Technology Focus: Multilateral/Extended Reach (May 2009)
- Alvaro Negrao (Repsol)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 66 - 66
- 2009. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Our industry has overcome many difficulties during recent years. Successes have been achieved with drilling projects in sensitive environments, remote-access areas, and high-technological-demand projects. New technologies have been developed at a fast pace to fill the needs.
Technologies that achieve better recovery with a simultaneous reduction in capital expenditure are preferred. The use of extended-reach and multilateral wells aligned with good drilling performance will reduce capital expenditures. Although the profiles of those wells become more complex, with long horizontal sections or multiple legs, better performance is possible through deployment of an integrated project team that appropriately addresses the drilling and completion challenges during the planning phase. Subjects such as wellbore stability, well cleanliness, multilateral junctions, appropriate sand control, openhole completions, inflow-control completions, and inflow-performance relationship must be analyzed carefully during the well-design phase.
The project-team assessment during the execution phase must include the latest techniques in seismic interpretation, deployment of real-time logging tools to deal with reservoir heterogeneity, and real-time update of the Earth model. Real-time data are essential for management of equivalent circulating density because of the narrow margin between pore pressure and fracture gradient.
The well-planning process must be complemented by an improvement in operational performance. New approaches with good quality control must be implemented urgently to reduce the nonproductive time (NPT) while drilling wells. Our industry faces performance problems with wells reaching an NPT index of more than 40% in the Gulf of Mexico. The responsibility for such a high NPT index can be shared equally by drilling contractors, service companies, and opera-tors. Today, NPT in offshore wells can reach an annual cost of approximately USD 70−90 million per rig, and this will be reduced only with improvement in maintenance, better engineering practice, and qualified personnel. Integrating the drilling engineers into the project team early, use of the latest technology, and focusing on operational excellence are essential for the industry success.
Multilateral/Extended Reach additional reading available at the SPE eLibrary: www.spe.org
SPE 115099 • “Technical, Economic, and Risk Analysis for a Multilateral Well” by D. Arcos, Texas A&M University, et al.
SPE 119506 • “How Continuous Improvement Led to the Longest Horizontal Well in the World” by Kumud Sonowal, Maersk Oil Qatar, et al.
SPE 116138 • “Multilaterals Drilling and Sustainable Openhole Production From Theory to Field Case Studies” by Son K. Hoang, University of Oklahoma, et al.SPE 115742 • “Advanced Wells: How To Make a Choice Between Passive and Active Inflow-Control Completions” by V.M. Birchenko, Heriot Watt University, et al.
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