Horizontal drilling in the Permian Basin has gained momentum within the last two years. This level of activity will be at least maintained if not increased over the next few years due to advances in technology as well as advances in our ability to interpret technological data. Operators realize that the success of horizontal drilling is in part due to reservoir characterization prior to drilling and the subsequent application of techniques designed to achieve particular completion goals. This paper reviews the screening criteria and rationale behind horizontal drilling in the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeast New Mexico, provides an overview of the drilling design process and the most commonly applied procedures, and presents up-to-date drilling statistics. Additionally, a survey of the Permian Basin operators provides insight into drilling strategy and completion practices and results. Several case studies highlight these practices, the pre-drill strategies, and the post-drill lessons.

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