• The Ace Team

Overcoming Deepwater Challenges


Opportunities for hydrocarbon recovery below 1,000ft in deepwater basins are significant. However, these reservoirs present a range of challenges. In this blog, we’ll be looking at a project we did in the Gulf of Mexico, helping to facilitate deepwater drilling.


All those operating in the sector are aware that within deepwater reservoirs, there is huge potential for vast amounts of hydrocarbons, but recovery presents its own set of difficulties. From increased pressure and high temperatures to drilling time and the potential of operating under extreme conditions, it is clear that activity will be far from easy.


As operators in the oil and gas industry look further afield into deepwater wells, overcoming challenges below 1,000ft will be vital to success. While opportunities exist across the globe, deepwater hydrocarbon exploration is particularly relevant to areas offshore like the Gulf of Mexico. With our western hemisphere HQ based in Houston, USA, we have seen first-hand the significant activity in the region.


The Gulf of Mexico is renowned for its extreme weather conditions. Many reservoirs have low permeability and porosity, as well as temperature variations, and drilling at deeper depths means working under greater pressure and temperature.

We assisted an operator in the Gulf of Mexico with a deepwater challenge with the use of our Ace Ratchet Collar Slim (ARC-Slim) and bow spring centralizer, providing a viable alternative to costly centralizer subs.


Our client was operating in 8,000ft of water, and a 13-3/8” liner needed to be run and set inside a 16” casing above a 14-1/2” x 17-1/2” under reamed hole. The 13-3/8” string utilized flush joint connections and was run through the subsea wellhead. The operator had to be confident of the holding capability of the tool they selected under all operating conditions to prevent casing accessories from coming loose, possibly sticking the liner or causing junk in the hole.


A stop collar with a slim design was needed to pass through the 14-3/4” drift of the 16” casing and to provide sufficient holding force. This is especially critical when passing through the wellhead restriction at the mudline, where centralizer insertion force creates the highest load on the centralizer.


Our patented ARC-Slim is specifically designed for such a purpose. The ARC-Slim is able to maintain a holding capability of 90,000 lb under all operating conditions and is specifically designed for close-tolerance applications. This meant it was able to pass tight restrictions and effectively manage surge and swab, allowing faster running speeds for the customer even in formations where there were narrow mud margins.


Thirty ARCs and the centralizers were installed before the pipe was sent to the rig, then run-down hole through the subsea wellhead located in over 8000ft of water to a total depth of over 12,500’ at 70° inclination.


Despite the depth and temperatures, we were able to show that neither impacted the holding capabilities of the ARC-Slim.


Not only do we have this technical expertise, but innovation sits at the heart of everything we do. If a unique challenge exists, we work directly with our clients to tailor solutions to meet their needs.


With installations across 5 continents and almost 30 countries, we are constantly finding new ways to help our customers save time, money and improve operational efficiency.


Our core goal has always been to be a holding force in downhole technology, and while we can’t remove all of the challenges associated with deepwater drilling, we will work alongside you to meet your downhole tool requirements.


Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.

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