Directional coiled tubing drilling has been established for more than ten years as a technically viable technique, however in that time it has not developed into a truly economic global business except to a limited extent in Canada and Alaska. Although there have been many coiled tubing drilling operations outside of Canada and the USA the results have been in some cases indifferent, and the frequency of work sporadic. This paper attempts to determine the significance of coiled tubing drilling world-wide, and comment on the difference between coiled tubing drilling and competing through tubing rotary drilling with small diameter pipe. The implications of underbalalnce drilling with coiled tubing; numerically the prevalent form of coiled tubing drilling is discussed in detail. The significance of reservoir conditions, environmental requirements and location circumstances on potential job design and drilling method are all analysed with respect to potential market development. Coiled tubing drilling in an offshore environment is examined, highlighting the differing economic and logistical issues that dominate the service. Particular attention is paid to the complex organisational structures that arise due to the many service contractors, consultants and operating company personnel interfaces that arise in the execution of most offshore coiled tubing drilling operations. The paper concludes with some observations on why coiled tubing drilling has not developed as a regular service to any significant extent outside of North America and what circumstances may change this.

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