High-Pressure/High-Temperature Challenges

The engineering, design, qualification, and implementation of drilling, completion, production, and intervention equipment for high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) developments present significant challenges.

The engineering, design, qualification, and implementation of drilling, completion, production, and intervention equipment for high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) developments present significant challenges in terms of resources necessary to pursue and complete these wells successfully. Specialized expertise is needed, and systematic and thorough engineering and testing programs must be followed. Material assurance, manufacturing reliability, quality assurance, and inspection systems are also pivotal in underpinning a project’s success.

The industry has addressed these challenges successfully and established a track record with decades of achievements through numerous HP/HT developments. This includes a range of basins globally and has resulted in a strong foundation of capability and technology to enable further exploration and development of resources in HP/HT reservoirs. Building on this established foundation, the industry continues to enhance these HP/HT capabilities further and has implemented innovative collaborative means to do so.

A familiar form of collaboration occurs when an operating company teams up with a service or equipment provider in order to support a focused development effort for a particular equipment component or system. The operating company brings to this collaborative effort the specific information on environmental conditions and the functional requirements necessary for the equipment or system to meet project objectives. The service or equipment provider brings specialized product and system know-how on materials, design, optimization, qualification, manufacturing, and quality assurance. Together, these parties work to deliver HP/HT functional successes addressing that operator’s need. A recent example of such collaboration involved the development of specialized HP/HT logging-while-drilling services capable of operating at downhole pressures of 30,000 psi and temperatures of 400°F. These new tools and services were used successfully in more than 20 wells in a deep gas development in Southeast Asia. The systems improved drilling performance for this offshore, shelf-based operation and enabled millions of dollars in project cost efficiencies.

A more sophisticated form of such collaboration is “coopetition.” The term has been used before to capture the dynamics of collaboration in select areas while retaining other elements of industry competition. Specifically, there are several significant industry projects in which operating companies are working jointly with equipment or service providers to deliver new levels of HP/HT capabilities.  While cooperating within these projects to develop these capabilities, the operating companies remain competitors with regard to leasing, exploration, development, and operation of their respective HP/HT developments. Examples of this include agreements targeting new HP/HT capabilities to address deepwater development needs, including 20,000-psi well pressures and 350°F well temperatures at the mudline. These capabilities will enable development of the Paleogene and Lower Tertiary trends in the Gulf of Mexico and likely will find applications in other basins globally in the future.

Through a spectrum of collaboration vehicles that encourages innovation, enables rigorous engineering, and improves efficiencies, our exploration and production industry will continue its long record of success in the delivery and operation of safe and reliable wells, facilities, and operations for HP/HT developments both in the US and abroad.

This Month's Technical Papers

Next-Generation HP/HT Subsea-Wellhead-System-Design Challenges and Opportunities

The HP/HT Completion Landscape

Managed-Pressure-Drilling Technology Delivers Challenging HP/HT Drilling Campaign

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 175753 Dynamic Temperature Modeling for High-Temperature-Well Planning by Hendrik Suryadi, Schlumberger, et al.

SPE 177854 Retrospective Study and Multidisciplinary Optimization Work Flow To Address Production Challenges in Ultralow-Permeability, Tectonically Active, HP/HT Dolomite Formation in Northern Kuwait by Kousic Kanneganti, Schlumberger, et al.

OTC 25808 A Methodological Approach to System Design for Reliability for HP/HT Environments by& Asadullah Amanat, Baker Hughes


Mike Payne, SPE, is a distinguished adviser and segment engineering technical authority in BP’s upstream group. He has more than 30 years of experience, including with drilling operations, computing, technology, and consulting. Payne holds BS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Rice University, an MS degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Houston, and an executive business certificate from the University of Chicago. He has extensive industry publications to his credit and has held key leadership positions with the American Petroleum Institute and the International Organization for Standardization. Payne has been an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and received the SPE International Drilling Engineering Award in 2000. He has been chairperson or cochairperson of several SPE Advanced Technology Workshops and serves on the JPT Editorial Committee.