Shell and Eastman Teleco have developed a Slim Hole Drilling system appropriate for hole sizes less than 6 1/4″ in diameter. Since the project was started in 1987 the system has been used in 46 wells. Nine wells contained 4 1/8″ hole, one down to 5382 meters. Overall progress per day no longer decreases in smaller hole sizes enabling the total well design to be downsized. Cost reduction of up to a quarter (or more in some cases) are thus possible. The smaller scale of operations reduces environmental impact. Extensions such as horizontal, high pressure / high temperature, and floating drilling are underway. Complementary evaluation and completion technology allows Oil Companies to downsize production wells, potentially reducing field (re)development costs. There remain significant opportunities for the service industry to develop complementary "Slim" rigs, equipment, and services.

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