The Karachaganak field in North West Kazakhstan presents numerous challenges for well construction; these include a complex sour carbonate reservoir overlaid by three salt domes, highly stressed lithology, demanding well depths and directional profiles. The deployment of additional drilling rigs, extreme climate variation, shift rotation and continuity of key personnel added further complexity.

To address these challenges and improve well construction efficiency a Performance Optimisation Team was formed. The objective was to embed a performance culture that realised consistent top quartile wells and provide process sustainability.

This paper details the methodologies employed including well design change, application of new technologies, cost effective solutions and the implementation of a rigorous learning process and culture.

The process utilised Performance Coaches based at the rig site in specially constructed cabins incorporating a meeting room equipped with projector and computer equipment. This enabled focussed onsite pre and post phase meetings. Lessons learned were entered into a master database, reviewed by the office based operations team and categorised into programme or process changes, technology applications or best practice checklist updates. Best practice checklists were introduced as a quick, easy to use format for pre-phase meetings to ensure that lessons learned and best practice were clearly identified. Challenge sessions were set up with specialist personnel to identify improvements in specific areas. Other advances included the implementation of a new drilling fluid system, drill string design, BHA and drill bit optimisation, rotary steerable systems and LWD technology including formation pressure testing and magnetic resonance imaging. A drilling support centre was also installed to stream real time data from the rig site and provide a collaborative working environment for the rig teams.

The results demonstrated a continuous improvement with 7 out of 9 wells drilled within top quartile during 2009.

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