Manufacturing wells has been proffered as an opportunity to reduce the cost and increase the speed of construction for hydrocarbon production. There are a number of key caveats that must be addressed in order to progress this application of manufacturing techniques to well construction. This paper describes these caveats and the means to address them.


The application of manufacturing techniques has been discussed in the industry for some years under the heading of factory style drilling. The progressive rise of drilling costs against low gas prices, the increase in pad drilling of horizontal wells for shale gas and liquids, the rising uptake of lump sum outsourced project managed wells primarily from NOC’s is creating an environment where the uptake of faster, lower cost well construction can accelerate.

The application described in this paper takes factory style drilling to the next level whereby the best attributes of manufacturing are applied through the full cycle of the well including the well components (not just the drilling process).

Results, Observations, Conclusions

Lean Manufacturing techniques have resulted in significant gains in the manufacturing industry: 50% time reduction and 25% improved quality. Similar results are being emulated in other industries that are adopting these techniques. Lean Drilling™ has set benchmarks in drilling and completion performance across the globe (ref SPE27476, SPE 59203, SPE87117). The rewards are immense and can significantly offset the rising cost of accessing hydrocarbons thus enabling greater exploitation of oil and gas reserves.

Correctly applied methods of Lean Manufacturing yield improved safety, functionality, quality, speed of construction and lowered costs. These methods also open the door to the application of automation throughout the supply chain thus gaining additional leverage on performance and cost.

Significance of Subject Matter

This paper will describe the history of Lean Manufacturing and under what circumstances it can be applied to wells construction. It will build on the differences between project type and various ongoing business type of wells as introduced in SPE 128716. It will lay out the opportunities and the barriers to this large opportunity for value generation. It will describe where it cannot, and should not be applied. A future outlook will address the industry shift to ever increasing factory style drilling and manufactured wells.

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