From a shut-in offshore Brazil to an order for BJ Energy Services’ next-generation fracturing fleet by Comstock Resources in the Haynesville Shale, below is a compilation of the latest headlines in the E&P space within the past week. 

Activity headlines

Frade FPSO shuts in temporarily

Petro Rio reported on Aug. 15 shutting in production at the Frade Field offshore Brazil due to a malfunction in the FPSO’s inert gas line. The company estimated the shutdown would last five to seven days.

Petrobras selling 40% stake in Potiguar Basin assets

Petrobras announced it is offering 40% interest in its exploratory concessions in BM-POT-17 in the deepwater Potiguar Basin.

Petrobras acquired the POT-M-853 and POT-M-855 blocks in the 7th Bidding Round of the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) in 2006. Petrobras plans to drill the Pitu exploratory well in 2023.

Petrobras acquired the POT-M-762 block in the 15th ANP Bidding Round in 2018, and Petrobras plans to drill the Anhangá well between 2023 and 2024.

Petrobras currently holds 100% stakes in these concessions and will continue as operator of the partnership after the sale.

Contracts and company news

New semi offers ‘extreme’ per-well emissions drop

Huisman has developed a harsh environment semisubmersible drilling rig aimed at providing optimal efficiency while reducing costs and emissions.

Rig design includes a low drag electrified robotic drilling system that offers consistent speed of operation, as well as a heave compensated drilling floor, able to operate in rough seas, to increase the rig’s productivity and uptime. The rig’s sustainability-focused hybrid power system, including energy storage systems storing regenerated energy and 40% reduction of onboard personnel, can reduce emissions by 30% to 40% per well, according to Huisman.

The design also includes a large functional deck space.

The rig can be powered with onshore-produced hydroelectricity, via a power cable from a nearby platform, or by two floating wind turbines, moored next to the rig. Huisman said the “radical but realistic” solutions offer “extreme” low emissions per well.

Jan Atle Andresen, regional director for Huisman Norge, said, “The increased efficiency offered by the harsh environment semisubmersible drilling rig offers costs savings of 25% per well. The greatest gain here, however, is that the added efficiency also facilitates a significant reduction in emissions—up to 86% per well.”

Hart Energy August 2022 - Exploration and Production Highlights - Huisman RigFuture rendering image
Huisman’s new harsh environment semisubmersible drilling rig design can cut emissions by up to 87% per well, according to the company. (Source: Huisman)

FlatFish drone covered under OSRL agreement

Saipem’s FlatFish underwater drone has been included in the extension of the service agreement between Saipem and Oil Spill Response Ltd. (OSRL).

The existing contract provides for the storage, maintenance, training of personnel and readiness including the remote emergency response of the offset installation equipment (OIE). The OIE is a unique system designed to intervene in case of subsea well spills in water depths to approximately 600 m, when direct vertical access is not possible.

The expanded Services Agreement includes the deployment of FlatFish, the subsea drone developed by Sonsub, Saipem center of excellence for underwater technologies and robotics, for a range of offshore tasks, including survey, leakage detection, through water column plume and dispersant concentration monitoring, environmental assessment, and patrolling.

FlatFish is part of Saipem’s Hydrone robotic development program, consisting of a series of subsea drones able to perform fully automatic inspection, surveillance, maintenance and rescue operations efficiently, safely and in an environmentally friendly manner. In particular, FlatFish is able to autonomously perform complex inspections of subsea assets.

In May, Saipem announced Shell and Petrobras had awarded Saipem a contract to use the FlatFish subsea drone in two pilot projects including inspection campaigns of two ultradeepwater fields offshore Brazil.

Hart Energy August 2022 - Exploration and Production Highlights - Shell Brazil and Saipem FlatFish project 2018 image
Shell Brazil and Saipem together launched commercially the FlatFish project in 2018. (Source: Shell Brazil)

TITAN fleet for Comstock’s Haynesville operation

BJ Energy Solutions said it will provide Comstock Resources Inc. with its second TITAN next-generation fracturing fleet, to be deployed to Comstock’s Haynesville operation in early 2023 under a multiyear agreement.

