Multilateral drilling (ML) drilling technology is one of the unconventional drilling methods to increase the productivity of a well. It is thought that ML wells could be more economic with higher productivities than other types of wells such as vertical, directional, horizontal or extended reach horizontal wells. Advances in ML drilling has resulted in significant cost saving, greater flexibility and increased profit potential.

In the last two decades, thousands of ML wells have been drilled worldwide. Around 10 percent of the total wells are ML. During 1980s, advances in horizontal technology were adopted quickly in the Middle East to bring about dramatic improvements in well productivity. Many operators in the Persian Gulf region looked at ML drilling technology as a next step from horizontal drilling technology. These operators started to drill ML wells after experiencing successful drilling of horizontal wells. Since the early 1990, the use of ML drilling technology in the Middle East has seen significant growth to the extent that Middle East is one of the most active areas in the world for ML applications.

This paper investigates the benefits of ML drilling as one of the highly expanded methods. Advantages and challenges of the ML technology are highlighted. Since Middle East is one of the most active areas in the world for ML applications, therefore, two case studies from this region are reviewed. The first case study is the first Saudi Aramco's deep ML gas well, and the second is drilling a dual lateral well in Dukhan field in Qatar. For the former case study, productivity of ML wells is presented. Furthermore, a comparison is made between the productivity of a horizontal and dual ML in order to give a recommendation for one of them.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.