Deepwater Drilling

Deepwater Drilling

HXR Drilling Services is an emerging leader in Deepwater Drilling engineering. From exploration activities in Brazil, to large-scale developments in West Africa and HPHT shelf projects in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea, the world is continually turning to offshore drilling to keep production rates up. With the rise of developing nations into industrial powerhouses, the need to explore offshore will continue to grow. HXR’s Deepwater Drilling team has vast experience in offshore drilling, in both deepwater as well as shallow shelf environments, and are well versed in the technical issues inherent in those environments. Transition zones, salt diapirs, water depth changes and geopressured formations are just some of the issues involved, but with over $2 billion a year estimated to be lost due to pressure-related events, having trained personnel on the rig who are dedicated to both Pore Pressure Evaluation as well as monitoring drilling parameters to minimize downtime and optimize drilling efficiency is cheap insurance.

HXR’s Deepwater Drilling Specialists and Pore Pressure Specialists use both ERDPro® and DEEPWATERPro®, two of the industry’s most advanced software suites, to design and monitor even the toughest wells our clients have planned. Experienced in directional drilling or in fluids engineering, our ERD Specialists apply “best-in-class” ERD techniques to help develop the rig team in drilling, tripping and connection practices, as well as provide on-site modeling and trend analysis, watching the well closely for any abnormal events or changes in the trends. Our Pore Pressure Specialists track incoming formation evaluation data, in real time, and process it using a variety of models to give as much warning as possible to the rig team that a potential geopressured zone has been encountered.

HXR’s contribution does not stop at exploration deepwater drilling. HXR also specializes in Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) engineering and is particularly well positioned to assist with offshore development projects, particularly those designed for ERD or complex/deviated wells. It takes a comprehensive team effort and constant communication to successfully perform in the extended reach drilling (ERD) arena. The rig and equipment must be capable of handling increased standpipe pressures, hook loads and torque generated by extreme well plans. Well trajectories and casing programs must be adequately thought out, taking into account torque and drag as well as ECD and surge/swab effects on formation collapse and fracture pressures. Drilling parameters must be kept as such to clean the hole while maintaining wellbore stability and minimizing downhole tool failure. The mud rheology must be controlled to maintain the lowest possible equivalent circulating density (ECD) to ensure that the formation is not fatigued, resulting in wellbore instability, losses, stuck pipe or well control incidents. It is critical that qualified drilling and completions engineers as well as drilling supervisors with the requisite training and experience in ERD operations be available, both on- and off-location, to handle any issues that might arise with these types of specialized wells. To accomplish this, HXR’s Drilling Engineers as well as on-site ERD Specialists and Pore Pressure Specialists utilize ERDPro Well Design Software and DEEPWATERPro Pore Pressure Evaluation software, two of the industry’s most advanced drilling software suites, to design and monitor even the toughest wells our clients have planned.

Deepwater Drilling operations on development projects very commonly require not just ERD engineering and field services (sometime referred to as “Hole Condition Monitoring”), and Pressure Prediction, but also Wellbore Stability services. In fact, one of the main reasons riserless drilling and other types of annular-pressure relief designs are used is to ensure that the formation is not being flexed/stressed any more than necessary. Stress on a wellbore, particularly a high-angle wellbore, can cause borehole failure and significantly add to the cost of a well. Deepwater Drilling operations tend to be be extremely at risk for this because of the difference in hydrostatic pressure between the mud in the riser and the normally pressured rock right below the mudline. Using JewelSuite6, HXR’s Geomechanics Specialists can provide accurate 1-D and 3-D predrill models, and the outputs can be used in our Well Design Studies (WDS) for upcoming wells. Jewelsuite6 can easily generate PP/CP/FP curves, and portray tops and fault traces on well plans. Some of JewelSuite 6 highlights are:


  • Offshore drilling
  • Exploration drilling
  • High-angle and extended reach drilling
  • Underbalanced drilling
  • Complex geology
  • Depleted reservoirs
  • Environmentally sensitive areas
  • Wells in areas of intense stress regimes


  • Accurate calculation of rock properties, overburden, formation pore and fracture pressure, and horizontal stress from well logs and drilling data
  • Minimizes risk and improves safety during drilling
  • Identification of wellbore stability issues in both the predrill design and real time during the drilling phase
  • Optimizes wellpaths
  • Identifies safe mud weights
  • Decreased NPT
  • Decreased lost hole sections/redrills