Collaboration's Critical Role in Reaching Total Depth
- Brent Emerson (Weatherford International)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 20 - 22
- 2012. 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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Drillers around the world share a common goal: to get their well to its targeted depth with the proper hole size such that reservoir contact and, ultimately production, are optimized.
However, given the diverse drilling environments that operators work in today—from reactive shales and tar zones to salt domes and depleted zones commingled with high-pressure zones—the challenges are as varied as each well drilled. How do we safely reach total depth with the right hole size to ensure that kicks or losses are minimized and wellbore integrity is assured? And how do we achieve optimal efficiency to avoid the time and money lost by drilling delays?
As exploration and production operators know, collaboration is key to success in reaching total depth—in particular, collaboration between the operator and an integrated service provider who brings complementary services and technologies to well construction. The ultimate benefit of this collaborative approach can be fully realized only if the service provider is involved as early as possible. Indeed, the contributions made in the predrill planning stage can have a positive knock-on effect for subsequent stages—from engineering to execution and, eventually, to operation. Everything the operator and its service partners do ahead of the well’s onset of production can bolster, or undermine, the long-term viability of a well.
So, what can an integrated service provider help deliver? Early collaboration helps deliver on the promise of well integrity—the concept of having no uncontrolled inflows of drilling mud into the formation or outflows of formation fluid into the wellbore—throughout the life cycle of the well. Armed with an in-depth understanding of the operator’s well integrity challenges, the service provider can help the operator determine the best way to run casing to depth, ensure high-integrity cementing, and achieve proper zonal isolation to generate reliable and long-term production from the well.
A close working relationship between operator and integrated service partner also helps ensure drilling reliability, which is tied to having the right products and services available that consistently deliver the well plan with a minimum of nonproductive time (NPT). While much of today’s drilling equipment is highly reliable, with an uptime of 98% or more, the industry must develop even more reliable equipment. This is because of the additive nature of equipment downtime in wells of increasing complexity, which lowers the reliability of the cumulative technology offering and increases NPT. Our industry must continue to develop better equipment designs that push reliability gains rivaling the electronics industry, that is, greater than 99%. And while next generation products may cost more both in up-front research and development investments and price, they will more than pay for themselves by boosting overall system reliability and lowering NPT.
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