KNOC acquires riserless mud recovery technology

Uchenna Izundu
OGJ International Editor

LONDON, July 7 -- Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) signed a $9 million drilling contract with AGR Drilling Services to use its riserless mud recovery system technology off Sakhalin Island later this year and in 2010.

AGR Drilling, part of AGR Group ASA at Straume, Norway, said its technology would enable KNOC to return drilling fluids and cuttings topside without a riser system and reduce the impact on the environmentally sensitive area.

This is the second time AGR Drilling Services will be supporting drilling operations in the Pacific region.

KNOC has different blocks in Russia: Tigil, Icha, and West Kamchatka. Tigil block is off the Kamchatka Peninsula and covers 3,264 sq km. KNOC and its partners are required to shoot 2D seismic, as well as drill two exploration wells by 2010.

Icha is an onshore block spanning 3,100 sq km and is near Tigil. KNOC and its partners will shoot 2D seismic and drill one exploration well during 2010.

KNOC is exploring the West Kamchatka block in the Okhotsk Sea in partnership with OAO Rosneft. This acreage covers 62,680 sq km in less than 300 m of water.

Last year it shot 2D and 3D seismic and drilled one exploration well. Its operations are controversial as this block is in an area that is one of the world's richest producers of salmon and hundreds of other aquatic species.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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