Drilling time and cost were reduced in the Eagle Ford through the implementation of techniques and processes that resulted in 52% improvement in time and 45% reduction in cost.
The shale revolution sparked an aggressive development campaign starting in 2010 in the Eagle Ford. Wells were drilled with a lack of appropriate knowledge of the area, without sufficient experience or proper equipment. Drilling costs were high but development was profitable due to the surge in oil prices.
Drilling wells in the Eagle Ford is challenging because of the differences in lithology throughout the well, pore pressure profiles, high temperature, geosteering requirements, and casing design. These challenges had to be addressed in the design and execution of the wells. In addition, multiple trips due to downhole tool failures and low rate of penetration (ROP) contributed to high non-productive time (NPT) and associated costs.
When Statoil took over the operatorship in the Eagle Ford an integrated approach to engineering and operations was key to optimize performance and bolster understanding of the area. Application of technology and standardization of operations resulted in continuous performance improvement. Detailed planning and execution, application of rotary steerable, implementation of an optimized casing design, contractor performance management, clear and open communication within the team, implementation of a performance incentive plan, and proper risk management all played a part in the overall drilling performance improvements.
Over the past 2 1/2 years, more than 100 wells have been drilled in the Eagle Ford by Statoil. The techniques and procedures applied to optimize operations resulted in valuable lessons learned that can be applied to other development programs in the Eagle Ford and similar areas.