Seventy days. That is a rough estimate of the number of workdays spent on
peer review of the papers in each issue of SPE Drilling &
Completion. That seems like a lot of time to produce a single issue
containing an average of 13 papers, doesn't it? In reality, the number is
probably much higher than 70 days. And to be clear, this does not include time
spent by the authors performing the work described in their papers and writing
their original paper. But before debating this question, let's take a look
behind the scenes at our peer review process.
Peer Review Status on 4 August 2012
Everyone wants papers to be peer reviewed as fast as possible and with the
highest possible quality. Balancing these two criteria on a consistent basis is
the goal. Regarding the speed of peer review, several years ago the biggest
complaint from our annual readers' survey was excessive time to complete peer
review of papers. Since then we have made consistent and significant progress.
To illustrate this point, SPE Drilling & Completion had achieved the
following status as of 4 August 2012:
- The target for SPE journals is to send the authors a decision letter within
112 days of the date when they submitted their paper for peer review.
- Currently, SPE Drilling & Completion averages 78 days.
- The target for SPE journals is for the Technical Editor (TE) to submit
their review within 30 days of agreeing to review a paper.
- Currently, SPE Drilling & Completion averages 24 days.
Each of these key performance indicators is better than the target, which
represents a huge improvement over 5 years ago.
To help assess quality of our peer review process and results, SPE has
implemented a questionnaire for all authors who publish papers in SPE journals
to provide their critical feedback. So far, insufficient data has been gathered
to reach meaningful conclusions. We look forward to receiving critical feedback
and suggestions from authors who have experienced peer review with our journal.
The objective is to help our Editorial Review Committee focus on areas where we
Over the last 12 months, the Editorial Review Committee for SPE Drilling
& Completion has completed reviews for 173 papers. This translates to
an average of 43 papers reviewed for each quarterly issue. A total of 52 papers
have been published in the last four issues, which is an average of 13 papers
per issue. The overall acceptance rate from the previously described data is
30%, which is typical for SPE journals currently.
Now, let’s return to the issue of the time spent on peer review for each
issue of SPE Drilling & Completion. Each paper is typically reviewed
by two TEs and one Associate Editor (AE). A TE's job is to read the paper,
formulate their view, and write and submit their review in the online
ScholarOne Manuscript system. An AE's job is to read the paper, formulate their
view, read the reviews of the TE's, and write and submit their recommendation.
If we estimate 2 hours for each person (two TEs and one AE), that equates to 6
hours per paper. In addition, administrative time is provided by SPE staff –
Stacie Hughes and Meghann Mays – and the Executive Editor, which we will
estimate is another 4 hours per paper (Stacie and Meghann are fast and
efficient, but I am old and slow). The sum is 10 hours of work per paper.
Therefore, 173 papers over the last 12 months required 1,730 hours. And this is
the best-case scenario. Sometimes TEs spend significantly more than 2 hours on
particular papers as they strive to submit the best possible review.
Occasionally, AEs seek additional reviews after receiving the first two. In my
experience, the 10 hours per paper is a conservative estimate.
Papers that are accepted for journal publication typically undergo at least
one revision that requires an estimated 4 hours by the authors, another 4 hours
by the reviewers, and 2 more hours by SPE staff. Therefore, the 52 papers
published during the last 12 months required 520 hours for one revision. This
also represents a lower bound estimate because some papers undergo two or three
Adding the 1,730 hours of initial review time to the 520 hours of revision
time equals 2,250 hours to produce the last four issues, or 281 eight-hour
workdays. By this rough estimate, at least 70 days is required for peer review
by TEs, authors, and SPE staff for each issue of SPE Drilling &
Completion. That represents a large investment of time by experienced
people with a high degree of expertise in the appropriate subjects. The
monetary value associated with this time is indeed an impressive figure.
