Badger Explorer ASA (BXPL) signed a co-operation agreement for a long term agreement with China National Petroleum Corp. Drilling Research Institute (CNPC DR), whereby CNPC DR will become a sponsoring partner in the development of the Badger Explorer autonomous drilling tool.
The agreement states that CNPC DR will become a partner in the current demonstrator program on equal terms with the existing four partners: Statoil, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Wintershall.
In addition, CNPC DR has indicated potential support for the next phase of development as a sponsoring partner in the Badger Explorer Development Program. CNPC DR has also expressed considerable interest in assisting in the planning and execution of the first Badger Explorer field pilots.
To become on equal terms with the existing partners, CNPC DR will pay a step-up fee equal to the financial contribution committed by each of the current partners.
BXPL says negotiations have been ongoing for some time and the agreement will accelerate the development of the Badger technology.
In January 2014, Badger was awarded US$2.1 million to develop high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) technology in its drilling units. The project’s main goal is to develop and qualify HPHT ultrasonic methods and solutions to be implemented in future versions of the Badger tool.
Badger’s concept for the tool involves lowering an expendable tool to the seabed to drill through rock formations, and evaluate the rocks as the tool moves downward through the earth’s layers. When the target depth is reached, it’s time to abandon the tool by clipping the tool and leaving it permanently sealed in the rock. If the tool is used for field evaluation, it can remain active as a sensor set for the life of the tool, once the field is developed.
The prototype program was successfully completed in August 2012. The Badger Demonstrator Program is a three-year program that aims to design, build, test and qualify the Badger Explorer tool that began in January 2012.
The Field Pilot Project is designed to deploy the Badger Explorer developed in the Demonstrator Program in its first commercial applications. A series of field deployments is planned, each of which represents an increased degree of challenge in technology, application or operational capability.
Badger Explorer expects to introduce the tool to the commercial market sometime in 2015.
Image of Badger Explorer Tool, from Badger