At the beginning of 2015 in response to the well construction difficulties faced by drilling companies such as lost circulation, slow Rate of Penetration (ROP) and increasing flat times observed while drilling in an extra heavy oil asset in the Gulf of Mexico, the operator implemented a real-time drilling monitoring center called Centro Inteligente de Pozos (CIP by its Spanish acronym).

The whole purpose of the team and technologies deployed at the CIP is to Anticipate and prevent drilling events; effectively and systematically reduce drilling Nonproductive times (NPT); implement best practices aimed to optimize drilling performance and operate closer to the wells’ technical limits; and accelerate initial oil production by finishing wells before expected.

The CIP solution is comprised of a very well balanced combination of technologies, resources and processes as follow:

Data acquisition, transmission and visualization: Vendor neutral technologies and services are deployed in both ends the rig and the office to enable data collection, integration, aggregation and transmission.

Risk analysis: For each well and prior to start drilling, the CIP team prepares a detailed drilling risk analysis, which includes risk description, prevention and mitigation practices.

Drilling optimization: CIP’s engineers use specialized drilling monitoring software to analyze available data, managed identified risks, optimize performance, and make operating recommendations to exceed performance while drilling within the wells’ technical limits.

At the CIP, the well-coordinated efforts between the operator and the service company in conjunction with the application of efficient processes and innovative technologies, have been cornerstone to reach drilling optimization while minimizing the negative impact of drilling events; making the CIP initiate a success for the operator and service companies.

As a result of implementing the CIP, wells in the Extra Heavy Oil Asset have been drilled in record times. For example, a well that was originally planned to be drilled in 116.7 days was drilled in 89.9 days. This represents total savings of 26.8 rig days (~23% time saved), with a corresponding oil production estimated at 6,000.00 bpd.

Our industry constantly strives to drill faster and safer wells while drilling in more challenging environments. In the author’s opinion one way to achieve this is by adapting classic surveillance procedures with modern workflows based on real-time data and considering relevant analysis such as risk estimation, real-time geomechanics and flat times optimization. The work described in the following pages represents the first successful application of advance real-time drilling monitoring techniques in the Extra Heavy Oil Asset matter of this paper.

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