An exploration project of this magnitude, with such varied challenges,
necessitated structured project management, planning and execution. The ISPM
actively managed project scope, schedule, cost, quality, risk, human resources,
communication, procurement, and logistics. Central to the project risk
management was the creation of the risk register. Tracked by the ISPM, and
synchronized to the drilling timeline, it ensured that appropriate risks and
mitigation plans were reviewed in a timely manner.
Throughout the drilling program, multidomain experts in an operations
support center (OSC) in Houston shared real-time downhole data with the onsite
team, ISPM, and Tullow staff, via a secure internet collaboration system. This
engendered a holistic approach to problem solving, driving productivity gains.
During the most challenging times— for instance when drilling through
tight pore pressure windows and unconsolidated formations—the OSC was
extended to include GeoServices PreVue real-time geopressure service and M-I
SWACO PressPro RT services, along with Smith Bits and Drilling and Measurement
domain experts. Working cohesively, the team ensured bit and fluid optimization
to deliver the best combination of hole cleaning and hydraulic horsepower to
drill longer intervals with more time in hole, thereby eliminating costly
Considerable planning and administration was required to facilitate the
transport of equipment in, through, and out of Trinidad, Suriname, and French
Guiana. Permits to import, transport, and use the explosives and radioactive
materials required for drilling activities were complicated—some taking
almost a year to obtain. Schlumberger leveraged its global presence, having its
experts in the research center near Paris extend their existing French import,
storage, and usage licenses to cover the required materials. This expedited the
process; ensuring critical materials arrived on the rig when required.
Despite the logistical and technical challenges of the project, and the
limited time available for planning, the well encountered 72 m of net oil pay
in two turbiditic sandstone fans. Tullow's objective of proving the extension
of the Jubilee play across the Atlantic was achieved with an important new
discovery for the company. Also, no lost time or injury incidents were
experienced in over 625,000 personnel hours worked.