Abstract

YPF has been historically the most active drilling operator in Argentina, having the majority of the unconventional activity, and it has been the pioneer in the development of horizontal drilling in the country. This includes several projects and developments with different joint ventures in different Vaca Muerta blocks. Over time, managing such an extended operation with proper consistency has been a challenge, the systematic delivery of wells that meet the cost and production target has not been the norm.

YPF has been regularly competing on the fastest, longest, and best producer wells in the area, but the ability to have a consistent performance over a large rig population, including different partners and multiple service providers, is an objective which YPF had difficulties to achieve, and indeed necessary to thrive in the current economic environment of unconventional activity.

To achieve the objective to deliver a consistent improvement in drilling time and cost, YPF foresaw the need to have remote centralized control center to focus on key drilling operations such as on bottom drilling, directional drilling decisions and geosteering, as well as the implementation of standardized drilling practices to ensure repetitiveness well by well. Also, allowing key wellsite personnel such a Company Man to focus on specific activities such as rig safety and effectively improving flat times. The implementation of a control and monitoring center which combines the expertise, workflows, data aggregation, and procedures to optimize the drilling performance and remotely control drilling practices, is a novel approach to drilling unconventional wells in Argentina.

The objective of this implementation on a wide operation, is to effectively reduce the time of wells drilled by drastically improving rate of penetration and drilling efficiency, ensuring improvement of underperforming units/fields, solid cross-field implementation of lean projects, capturing lesson learned, centralizing the command of critical operational decisions, and facilitating the tracking of key performance indicators (KPI′s) with proper and accurate data capture, with a longer term vision of standardizing and changing the way we drill unconventional wells in Argentina.

This paper highlights and illustrates the key initiatives completed to implement the Remote Monitoring and Control Center which YPF proposed for its operations, the methodology and workflows created for this process, the challenges and what makes this process and scale unique for the local environment. Additionally, insights on the way forward and expected results on the YPF journey to optimize its well delivery process.

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