Update from the frontline: Drilling the undrillable

It was just another day on board the harsh environment jack-up rig, Mærsk Innovator, when Rig Manager Henrik Hundebol received a call from customer ConocoPhillips.

Update from the frontline: Drilling the undrillable

Having faced downhole formation stability issues while drilling some wells at the Eldfisk 2/7 S platform, which was recently added to the Eldfisk complex, it was decided there was an immediate need for the instalment of a Managed Pressure Drilling System (MPD) in order to stabilize the downhole formation. The MPD equipment was brought on board the rig by customer ConocoPhillips.    

The timeline for the system procurement approval with classification society, installation offshore, commissioning and crew training was extremely tight and required immediate actions. However, just a few hours after it was decided to install the MPD, a dedicated team was already taking shape in Maersk Drilling. 

“The only way to succeed in such circumstances is to act as one team,” states Konstantin Puskarskij, Project Manager in Maersk Drilling’s Technical Organisation whom, booked his flight to Stavanger, Norway on the next day to sit with the customer to scope the project execution plan.

An important milestone was the system risk assessment. The international certification body and classification society, DNV GL brought in subject matter experts to help assess the safety concerns captured during the risk assessment exercise. The systems design was finally confirmed by DNV GL when they issued the approval letter for the deployment of the Apply On Demand System (APOD). 
A variation of the MPD system, focused on keeping the bottom hole pressure constant on drill pipe connections or while tripping, hereby protecting the overburden formation from collapsing into the wellbore.

To ensure spotless offshore installation while the rig was in operation, the system was pre-assembled inside the Halvorsen workshop in Stavanger, Norway where it was tested and inspected by DNV GL.

The installed system was successfully used on the 2/7S-26 well, which previously experienced a number of side tracks, and recently on well 2/7S-18, which based on the feedback from the offshore crew, has been one of the smoothest drilling experience through the duration of the Eldfisk S drilling campaign.

 “The satisfaction and recognition expressed by ConocoPhillips on helping them with this urgent matter once again proves that our organisation is very agile and able to mobilize quickly in order to accommodate our customers’ needs,” says Henrik Hundebol.

ConocoPhillips and Maersk Drilling are currently discussing further enhancements of the system in order to unlock even greater value for the Eldfisk S campaign.

 “This is all about addressing customers’ and needs and Maersk Drilling pain points. This is where we differentiate ourselves from our competitors,” explains Konstantin Puskarskij.

 “We are always just one phone call away. We are treating and solving their challenges as if they were our own”, concludes Rig Manager Henrik Hundebol.

What is Managed Pressure Drilling?

Managed pressure drilling (MPD) is an adaptive drilling process used to precisely control the annular pressure profile throughout the wellbore. The objectives are to ascertain the downhole pressure environment limits and to manage the annular hydraulic pressure profile accordingly. The primary function of an MPD system is to maintain wellbore pressures within the well design envelope while providing both a means of adding fluids to the wellbore and allowing controlled volumes to be removed from wellbore.


Kristoffer Apollo
Kristoffer Apollo
Head of Media Relations

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