In an scenario that shows how expensive conventional drilling has become in Ecuador, with the aggravation of the oil price collapse, Operator's reaction was to opt a new strategy focused on optimizing drilling operations by managing some tolerable risks, which increase productivity, reducing time and costs in some specific directional wells, which brings economic benefits to the company and to the continuity of the development of any field through cheap drilling.

The proposed strategy is based on historical data and the application of productivity concepts are classified in three clear categories to be measured and optimize:

  • Productivity by time

  • Productivity by day

  • Productivity by man-hour

Putting these categories into a simple set of equations (operation/time), will enable any reader to see that variation in the quotient (time) in all of them is reflected directly in productivity value in an inversely proportion, hence directly affecting project costs. Therefore, companies are forced to manage their drilling time day by day.

It has been said that the critical factor in the total cost of a well is time, so the strategy proposed involves the reduction of drilling time by removing one whole section in wells that meet certain technical criteria. Eliminating a whole section along with proper risk management has enabled to lower costs in about 40% (this includes all tangible and intangible costs).

For the drilling department, the standard that has been set for selecting the number of sections per directional well and based on the horizontal displacement is the following:

  • 2-section directional wells with displacements <= 3000 ft

  • 3-section directional wells with displacement > 3000 ft

Presently, a two-section directional well from spud to Rig Release has a cost of about US$1.7 – 1.8 million.

Drilling Department in an effort to improve the productivity and achieve better performance on its operational activities, has focused to analyze technical concepts combined with the application of basic concepts of productivity presicelly in drilling engineering such as changing from 3 to 2 string well designs. These management of ideas from the engineering and operational point of view has allowed the operator drill faster at a lower cost. The optimal use of available resources, the right application of special tools and taking operational risks mitigated by a high level of management, has allowed achieving the expected success.

From a technical-financial point of view, these results are of great benefit to any operator.

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