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Oil majors back ‘revolutionary’ robotic rig technology

31st October 2012

Statoil, ConocoPhilips and Norske Shell to provide financial backing for USD 160m pilot project to develop fully automated CMR drilling technology

Oil majors back ‘revolutionary’ robotic rig technology
With current technology, drilling has to be halted every 30 metres so that additional lengths of pipe can be attached to the drillstring

Oil majors Statoil, ConocoPhilips and Norske Shell will back West Group subsidiary and Norwegian technology firm WeST Drilling Products (WDP) in the development of a new fully-robotized drilling technology set to revolutionise the oil and gas sector.

WDP on Tuesday said it has secured approximately USD 7m in funding from the Norwegian Research Council, in addition to financial backing from Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Shell for the USD 160m pilot project to develop the Continuous Motion Rig technology (CMR).

The CMR equipment “enables continuous drilling” and allows for “substantial efficiency improvements” and “corresponding cost reductions,” WDP said in a press release. It is being developed with the aim of boosting drilling efficiency to maximise oil recovery off Norway, on the country’s continental shelf.

The CMR technology can help achieve several well-related improvements, including fully automated and constant drilling operations both onshore and offshore by enabling drillpipe and casing to be fed continuously into the well with full circulation. With current technology, drilling has to be halted every 30 metres so that additional lengths of pipe can be attached to the drillstring. A Single CMR rig for sale on WDP’s website starting at USD 12m is described as having a weight of 150 tonnes and height of tower of 33 metres, in addition to a hoisting speed and a continuous tripping speed of 1 metre and 0.5 metres per second, respectively, and a lifting capacity of 2 x 125 tonnes.

The project will have three chief goals: new field development on the Norwegian Continental Shelf through new and cost efficient technology and implementation models; increased safety for implementation within budget and plan; and new Norwegian industrial products for sale around the world.

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