World record beaten !
UruguayTotal en UruguayShow more is not an oil country. Nevertheless, after a long seismic campaign at sea, it was decided in 2014 to drill an exploration well at 3,440 meters below the surface of the ocean. Never seen in offshore oil. The challenge is important especially as here the sea conditions are extreme. The well is located 250 km from the Uruguayan coast and 400 km from the nearest logistics base in a disassembled sea with violent currents. Despite these challenges, Total decides to drill with two partners: Exxon Mobil and Statoil.
This unprecedented project is taking place in a poorly industrialized country with no port infrastructure adapted to this type of activity. The most important deep offshore hub is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Too far. Never mind, the decision is made to build from scratch a small factory for the preparation of drilling fluids in the port of Montevideo and to make our logistic base there. For this, we must strengthen the soil, bring energy and verify that the depths at the edge of the dock are sufficient. At sea, the drilling platform is a dynamically positioned boat, the "Maerks Venturer" which maneuvers in complicated conditions.
It is also necessary to support the local authorities by answering their questions and sometimes worries and by connecting them to the authorities of the neighboring countries. They must put in place local regulations for this type of non-existent activity in UruguayTotal en UruguayShow more. We were especially concerned not to arouse excessive enthusiasm among the public while preparing for a possible discovery. That's how we found ourselves at the heart of the power of this country.
I remember in particular a meeting with the President of the Republic Tabaré Vázquez and Michel Hourcard, who came specifically to talk about the project with the authorities. The President wished us to stay in the afternoon to participate in a Committee of Elders, which brought together five former Uruguayan presidents, including José Mujica, a truculent figure who was a former florist, guerrilla and prisoner. Michel Hourcard having a plane at 6 pm, it was under escort of presidential police that he returned to the airport at the end of this meeting which went very well!
In the end, RAYA, the name of the well, was an exciting adventure. On March 30, 2016, we managed the feat of drilling at 3,404 meters exactly below the surface of the ocean without an accident. A world first! Unfortunately, the huge tank contained only ... water. Beyond the technological and technical challenge, RAYA was a great human adventure that we managed to achieve without accident and under the fixed budget.