What is Project 20KTM?
- BP announced the launch of Project 20K™ in February 2012 to develop conceptual engineering designs for a new breed of advanced technology offshore drilling rigs, critical to unlocking the next frontier of deepwater oil and gas r esources. 20K™ stands for new technology that can handle drilling at temperatures of up to 350° Fahrenheit and pressure of 20,000 pounds per square inch.
- It aims to develop technologies over the next decade in four key areas: well design and completions; drilling rigs, riser and blowout prevention equipment; subsea production systems and well intervention and containment.
- A jointly staffed BP and Maersk Drilling engineering team evaluates potential rig concepts applicable to BP’s deepwater portfolio. It performs the engineering studies required to select the optimal design of the 20KTM drilling rigs, riser and blowout prevention equipment.
- The conceptual engineering designs and any resulting patents for the 20KTM rig will be owned by Maersk Drilling and licensed to BP.
When BP was considering how to extract more oil and gas from its existing assets in the Gulf of Mexico, it concluded that the biggest barrier was the capability of the rigs rather than the geology.
That meant it needed more sophisticated drilling technology to handle the high pressure and temperatures – and BP and Maersk Drilling found a good fit with each other. The two companies have embarked on a novel new partnership called Project 20KTM, which is pushing the technological limits of hydrocarbon exploration.
“We chose Maersk Drilling because at that time we believed they possessed the technical skill, creativity, leadership and capability to take this project from concept to reality,” says Kevin Kennelley, BP’s Vice President of Facilities Technology in its Upstream Technology group.
“Since then, we like to say that ‘BP selected Maersk Drilling, and Maersk Drilling selected BP’, because our strategies, capabilities and commitment have been very much aligned since day one, and we have already delivered a measure of success in our partnership in this important endeavour.”
Unlocking the next frontier of deepwater oil and gas resources has become increasingly important as fields mature and extraction from tougher locations moves up the agenda.
The BP and Maersk Drilling partnership is designed to develop rigs that can safely and efficiently operate in high-pressure and high-temperature reservoirs, and hence tap into hydrocarbon reserves that are harder to find and extract. The challenge comes in ensuring that the equipment can stand up to the pressure and temperature, meaning it tends to be larger and hence stronger.
“Generally speaking, we believe portions of the Paleogene play in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico will require Project 20KTM technologies. We also believe Project 20KTM technology will be necessary to maximise the potential of a number of other deepwater plays around the world,” Kennelley says.