With the majority of today's "new" hydrocarbons increasingly found in technically challenging, complex and in many cases lower quality reservoirs, it's long since been agreed there is no more "Easy oil". It's that fact, coupled to the industry wide challenges associated with conventionally drilled wells in mature and depleted reservoirs which have led in recent years to the very significant advances seen in the Advanced Drilling Techniques (ADT) and Technology arena.

ADT provides a suite of tools and techniques which have enabled the technical and commercial development of numerous oil and gas reservoirs worldwide which would have not otherwise been exploited. ADT comprises of the following techniques:

  • Managed Pressure Drilling

  • Underbalanced Drilling

  • Coiled Tubing Drilling

  • Through Tubing Rotary Drilling (Conventional and HPHT)

  • Subsea Through Tubing Rotary Drilling

According to one recent industry report some 67% of the world's daily oil production comes from mature fields, therefore in order to not only sustain but improve upon current production levels, field life extension is not optional but an absolute necessity. Historically however, most Operators due to cost and complexity of well delivery have not fully exploited their mature assets consequently failing to reach their full potential. Therefore, in order to not only sustain but increase current production levels to meet the increasing demands, operating companies must pay greater attention to their mature fields and their resources development options.

The above coupled to the fact that in almost every conventional drilling operation there is risk, a potential to; damage well productivity (formation damage), encounter lost circulation; suffer differential sticking and many other related conventional drilling problems any of which can be exaggerated in a mature drilling environment as a function of depletion. Its here, when applied with an expert system for candidate reservoir screening, technique selection and improved reservoir evaluation technologies, ADT provides realizable and available EOR and IOR options in accessing ‘conventionally’ or commercially stranded reserves. Further, when fully coordinated with the neseccary subsurface disciplines an ADT solution will add measurable value by; improving production, enhancing ultimate recoverable reserves, even possibly reduce overall development cost all improving net present values.

Popular perception is we need new technology to sustain and drive the industry forward in meeting the global demands placed upon it; in truth if we look; much of the required technology is available now. The thing we, the industry, need most is the opportunity and most importantly the courage to deploy it. This paper will challenge us in our perceptions and highlight how we can mitigate the risk applying smarter drilling options such as those offered by Advanced Drilling Techniques in the hydrocarbon bearing formations.

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