IODP Management International (IODP-MI) has successfully secured funding to support feasibility studies and planning of ultra-deepwater dual-gradient drilling, utilizing the AGR Drilling Services riserless mud-recovery system. The awarded funds come from the DeepStar Consortium, a deepwater industry group that supports deepwater technology development projects, and leverages the industry's financial and technical resources. The winning project, a collaborative effort, will investigate modification of existing commercial technology to allow deep-hole drilling (greater than 2,000 meters, or 6,561 feet) in ultra-deep water.
"This approach represents a major advance,"
explains IODP-MI engineering manager Greg Myers, who heads the project.
"It eliminates mud and cuttings discharges at the seafloor and provides a
cost-saving mud-control technique in the top hole section of ultra-deepwater
wells. It also will grant access to areas of scientific exploration previously
beyond our reach."
According to Myers, the next step of the initiative will be
to prepare an at-sea demonstration of the technology in the Gulf of
Mexico. The JOIDES Resolution, the riserless drilling vessel
dedicated to IODP research through support from the U.S. National Science
Foundation, is the most likely platform to be chosen for this engineering
The Integrated Ocean
Drilling Program (IODP) is an international marine-research drilling program
dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of Earth by drilling, sampling
and monitoring sub-seafloor environments. Currently, 21 countries support and
participate in IODP research activities. For further information, visit