From a drilling contractor point of view, drilling operation should be always at least on schedule and on budget. However, drilling in challenging environments with different drilling problems (technical and un-technical) causes a lot of non-productive time (NPT), i.e. time where the rig is not drilling, which pushes drilling operation behind the schedule and results in a lot of money lost. However, the new low oil price environment put a pressure on drilling contractors to focus on improving drilling efficiency and to be more innovative in reducing NPT during drilling operations; knowing that costs arising from NPT typically account for about 10% to 15% of total drilling costs, and can rise as high as 30%. In another words, drilling contractors will have to learn how to operate differently in order to weather the low oil price environment. The authors strongly believe in today's climate, lean manufacturing methodologies could offer the sought solution. Essentially, lean is a way of thinking centred on locating and eliminating unseen or unnoticed ‘waste’ occurring across the entire drilling operation.

This work in hand demonstrates how the concept of lean manufacturing can be applied to reduce NPT of drilling operations. In this paper, drilling time for 6 workover and 3 drilling rigs has been analysed. A Pareto chart was used to analyse the NPT which accumulated to 27.6% in order to know the most common (highest occurring) sources of such NPT. The crew competency represented 42% of the total NPT, followed by 27.6% due to mechanical equipment failures, while wait on material accumulated to 17.2%, the operational equipment failures summed 12.7% and finally accommodation scored 0.5%. Next Ishikawa (fishbone) diagrams has been utilised to show the causes of imperfection in crew competency to identify these sources of variation.

The analysis revealed areas of immediate intervention such as crew competency program and work related performance incentives. Therefore, training programs were created and work performance related promotions were introduced. Simply, authors believe these countermeasures have focused on causes behind how crew behave, which is the most difficult challenge of all. As without the proper behavioural principles and values, lean methodologies will be totally misapplied and fail to deliver results.This has resulted in 0% NPT materialised within 3 months only of implementing LEAN manufacturing methodology in drilling operation.In this paper, the LEAN methodology reveals an important tool which is able to find simple and effective solutions to the problems encountered in operations such as lack of performance and waste of time.

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