Elf Aquitaine has drilled four horizontal wells in the past five years: three on land in France are part of a research and development program with the Institut Français du Pétrole; one offshore Italy where Elf is operator for an association which includes Agip.

This paper presents criteria for chosing horizontal rather than conventional wells, and gives simple analytic formulas for the productivity and water coning. Production data collected on the four wells over a period of two to four years confirms these formulas. These criteria have led us to select several new projects for horizontal drilling.

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