A Seven Mile Hole

One of the good things about being in the oil industry is that you are never far from some seriously impressive technology, and Sakhalin Island is no exception.  This article from Upstream Online

US supermajor ExxonMobil said an extended reach well at its Sakhalin 1 project on Russia’s Pacific Sakhalin Island had set a world record for the longest measured depth.

The company said the Z-11 directional well, drilled by its local unit Exxon Neftegas, had reached a total measured depth of 11,282 metres, or over seven miles.

The well was drilled to the Chayvo field, which lies eight to 11 kilometres offshore, from the Yastreb rig, the world’s largest land rig. The Z-11 well was the 17th extended-reach well drilled at the Sakhalin 1 project.

ExxonMobil said the well was drilled in 61 days, ahead of schedule and below cost. It said the well was drilled using its proprietary Integrated Hole Quality and Fast Drill Process technologies.

The Chayvo field reached peak output of 250,000 barrels of oil per day in February after starting production in October 2005.

As the article says, the oilfield being drilled lies offshore Sakhalin Island.  Rather than going to the expense of building an offshore platform, the Exxon-led consortium simply plonked a gigantic drilling rig on the beach and drilled diagonally out to sea.  Being able to drill a hole 7 miles deep is impressive, let alone being able to drill such a hole into a pressurised hydrocarbon reservoir.

One day, when the oil age has gone the way of the stone age and the iron age, historians will record how man managed to recover hydrocarbons from the world’s most inaccessible places and people will marvel at the ingenuity and the technology they used to do it.  The North Sea platforms and the ultra-deep water semi-submersibles in the Mexican Gulf will likely be the subject of documentaries for centuries to come. 

The engineering feats that have been achieved, and are still being achieved, in the oil and gas industry will never be forgotten; I take comfort in the fact that I am involved in this, and that my contribution – along with that of thousands of others – will collectively never be forgotten either.

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5 Responses to A Seven Mile Hole

  1. Mike says:

    Where are you ?

  2. W. Shedd says:

    Yep, when there is a dollar to be made, technology can be damn impressive.

    As a result, I’m not convinced that peak oil or the “oil age” will be ending anytime soon, however. As the price increases, it seems that tapping alternative methods of extracting petroleum products or hydrocarbons become more and more and more viable. Tar sands in Canada, USAs Green River oil shale formation and even our vast coal reserves are only just beginning to be used (those are just off the top of my head).

  3. dearieme says:

    I prefer oil-boiling myself, but you can’t boil it until someone’s produced it.

  4. JJ says:

    Aw, schucks! Ain’t we terrific.

  5. Impressive, indeed. Especially as I have some idea how hard it is to keep a non-vertical hole anywhere near on line.

    Still, before you get too happy, ask yourself this: will the evidence of your efforts still be visible to the naked eye from space in a million years?

    Dirt Shifters Rule!

    :-)

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