This reference is for an abstract only. A full paper was not submitted for this conference.


DTL (Drilling The Limit) is one of the five performance improvement tools based on the Limit methodology used in the Shell group. This methodology is used to improve performance by working down from a point of perfection based on the current levels of technology, rather than from incremental improvements intoday's performance. In late 2003 a Shell Well Engineering project team re-entered Qatar after an absence of 11 years. The project paved the way for aca. US$ 6 Billion Gas to Liquids (GTL) plant scheduled to begin production in2009. Initial operations activities included the drilling of two wells in offshore Block H4/5 with ENSCO as the drilling contractor. The first well was spudded only 4 months after signing of the Heads of Agreement (HOA).

This paper describes how the DTL methodology was implemented to achieve a successful first well although not all new technology worked as we expected and a second well that is, we believe, the fastest vertical Khuff well yet drilled in the North Field. Our ability to learn between the 2 wells is an excellent example of limit learning.


The DTL methodology has been used in Shell companies for several years with great success and is currently part of the Shell minimum standards. The methodology allows rapid acceleration of the learning curve and has demonstrated its worth even in a project with an accelerated schedule.

Results, Observations and Conclusions

The application of the DTL process to this fast track appraisal well project led to top class performance. New techniques were used, reducing the overall well time and cost while delivering high quality data. The second well in particular was drilled and tested in record time while at the same time HSE performance has been exemplary with zero Lost Time Incidents. In this case, DTL was also a great lever to align the teams in such a short time span.

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