Abstract

The paper describes how the extended reach drilling team at BP Amoco's Wytch Farm development on the South Coast of England met the challenge of drilling and completing technically advanced ERD wells in an increasingly difficult cost and performance focused environment. The key element in this success was the ability to continue developing new technology, while at the same time adopting a technical limit approach to performance delivery. Focusing attention on the individual components that make up a well allowed the team to build on the reliability and experience of using rapidly maturing technologies. It also gave the team confidence in the management of the risks associated with the application of new technologies and more importantly allowed the team to fight back and recover from events that would ordinarily provide justification for well programme timings and costs to slip.

The paper will draw on the experience of three wells drilled from August 1998 to August 1999. M-14 a 9,600m water injection well; M-15 a multilateral well with one lateral drilled to 8,900m and the second to 6,700m; and M-16 a record breaking ERD well drilled to 11,278m.

The techniques and technologies discussed will be; building a highly motivated team that can manage risk, perform consistently and perform safely; rotary steerable systems; torque and drag simulation and control; casing and liner floating techniques; ECD and mud loss control; multilateral junctions at high angles and downhole flow control completions.

In conclusion the paper shows how powerful a team can be in delivering significant performance improvements even towards the end of a 6 year 17 well development.

Introduction

BPA's Wytch Farm Oilfield is located on the South Coast of England in an area of outstanding natural beauty with many sites of special scientific interest. Oil has been produced from the area for the last 20 years with the extended reach project commencing in 1993 to access offshore reserves under Poole Harbour from a well-site on land. The step-out of wells has increased dramatically over the life of the project. The first well in 1993 had a departure of 3.8km; M5 in 1995 a departure of 8km; M11 in 1997 broke the 10km departure milestone and set a new world record.

Since then Wytch Farm has continued to push the limits of ERD drilling and completing. This paper illustrates how the team has applied new ERD technology, refined existing techniques, transferred learning from conventional drilling operations, managed the risks and overcome the setbacks associated with drilling and completing at ever greater step-outs - all in an environment of decreasing reserves per well and a low oil price

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