Demystified


Going with the grains

Drilling and completions practices have driven demand for frac sand to new highs and threaten shortages in some prime shale regions. But what qualities make a sand suitable for fracking, and where is the industry looking for solutions to supply chain challenges.


Keeping it steel

Carbon steel may be strong, but it is no match for the corrosive effects of seawater. However, cathodic protection helps preserve the integrity of offshore steel structures.


Fault finding

Earthquakes are mysterious phenomena. For millennia, they happened naturally. But in the last eight years, human activity has induced thousands of earthquakes in the American heartland. Jennifer Pallanich helps clear up some of the confusion surrounding induced and natural earthquakes.


Unlocking hydrates for future fuel

While only a fraction of the Earth’s mindboggling amount of gas hydrates may be technically recoverable, scientists studying these ice-like hydrocarbons still see plenty of upside for the potential fuel source, as Jennifer Pallanich reports.


Stacked with care

In the face of ultra-low rig utilisation rates, drilling contractors are stacking more rigs than ever. Laying up a drillship incorrectly can pave the way for damage to the structure and crucial systems, costing extra time and money to reactivate the asset, writes Jennifer Pallanich.


Current affairs

While currents exist in many places in the world, the phenomenon known as the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current cuts through a prime oil and gas producing region, where the current and its eddies can complicate deepwater activities. Meteorologist Steve Lyons explains the ins and outs of the Loop Current to Jennifer Pallanich.


The skinny on slender wells

Slender well technology has generated limited industry interest since it was introduced about 20 years ago. But with the pressure on to reduce drilling costs, that could be about to change, as Russell McCulley learns.


Pressure drop

High integrity pressure protection systems (HIPPS) create a “spec break” in production systems to improve safety. BP’s Christopher Curran tells Jennifer Pallanich about the challenges of taking HIPPS technology to extreme water depths.


Simple concept, complex applications

A thorough understanding of the six degrees of freedom, a basic concept in mechanical engineering, is essential to the design of robotics, dynamic positioning systems, marine structures and motion compensation systems, to name a few.