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North Sea drilling method is industry first for Centrica

Centrica Energy Norway has just finished drilling a pilot hole for shallow gas on the Butch field in the North Sea. Instead of using a rig for the job, a well intervention vessel was chartered and coiled tubing drilling (CTD) was used. It is likely the first time this technology has been used this way in the oil and gas industry, not only on the Norwegian shelf, but also in a global context.

The background for drilling the pilot hole was to remove the risk of shallow gas at the planned drill centre location at the Butch field. The method was first tested in a road construction project in Rogaland County, Norway, in 2014.

“Using this technology to drill a pilot hole is groundbreaking. We reduce risk and save a lot of money,” says project manager Espen Kopperud of Centrica Energy Norway.

The technology now used for the first time in drilling for the oil and gas industry has previously been employed to take core samples in work on undersea tunnels in the Rogfast road project in Rogaland County, Norway.

“We have to work smarter and cheaper, while maintaining safety levels. I believe strongly in following what happens outside our own sector, and also daring to test new technology. Many industries have exciting solutions that we can also use. Island Offshore and their drilling technology are good examples of this,” says Kopperud.

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