Having explored many methods to improve efficiencies in conventional drilling processes, operators in the traditional North American land market are ever more attracted to innovative and cost effective means to drill wells. These innovative operators have turned to coiled tubing directional drilling (CTDD), with its promising inherent efficiencies in tripping and connection times, and with its smaller, logistically simpler footprint to optimize the drilling process even further. New downhole drilling technologies found in the conventional drilling arena are being applied to this operation to overcome the intrinsic limitations associated with the non-traditional slide-only drilling method associated with coiled tubing drilling. Together with innovative modifications to traditional CT rigs to address the fit-for-purpose needs of drilling, this novel approach to cost reduction is being applied in a cost-sensitive land market in the Rocky Mountain region of the US.

This paper provides an overview of the drilling application faced by the operator, of the specialized hybrid Coil Tubing drilling rig and of the novel application utilizing the modern, non-rotating rib-steering downhole drilling tools. The paper will benchmark the performance of the built-for-purpose operation compared to previous wells drilled with conventional rigs and directional motors, as well as other CTD systems. Additionally, a well to well performance of the drilling operation over a multi-well period will be evaluated, together with a discussion on lessons learned and a presentation of potential future improvements. The application of automated drilling systems with coiled tubing drilling heralds in a new age in developmental drilling in low spread cost markets.

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