The Duri oil Field has 3,000 active wells divided into 9 (nine) areas. To measure the volume of oil and water produced, each well is tested approximately twice a month. When an NFD (no fluid detected) condition occurs during the test, the well is not performing properly and should be checked to see what requires repair.

Cycle time to put the well back to production depends on: response time to NFD wells, number of NFD wells found that day, the type of repair required, and the resources available to make the repair. Without intervention, the NFD wells automatically are put back into retest by the programming logic. Historical data from Area-4 in 1999 shows that wells were off production an average of 405 days/month due to NFD status. With a median production of 34 BOPD / well, 450 BOPD was not being produced. At a crude price of 12.5 US $ / barrel the total lost opportunity cost is 2 MM US $/ year.

Starting in late February 2000, the project team began deployment of Six Sigma tools, with the result that the response time was reduced to only 300 days in March and then farther reduced to 140 days in April and May. The number of individual NFD wells was reduced from a 1999 average of 69 wells to 54 wells in March and 25 wells in April and May. The effort resulted in a production increase which equates to an annualized opportunity gain of 1.0 MM US $/ year. The background, objectives, and results of the Area-4 respond time to NFD wells improvement program are presented in the report.


The Duri field is the largest Steam Flood operation in the world. Oil production totals 280 MBOPD from about 3,000 wells. Each well is automatically tested twice a month to measure the volume of oil and water produced (Appendix - I). When an NFD (no fluid detected) condition occurs during the test, the well should be checked to see what requires repair.

NFD (No Fluid Detected) is a term we use when the well testing process can't detect fluid during the first 30 minutes of well test time. With the number of wells in production, and the complexity of the operations, an NFD well can easily go un-noticed, because without operator intervention, the programming logic automatically puts the well back on test.

This quality improvement project is focused on reducing the cycle time required to put NFD wells back on production. Prior to this program, NFD wells were not treated with the same sense of urgency as a well which was officially off production. Collecting economic and performance data and presenting it using KISSING (Keep It Simple Statistically In Numerous Graph) switched the paradigm, that NFD well is a well which is off production and needs immediate action.

The 1999 average respond time to NFD wells was 405 days / month (Appendix - II). With the median oil production 34 BOPD (Appendix - III), the total opportunity loss in oil production was $ 2 MM (Appendix - IV).


The goals were to reduce respond time to NFD wells 50 % and recover the lost opportunity of oil production.


We start the project by forming team which consist of Area-4 well tester, Maintenance, IT engineer, Production Analyst, every member of the team then attended 1 day variance reduction class, after completion of workshop the team focus on reducing respond time to NFD well using Six Sigma tools:

  1. Problems Statement: Improve respond time to NFD wells and recover the lost opportunity in oil production. Plotting the reason for wells off production on a Pareto chart shows that NFD is the second highest after killing problem (Appendix - V). This process involved the use of Six Sigma tools and knowledge based management. All team members understood a clear vision of this effort.

  2. Establish Cost of Poor Quality Refer to the 1999 NFD data evaluation, the average respond time to NFD wells is 405 days / month (Appendix - II). Median production of NFD well is 34 BOPD (Appendix - III). Opportunity loss was seen by delaying respond time to put NFD wells back into production. Every one day respond time equate to 425 US $, or 2 MM US $ in 1999 (Appendix - IV)

  3. Develop a Process Flow Diagram Since there wasn't an establish process to identify and handle NFD wells. Team developed Process Flow diagram (Appendix - VI). Further team did Texas style FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) on the Process Flow to identify the critical process that can fail (Appendix -VII).

  4. Establish Customer Specifications There is no customer specification for respond time. Based on the Process Flow that has been develop, team set themselves a maximum 3 days respond time to put an NFD well back on production or in a bin of further evaluation by AMT-SS.

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