BJ Energy delivered the first TITAN Fleet to Comstock in April.

“On the first two pads that were completed using the TITAN fleet, we eliminated 1.4 million gallons of diesel fuel, replaced by cleaner-burning natural gas. The environment was positively impacted by removing approximately 2,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Comstock COO Dan Harrison. “This fleet has played a key role in helping us minimize our completion cost as the cost of diesel has increased significantly. The completions cost on those first two pads were reduced by 15% compared to using one of our conventional diesel fleets.”

TITAN includes direct drive 5,000 horsepower natural gas-fired, turbine-driven pumps. Beginning in late 2022, BJ will launch additional technologies to complement the TITAN pumping platform, including a 4 MW mobile power generation unit to power the electric TruDuo blender and other modularized equipment.

Viasat joins Inteliwell JV

Communications company Viasat Inc. announced it has agreed to join Inteliwell, a joint venture (JV) with Transocean Ltd. and Intelilift AS, a subsidiary of Nekkar ASA.

Inteliwell aims to decrease drilling times through rig automation and streamlining of the well construction process using processes and tools driven by artificial intelligence (AI). Inteliwell will offer applications to provide an end-to-end, closed-loop workflow for well construction planning, execution, and monitoring.

INTELIE, which was part of the company's 2021 RigNet acquisition, will provide operational AI expertise, real-time data analytics, and planning components to the Inteliwell JV.

"INTELIE is already in use on the majority of drill ships today for real-time analytics and remote operating centers. Through the Inteliwell JV, we are poised to accelerate autonomous well construction while reducing cost and improving safety," said Brendan Sullivan, senior vice president of intelligent edge solutions at Viasat Inc.

Scott McKaig, director for technology and digital solutions at Transocean, said, “By aligning expertise from the three entities in our platform, we will be advancing the well construction process from preparing a well program to completion of the well. This advancement will streamline planning, increase rig site efficiency and reduce unplanned non-productive time to generate significant cost savings that can be realized quickly by the well operators.”

The offering, which can be applied across all rig classes, will be comprised of InteliPlan, InteliAutomate and InteliAssist.

Intellilift Managing Director Stig Trydal said, “In short, the JV will provide software solutions combined with automation that are designed to allow operators to further improve the consistency of their operations while reducing drilling costs through more reliable and faster drilling operations.”

Oil States brings E-Flow Control into the fold

Oil States Industries Inc. (OSI) has acquired Aberdeen-based E-Flow Control Holdings Ltd. (EFC), a controls, monitoring, instrumentation and handling company.

The transaction expands Oil States’ electrification and digitalization capabilities by adding integrated control packages to the company’s drilling, deepsea minerals systems and renewables product offerings.

EFC specializes in high-integrity, fully integrated control and hydraulic power systems with touchscreen user interfaces that allow for digital twin data visualization and control of assets. EFC provides turnkey packages that enable remote operation of heavy-duty hydraulic, pneumatic and electric functions while providing automation, monitoring, notification and data acquisition. According to the company, pairing EFC controls with OSI technologies should further enhance vessel safety and remove personnel from the red zone.

Hart Energy August 2022 - Exploration and Production Highlights - Oil States Industries managed pressure drilling and riser gas handling system rendering image
OSI’s managed pressure drilling and riser gas handling system is powered, operated and fully monitored by EFC controls. (Source: Oil States Industries Inc.)

Hunting to Shenandoah supply stress joints

Hunting Plc announced winning a contract to provide titanium stress joints through multiple EPC contractors for Beacon Offshore Energy’s Shenandoah development in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hunting will provide two 10.75-inch titanium grade 29 stress joints for production, one 16-inch titanium grade 23 stress joint for gas export, and one 18-inch titanium grade 23 stress joint for oil export.

Shenandoah is located in Walker Ridge blocks 51, 52 and 53 in water depths of 1,700 m to 1,900 m.