M-I Swaco

Success assured

Operating in more than 70 countries across the globe, M-I SWACO is the market leader in the engineering and application of drilling fluids, reservoir drill-in and completion fluids and associated services for customers throughout the oil and gas industry.

With their recent acquisition of SPS International, M-I SWACO are introducing its Wellbore Productivity offerings, all or some of which will be incorporated in the planned Integrated Wellbore Assurance managed-services program.

Thor Petter Herigstad, managing director of SPS Norway, elaborates on the company’s background and the recent acquisition of SPS International: “SPS International was originally formed from two companies, Aberdeen Filtration and Oilfield Services (AFOS) and Specialised Petroleum Services (SPS), which joined to become SPS-AFOS in 2000. In 2001, SPS-AFOS acquired a company in the Gulf of Mexico called Global Completion Services and subsequently became SPS International which quickly thereafter developed a strong presence in the global precompletions market.

“In August 2006, M-I SWACO purchased SPS International,” Thor explains. “SPS has been very strong in wellbore clean-up tools and filtration equipment for a number of years, which prompted the development of a service known as Wellbore Assurance. The SPS portfolio complements the M-I SWACO range of products and services. M-I SWACO intends to further develop the existing and emerging Wellbore Productivity offering and Integrated Wellbore Assurance service to the point that they will become integral parts of its operations.”

Thor believes that Integrated Wellbore Assurance will be an attractive concept, bringing considerable value to customers throughout the oil and gas industry: “M-I
SWACO provides an extensive range of services, including drilling fluids, reservoir drill-in fluids, completion fluids, well cleaning chemicals and production chemicals, whereas SPS is a leader in mechanical wellbore cleaning, filtration and rig pit/tank cleaning on vessels and at oil installations.

“By combining the services of both companies we intend to further develop the SPS Wellbore Assurance concept, which involves moving to an advanced level in planning and technology rather than simply selling bundled services,” he says. “This provides for selected MI SWACO and SPS services to be combined and bound together through extensive planning, modelling and resultant engineered solutions.

Thor continues: “Integrated Wellbore Assurance will benefit the client significantly, both through providing a complete service and freeing up some of their own planning resources. For example, we can give them the assurance that the pre-completion clean-up and displacement from mud to brine will be undertaken flawlessly, meaning they can concentrate on other operations.

“Where we see the real benefit is that in the future we will have one dedicated supervisor at the wellsite to take ‘ownership’ of the operation and to perfect the interface between drilling and completion operations,” he says. “Many of the oil companies are experiencing personnel shortages, so if we can perform these operations as an integrated service, completely operated through one company, then they will not have to undertake any of the planning beyond overview. The individual services might not differ a great deal, but the overall advantage is taking the planning considerations away from the oil company and freeing up much of their time.”

Thor is confident Integrated Wellbore Assurance as a whole will become as integral to oil and gas operations as the individual components services of Wellbore Productivity are currently. “It will not immediately impact the industry, but it will improve the overall transition from drilling to completion activities for many operators. I believe that within two years it will be common practice to include Integrated Wellbore Assurance in the operational planning and execution sequence. We have to ensure that we continue to integrate it into the M-I SWACO portfolio, while at the same time preserving the SPS initiatives that many operators already have included in their ‘Best Practices’ documentation.”

The initiative already has the interest of many of the industry’s leading companies. “We complete a great deal of work in Europe, particularly the North Sea market,” says Thor. “SPS had already completed several Wellbore Assurance operations with majors and co-operation is ongoing to develop the service further.”

Reflecting on the industry, Thor comments “Although the North Sea sector is a mature market, there are still many new developments coming on line and these represent tremendous opportunities. Increasingly, the cost of development demands more sophisticated knowledge and technology, leading to added value and savings for our customers.

“We have recently completed a three-day training seminar in Russia, which was an excellent exercise,” he comments. “Russia is a huge market, and because its land market has different cost drivers compared to other areas such as the Gulf of Mexico or North Sea, there is more emphasis on reservoir protection and cleanliness to assist productivity and reduced NPT in the completions phase.”

The company has the potential to expand the services offered in the Integrated Wellbore Assurance services based upon customer demand. Thor concludes: “The key challenge will be to maintain our best-in-class focus while at the same time developing and validating the Integrated Wellbore Assurance concept further. We must ensure that we comprehensively combine all of the product lines of M-I SWACO and SPS International following the acquisition, whilst at the same time increasing the inter-company learnings and focus on our customer’s requirements.”

M-I Swaco