Field data included in the paper demonstrates continuous drilling improvement by reducing the number of days per well, on three (3) different rigs with crews comprising up to 80% local staff, most of them without any previous drilling experience. The Majnoon Field was the first major business entry for the operator in Iraq, a post-conflict zone, located in an area impacted by the long Iran-Iraq war with Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in evidence daily, a real ground zero. The absence of infrastructure, the inexperience of the local workforce, limited number of service companies, severe security limitations and a dearth of accurate subsurface data available to assist with well construction, exacerbated the challenges faced when drilling in this region.

Included in the paper are strategies to clear the area from ERW, logistics, and well design. Drilling challenges and strategies to reduce the number of drilling days per well are also explained. On average, the longest serving rig shows a 20% improvement per well while the other two rigs show an average improvement of 25% per well.

The insight provided in this paper will assist other operators in their endeavors when starting new operations in such challenging environments. The lessons learned included in this paper have led to best practices developed during the Majnoon Project, and serve as a valuable reference to better prepare for a drilling campaign in a field with an underdeveloped infrastructure and scarcity of reliable basic subsurface data and information.

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