Given the current economic climate and continued volatility in oil and natural gas prices, extracting maximum benefit from drilling performance optimization is key to the economical exploitation of many resource plays around the world. Shell Upstream Americas is employing a highly effective performance improvement team to help drive performance optimization and the delivery of top quartile performance on its wells in North America and beyond. Central to this group is a dedicated team of optimization engineers that deliver drilling efficiency optimization techniques, the innovative use of real-time optimization centers, and value-adding root-cause failure investigations to various land and offshore well delivery teams in a fit-for-purpose way. Using the optimization approaches taken, it has been possible to help accelerate well delivery times and associated learning curves by as much as a factor of three, often in a minimum amount of time. A main conclusion is therefore that this approach is a highly effective way to bring performance optimization focus to field operations.

This paper highlights the modus operandi of these optimization engineers, the techniques and tools they employ, and the remarkable results achieved. The workflow and organizational structure was applied to well delivery optimization with projects ranging from shale gas drilling in the Continental US and Canada as well as hard rock drilling in the Middle East.

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