Pacific Santa Ana drillship

Dual Gradient Technology – A Game-Changer for Offshore Drilling

Rob Almeida
Total Views: 25
December 20, 2011

Pacific Drilling S.A. (NYSE:PACD) (NOTC:PDSA) announced today that it has received delivery of its newest drillship, the Pacific Santa Ana.  The drillship features the most advanced drilling technology in the offshore drilling industry, including dual load path capability and the latest in dual gradient drilling technology.  This vessel, and the technology on board her, is the culmination of over 15 years of research and development.  Should this technology prove reliable and efficient, it could revolutionize the entire offshore drilling industry.

Pacific Drilling CEO, Chris Beckett, stated, “We are very proud to announce the delivery of the Pacific Santa Ana. This drillship incorporates the newest advances in offshore drilling technology and is the first ultra-deepwater rig equipped for dual gradient drilling, an innovation that is expected to provide significant benefits in drilling safety and efficiency. The delivery of the Pacific Santa Ana, the fourth rig in our fleet, completes the first phase of Pacific Drilling’s growth strategy to become the industry’s preferred ultra-deepwater drilling contractor.”

The Pacific Santa Ana is capable of operating in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and drilling wells 40,000 feet deep.


About Dual Gradient Drilling

Dual Gradient Drilling is the solution to how to mitigate the negative affects of the hydrostatic pressure found within the drilling riser while drilling in deep water, one that has been highly supported Chevron.

dual gradient drilling


Improves safety – restores riser margin (mud is not needed in riser to control the well)
Improves drilling performance – deeper wells can be designed with fewer casing strings
Addresses pressure management issues – can manage pressures precisely and quickly, leading to significant reductions in NPT
Enables complementary production enhancement technologies – fewer casings provide the option for larger casing in reservoir

In a report by Chevron’s David Dowell, and AGR’s Terri Smith, they state:

The advances we make as a result of implementing DGD technology are certain to remove the “almost undrillable” label from many wells, and are also likely to simplify deepwater operations generally. No doubt our search for energy will once again be confronted with new challenges, but for now, the DGD system represents a powerful breakthrough – the culminating achievement in an entire generation of remarkable deepwater technologies.

With its best-in-class drillships and highly experienced team, Pacific Drilling is a fast growing company that is committed to becoming the industry’s preferred ultra-deepwater drilling contractor. Pacific Drilling’s fleet of six ultra-deepwater drillships will represent one of the youngest and most technologically advanced fleets in the world. The company currently operates four recently delivered drillships and has two additional drillships on order at Samsung to be delivered in 2013.


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