Industry-leading complex well consultants secure first client for new service


EMPLOYEE-owned, and internationally recognised complex well experts, Merlin ERD, has launched a new Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) service.

The combination of MPD and Merlin’s specialist extended reach (ERD), and high-angle drilling capability gives the company a unique advantage in complex well delivery across the hydrocarbon and geothermal drilling sectors.

The engineering consultancy, founded in 2007 and operating globally, secured its first client for MPD within 3 months of establishing the service in the first week of January 2021. The service, one of a number of investments made during 2020’s pandemic has paid off quickly, despite reduced activity in the market; with more opportunities to follow.

A New Integrated Approach

The combination of MPD and ERD allows Merlin’s clients to screen opportunities requiring both approaches to well construction in a fully integrated manner. Traditionally, MPD and ERD have been considered separately but Merlin believes bringing the capability to assess both in parallel can reduce complexity and cost for clients, improving delivery assurance and project value, whilst extending the envelope of what is possible in the industry.

The first contract comes from a client operating in Alaska that was keen to reduce complexity in their extended reach well designs. By integrating MPD and ERD engineering analysis, they plan to simplify the architecture of their wells, reducing delivery risk whilst simultaneously improving project value.

Extending Reach and Asset Life

Utilising MPD and ERD in combination is a powerful way for operators looking to sustainably utilise their existing oil and gas assets. Both tools combined allow operators to intersect targets further from existing infrastructure, improving the recovery from mature assets, whilst avoiding the need to invest in new production infrastructure.

Merlin’s MPD Engineering Manager, Stuart McCallum, is tasked with developing the new business. Stuart has been involved with MPD projects for over 20 years and has both breadth and depth to his experience having worked with various international operators, and for large third-party service providers.

 “Merlin has a clear vision as to how its methodology and process, which assures success in extended reach and high angle wells, can be applied to projects requiring the use of MPD to maximise value for clients,” he says.

With his extensive knowledge, he leapt at the chance to develop Merlin’s enhanced offering:

“I was keen to take on the challenge of building this capability, using Merlin’s industry expertise and reputation to support and extend its core services.  As an employee-owned, independent business, we are all focussed on the same purpose – doing the best job we can for the client.”

Merlin’s Managing Director Ron Ramage also added “Merlin views MPD as an enabling technology – which has much in common with our current complex well engineering and execution capability; it is a natural fit. There are clear advantages for our clients when partnering with Merlin. As our first contract demonstrates, the combination of our ERD and MPD competence is enabling clients to simplify their approach, achieve their objectives, and improve overall project value.”

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