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Stuck Pipe relaunched

May 26, 1999, 10:00 CEST

The Stuck Pipe project is being re-activated by Statoil in a bid to reduce costs incurred when drillstrings and casing get stuck in a well.

Such problems cost the group roughly NOK 250 million last year, and accounted for a large proportion of its drilling downtime.

The stuck string or casing often has to be cut off and cemented before a new well can be drilled alongside the old one.

Lost time is calculated as the period until the operator is back at the depth where the problem arose. That can sometimes total up to 400 hours at a cost of more than NOK 1 million per day.

"We can't afford that," says staff engineer Per F Kristiansen.

Through an intensive focus on the human factor, Statoil succeeded in reducing its annual stuck pipe costs by roughly NOK 100 million or 30 per cent in 1992-94.

But the number of incidents increased again once the focus on this problem was relaxed.

This is why Statoil, its fellow licensees and the drilling contractors who account for 90 per cent of such operations off Norway have revived the project.

The aim is to avoid all cases of stuck pipe. Experience shows that improvements happen because everyone involved in drilling operations become more attentive and give greater weight to warning signals from the well, Mr Kristiansen explains.

In a new video, supervisors from the drilling contractors commit themselves to avoiding stuck pipe and to increasing efficiency. A reporting system to measure performance will also be introduced.

A number of stuck pipe incidents reflect not only reduced focus on creating the right attitudes, but also increased activity. While Statoil operated 11 rigs in 1994, it now has 22. And wells have become more complex.