First ever DNV GL compliant Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) system

Stena Drilling have implemented the industry’s first all-OEM Deepwater DNV GL compliant Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) system providing Clients with a new and innovative means of accessing hydrocarbon reserves that were previously deemed ‘un-drillable’.

Stena Drilling always strive for innovation and new technologies, focussed on continuously seeking opportunities for end customers and operators. In 2016 in the midst of one of the most severe downturns the industry has ever faced, Stena Drilling took the initiative and embarked on one of their most challenging projects to date by purchasing two modular Managed Pressure Drilling systems. This would make the ultra-Deepwater harsh environment DrillMAX/IceMAX fleet an industry leader in the challenging market.

The objective was to install a custom made fully integrated package that would become part of the drilling unit and exclusively operated by Stena Drilling.

The inception of the project involved engaging with MPD subject matter experts from a broad range of service providers to evolve the package for the drillship fleet. The design team encapsulated learnings from previous projects and systems to provide the latest equipment package possible to ensure operational excellence. This includes the shortest and lightest Integrated Riser Joint (IRJ) in the industry. This compact design allows a single Knuckle Boom Crane on the drillship to handle the IRJ in its entirety.

With this system, Stena Drilling elected to conform to the highest standards and so chose to certify the systems in accordance with the latest DNV GL MPD requirements. Stena Carron, in an industry first, now holds the DNV GL DRILL MPD notation. The certification process assessed all the components roles within the system in an operational environment as well as the effect on existing systems on board, ensuring that the isolation, redundancy and safety systems met the standards of the new notation. Stena Drilling is the first and only recipient of this accolade.

To date, Stena Drilling have successfully drilled two MPD wells with no equipment down time, which is an outstanding performance statistic for a new system. Dynamic leak off tests and dynamic pore pressure tests gave the client’s geologists the ability to accurately assess the drilling window to a resolution not currently available without performing a separate formation evaluation. This allowed the client’s engineers to make key decisions on the well design.

MPD in Deepwater may still be considered in its infancy, but Stena Drilling is confident that as governing bodies are becoming more aware of the safety advantages that this equipment brings to the industry, it is very likely that these governing bodies will stipulate MPD as a requirement for future drilling operations. This will initiate a paradigm shift in Deepwater drilling technology. Stena Drilling having pioneered the industry’s first complete Deepwater MPD integrated solution, lead the pack by offering a robust, efficient, fully integrated and safe system to perform Deepwater MPD Operations.


For more information on Stena Drilling MPD capabilities, contact
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