A Well Delivery Process defines a set of activities along a time line to plan, execute and close out a well. The most advanced versions of this process include tools and techniques that create robust plans including risk and uncertainty management, technical limit focus and stretch goals, probabilistic time and cost estimating, detailed scheduling, Drill / Complete the Well on Paper and similar group exercises. Stage gates are included that provide review points which are usually matched to a corporate Capital Value or Opportunity Realization Process. The most advanced form of the process incorporates best practices from Lean Manufacturing. The paper describes best practices in the development of a Well Delivery Process.


The Well Delivery Process applies to all wells in a scalable format whereby a longer term, more detailed process is used for Exploration Wells and a simpler, shorter duration process for repeatable development wells. It covers work processes between departments, especially subsurface and drilling, and between the suppliers and the oil company, as well as between suppliers. An actively maintained Well Delivery Process provides the means to capture lessons learned and to retain knowledge within a company.

Results, Observations, Conclusions

In a West African offshore operation in a marginal field development with complex wells, the application of a Well Delivery Process resulted in best in class performance in an industry benchmark survey (Rushmore Review). This included a 77% reduction in non productive time. Added value was achieved through increasing the typical well productivity by more than 33%.

In the N Sea, a horizontal well drilled from a semi sub achieved an overall drill rate of 171 m / day versus a historic average of 80 m / day. Well cost was reduced by 30%.

A N Sea operator improved from 3rd quartile to 1st quartile performance while another improved overall drilling performance by more than 30%.

Reviews of drilling performance in two different regions demonstrated the correlation with poorer performance when there was insufficient lead time for proper planning according to the Well Delivery Process due to late and frequent drilling sequence changes.

Lessons learned are described including the correlation of performance with robust risk assessment

Recommendations on the key characteristics for a successful Well Delivery Process are described.

Significance of Subject Matter

A best practice and robust Well Delivery Process is essential for high cost drilling operations and challenging drilling environments whether exploration wells or infill drilling in depleted reservoirs to small hydrocarbon accumulations. This paper will provide an essential guide to Drilling Managers wishing to develop a Well Delivery Process.

The paper also introduces Business Process distinctions for different types of wells from project based exploration through Factory Drilling which impact the application of a Well Delivery Process.

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