Drilling: Managed Pressure Drilling in the GOM--Regulatory Issues
The U.S. Minerals Management Service regulates drilling operations that take place in federal waters of the
Statistically, operations in the GoM are being drilled to much greater depths and encountering much more difficult environments. Offshore exploration of sub-salt strata has introduced extremely difficult drilling challenges. The oil and gas industry has pushed the limits of conventional drilling procedures beyond economic feasibility. The emergence of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) has provided a glimpse of the drilling technique that can economically move our industry to difficult target acquisition. MPD can significantly improve costs and personnel safety during offshore operations. However, regulatory approval lags the advent of this new technology. The petroleum industry must align itself with the MMS to bolster education on the topics of MPD, to examine and modify regulations and to safely execute managed pressure operations in the GoM. This presentation will address the current status of MPD technology and illustrate some MPD conflicts with current regulations.
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