, is used on Valhall Flank West.

Four wells have started producing so far. The remainder are expected to start up through the year.