OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Igor Jukov

    The National Drilling Company of Abu Dhabi

    An Arabic Symbol of Excellence

    This summer the Emirate of Abu-Dhabi captured headlines around the world as they started to export oil through the $4.2 billion pipeline, which bypasses the Strait of Hormuz. The successful initiative came to fruition with the National Drilling Company (NDC) playing a leading role in the development of the country’s petroleum industry.

    As the largest drilling firm in the Arab Emirates, NDC has drilled more than 4,000 offshore and onshore wells with a total depth exceeding 21.5 million feet, thereby contributing to the country’s oil income of $85.9 billion in 2011. Unlike in the Texan Odessa or Californian Bakersfield wells where oil pumps and rigs are highly visible, anyone traveling in Abu-Dhabi can hardly spot the oil and gas operations over desert dunes or city suburbs. The reason is simple: most of it is concentrated in the sea and is currently in an offshore upstream production cycle.

    Since entering the market forty years ago, the National Drilling Company has earned exclusive experience in efficient drilling and associated well services, and it has grown to become an Arabic symbol of excellence in the drilling world.

    Back in history

    In all likelihood, the impressive progress reached by NDC was made possible thanks to the unabated support of the UAE leadership. The rulers of the emirates have paid close attention to the development of the oil and gas industry since the beginning of the last century, when they realized what treasures could be hidden under the sand and water.

    A renowned expert on the Arabic East, Victor Lebedev, argues in the Russian Emirates magazine that at the beginning of the twenties, the rulers of all the Persian Gulf emirates expressed interest in having their British patrons engaged in prospecting their territories for natural resources.

    The first one who had sent a direct invitation to the British authorities regarding oil exploration was the ruler of the Sharjah Emirate. The Abu-Dhabi leaders were the latest to invite British business to lead the oil rush there. However, according to Lebedev, the first commercial oil was extracted not in Sharjah, but in Abu-Dhabi.

    Since that time, hydrocarbons were always a focus of attention by local authorities. In 1972, the Abu-Dhabi Council of Ministers established the National Drilling Company, which became the first link in a chain of 15 other companies, working under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), which is currently producing 2.9 million barrels of oil per day (Forbes 2012).

    NDC’s services

    Offering superior services, the National Drilling Company does everything possible to meet the needs of the drilling challenges of the day as they relate to onshore or offshore oil, gas and water wells . Today, the company maintains a fleet of about 30 offshore and land oil rigs, operates a multi-purpose service vessel and utilizes five special well rigs, all helping to satisfy the ever-growing demand for petroleum resources. To understand some of the innovative offshore drilling solutions of NDC, you can see them brought to life in the Al Ghweifat Multiservice Supply Vessel. This vessel is the top of its class, an offshore drilling barge, operating in depths of up to 115 ft. The Al Ghweifat’s animated platform and operations can be viewed here.

    In line with progress and sustainability

    One of the main goals of the company is to keep up with both industrial progress and sustainable development. NDC meets the challenges through accommodation of the state-of-the-art technologies that allow optimizing production, making it more cost-efficient and less ecologically stressful.

    For instance, the National Drilling Company actively applies directional drilling, which allows several wells to be drilled at varying angles from the same platform or one onshore location. This method helps to drastically cut the affected oilfield acreage. It makes possible well production in hostile environments and enables that oil to still reach a reservoir that may be miles away from the production site.

    Along with directional drilling, NDC widely uses horizontal drilling, pursuing new opportunities in terms of increasing well output and decreasing the industrial footprint on ecology. View NDC’s directional and horizontal drilling methodologies by visiting this link. For its strong and unchangeable commitment to environmental conservation, the National Drilling Company has acquired international recognition and collected many prizes related to safety and innovation domains, including the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award in the Services Sector and the ISO 1401 Certificate for Environmental Protection

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