OTC Commentary: Industry must address uncertainty, efficiency and reliability

By Mark Richard

I have been involved in deep water exploration and development for a great deal of my career. Growing up in Louisiana, I witnessed market cycles first hand.

From my start as a wireline logging engineer through roles in the Gulf of Mexico, Asia Pacific and beyond I’ve learned that every cloud indeed has its silver lining and the same can be said for the current deep water market. As offshore activity slowly starts to improve, our industry’s relentless focus on efficiency and cost reduction during the latest downturn will likely become the standard for our future business.

Deep water development is very complex and often dominated by the largest players. The costly and time-intensive nature of the projects requires long-term planning and a different way of thinking compared to onshore plays. This market is not for everyone, but for those who have survived the downturn, three things must be foremost in our minds: reducing uncertainty, increasing reliability and increasing efficiency.

Halliburton believes solving each of these challenges will be critical to helping our customers maximize production in deep water wells in a recovering market.

Reducing uncertainty can be achieved in a number of ways, including the use of more advanced technologies to acquire accurate and reliable reservoir insight that will allow operators to hit the sweet spot in a reservoir. When it comes to drilling techniques, for instance, having the ability to guide the bit with precision into the right area adds value to our customer assets, and managing the entire process remotely reduces our costs.

For increasing reliability, it is important to integrate services and automate more functions to continuously improve completions design and generate more value for our customers. For instance, Halliburton offers the HCS AdvantageOneTM Offshore Cementing System, an OTC Spotlight on New Technology Award-winning technology that automates the concentration of liquid additive and constantly measures inventory and delivery rates to help ensure accurate job execution.

Finally, to increase efficiency, Halliburton collaborates with our customers to help them optimize well construction, manage low-equivalent circulating density and maintain wellbore stability. Managed pressure drilling (MPD) allows us to properly navigate the challenging pressure windows between pore and fracture pressure found in complex wells. Drilling with MPD gives operators the ability to rapidly adjust bottom hole pressure to help lower the risks associated with mitigating kicks, losses and wellbore stability issues.

Halliburton offers the GeoBalance® MPD services to help operators maintain control and manage pressure related challenges confidently for minimizing risks and reducing non-productive time.

Until the deep water market recovers, the number of projects will continue to be limited and the ability to successfully deliver these wells will require continued innovation. We must continue to collaborate with our customers to lower the cost of deep water projects for the long term.

As we look to the future, we will continuously seek to reduce the uncertainty around these challenging projects, improve our reliability and increase the efficiency with which we execute to lower the breakeven cost for our customers. We see the deepwater market slowly coming back to life, but the future will depend on our ability to develop new and more efficient ways of operating in this environment.

Going forward, the way we listen and respond to our customers’ needs and the way we look for continuous improvements will drive not only our ability to recover, but to thrive.

Mark Richard is senior vice president of Global Business Development & Marketing for Halliburton.