This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 178897, “Drilling Improvements in Pursuit of the Perfect Well in the Eagle Ford—More Than 52% Reduction in Drilling Time and 45% in Cost in 2½ Years,” by Claudio J. Coletta, SPE, Camilo Arias, and Scott Mendenhall, SPE, Statoil, prepared for the 2016 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, 1–3 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

In the Eagle Ford, an integrated approach to engineering and operations was key to optimize performance and improve understanding of the area. Application of technology and standardization of operations resulted in continuous performance improvement. Detailed planning and execution, application of rotary-steerable systems (RSSs), implementation of an optimized casing design, contractor performance management, clear and open communication within the team, and implementation of a performance incentive plan all played a part in the overall drilling-performance improvements.


Although drilling operations were under way in the area, it was found that existing drilling practices and designs were not well-suited for this well type. At the start, there was a lack of standardization in planning, execution, and communication between office and field staff. Different rigs were performing the same operation differently. Rig moves from well to well on the same pad took exceedingly long. Well performance was challenged by complicated geosteering approaches, a conventional wellhead that required waiting on cement, low rates of penetration (ROPs) while drilling the curve and the lateral sections, and high pressure and temperature while drilling the production hole. High downhole-tool-failure rates resulted in multiple trips in the production section.

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