Case Study

Safely delaying and saving $2 million


Deepest ultra-deepwater well drilled in North West Europe


Zero lost time incidents


Providence Resources Plc is an Irish based Oil and Gas Exploration Company with a diversified portfolio of appraisal and exploration licences and concessions located offshore Ireland.

This project was the first ultra-deepwater exploration well to be drilled by any operator West of Ireland and NW Europe. The well was to be drilled in a remote location without any existing infrastructure, and with limited and distant offset well data.

Providence contracted LR to assist with managing the well design, construction and operations of the 53/6-1 ultra-deepwater exploration well, and associated pilot hole (53/6-SB01), on the Druid / Drombeg prospect West of Ireland.

The project had a very tight timeframe, with only a nine-month window from contract award to the planned well spud date. There was a relatively new and demanding regulatory regime in Ireland which required considerable focus throughout.

The well design had to allow for two drilling targets to be reached and include detailed contingencies to cover a possible narrow drilling margin between fracture and pore pressure.

In terms of logistics infrastructure, Ireland had facilities to provide quayside services and crew change services, but was not served by any drilling related service companies. Waste management was also a key issue due to a lack of facilities capable of treating drilling related wastes.

How we helped

We provided discipline specific inspectors in Las Palmas to participate in a rig inspection and rig acceptance programme to ensure that the drilling unit was delivered fit for purpose. This was completed immediately after the rig’s first five-year SPS.

We provided a full drilling department responsible for project management, contracts and procurement support throughout the project and supervision of well operations. We also managed the pre-drilling site survey and site investigation, which was carried out in a very tight timeline involving the use of state-of-the-art autonomous survey vehicle technology. The drillship was also positioned with the aid of the LR ‘IRIS’ web-based GIS and data management system.

We delivered a competent ultra-deepwater well design philosophy for the Porcupine Basin area, using limited offset well data and high uncertainty regarding PPFG, in a very short time frame in order to meet Irish legislative requirements and the client’s requirement to drill in 2017.

A full logistics team was set up, with operations centered in Cork, supplemented with additional support from the Aberdeen office.

We supported the client with QHSE participation throughout the project.

We delivered contract and procurement support to assist Providence in establishing 48 contracts and 37 purchase orders in a nine-month period.

Expertise applied:

  • Drilling Project management for an Ultra-Deepwater well offshore Ireland
  • Logistics support for remote drilling operations
  • Discipline specific inspectors to support the rig intake and acceptance programme
  • Regulatory support for CRU (CER) and PAD submission requirements
  • Contract and Procurement support to ensure contractual compliance with Irish law

The impact

The 53/6-1 Ultra Deepwater well was designed utilising a full hole well architecture to drill and evaluate the Druid (Primary) and underlying Drombeg (Secondary) reservoir targets.

The 53/6-1 well was spudded in 2,233m of water depth – the deepest water depth for any well drilled in NW Europe up to that time. Due to the frontier nature of the planned exploration well, a 12-¼” pilot hole (53/6-SB01) was drilled to the depth of the 20” shoe before executing the main well bore. The 36” conductor was installed by jetting before the well was drilled ahead vertically, setting a 21” x 20” surface casing string, a 13-5/8” intermediate casing string and a 9 5/8” production liner. Total depth below rotary was reached in 8-½” hole at 5,281m TVD MDBRT before a wireline logging campaign was completed. Except for the surface hole section, Oil Based drilling fluid was used throughout.

The well was permanently plugged and abandoned in accordance with the Oil & Gas UK Guidelines for the Suspension & Abandonment of Wells, Issue 5, July 2015 and the Petroleum Affairs Division Rules and Procedures Manual, May 2014.

Logistically, the project was completed with no delays attributable to materials or personnel shortages. The local customs arrangements were challenging, but operations were compliant with applicable legislation. Costs were tracked during the operations to within 3% of the final well total, with a system of vendor cost trackers successfully implemented to facilitate this.

On completion of the project, an efficient close out was completed, with all remaining materials either credited for or sold.


  • The well was delivered with Zero lost time incidents (LTIs), injuries or harm to personnel
  • The project was delivered to the required timeline in summer 2017
  • Effective delivery of all regulatory requirements prior to well spud
  • ‘Frontier’ well logistics support ensured critical path operations were not compromised

Providence Resources contracted Lloyd’s Register to provide support for the well planning and operation of the 53/6-1 deep-water exploration well in the Porcupine Basin offshore Ireland. Working under a tight timeframe, all aspects of the well programme were executed successfully and in full compliance with regulatory requirements

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