Naturally, we recognize that our readers expect nothing less. Nevertheless, it
is worthwhile to reflect on the magnitude of the effort that goes into each
SPE Drilling & Completion Editorial Review Committee
The Editorial Review Committee that achieved these superb results comprises
170 TEs and 10 AEs. These volunteers work hard to produce reviews that are
fair, technically correct, and completed in a timely manner. Moreover, they
strive to clearly explain the basis of their recommendations. Their service and
dedication is absolutely critical to the success of our journal.
Each paper is assigned to one AE who manages the review by selecting,
assigning, and overseeing the TEs. AEs are chosen from the ranks of outstanding
TEs and they perform the heaviest lifting of our entire Editorial Review
Committee. We are privileged to have such exceptional and talented individuals
as AEs for SPE Drilling & Completion. They are listed next along
with the subjects they cover:
- Shilin Chen – directional drilling, drill bits, and drillstring
- Fionn Iversen – real-time operations, drilling automation, drilling
process control and modeling, and well control
- John Mason – completion and intervention operations, well design and
- Steve Nas – managed pressure drilling, well control, and
- Bernard Piot – cement, cementing, and zonal isolation
- Kaibin Qiu – geomechanics, wellbore stability, and pore pressure
- Carl Thaemlitz – drilling and completions fluids, and chemistry
- John Thorogood – drilling automation, drilling project management,
well design and construction, directional surveying, deep water, and arctic
- Christoph Zerbst – completion planning, design, and installation,
sand control, intelligent completions, and gravel packing
- Yunxu (Joe) Zhou – hydraulics, coiled tubing, multiphase flow, and
Maximiliano Medina recently completed a 3-year term as AE. Max covered
completions design and planning, sand control, perforating, and advanced
tubing/casing design with great expertise and passion. He has been a major
factor in continuing the tradition of excellence for our journal. We are
grateful for his service and are thrilled he will remain as a TE for SPE
Drilling & Completion. Thanks, Max. Well done, my friend.
Now to the papers. This issue contains 11 papers.
- 1 on post-macondo deepwater well design
- 1 on shale-gas fracturing
- 2 on novel downhole drilling tools from China
- 1 on CO2 sequestration
- 1 on real-time LWD imaging
- 1 on directional surveying
- 2 on sand screens
- 1 on drilling and completion fluids
- 1 on casing design
Post-Macondo Deepwater Well Design
Our first paper describes what happened to another deepwater Gulf of Mexico
well that was being drilled when Macondo blew out. Altering an Existing Well
Design to Meet New BOEMRE Worst Case Discharge Criteria describes the
engineering details of an exploration well that was suspended at a well depth
of 24,529 ft when the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium was imposed. Before
drilling operations were able to resume, major changes to the well design were
required to enable the well to survive a flowing blowout at the seafloor and
then survive being shut-in. Clearly, the topic is extremely important. The
paper provides excellent insight into how one operator is dealing with the new
regulations for deepwater wells in the aftermath of the Macondo blowout.
Our next three papers are noteworthy partly because they are the first to be
published in SPE Drilling & Completion that had the majority of
coauthors from China. For some time now, authors from China have been
submitting papers to our journal. The next three papers represent a
breakthrough because these are the first of these papers to successfully pass
peer review and be published in our journal. We congratulate the authors and
look forward to more contributions to our journal from China.
Shale gas horizontal wells have become a major game changer in recent years,
yet many fundamental questions remain about productivity in such low
permeability reservoirs. Our second paper uses numerical models to study The
Effect of Fracture-Face Matrix Damage on Productivity of Fractures With
Infinite and Finite Conductivities in Shale-Gas Reservoirs. This paper
should interest completion engineers who are responsible for hydraulic
fracturing in low permeability gas wells.
Novel Downhole Drilling Tools From China
For numerous years, research has been conducted to try to use jet nozzles in
the drill bit to improve rate of penetration (ROP). Some research has focused
on the use of high pressure to fail the rock, or to assist bit cutters in
failing rock. Other research has investigated using cavitating jets or other
means to remove the rock to clean the bottomhole better, thereby increasing
ROP. Yet, no major breakthroughs have been achieved despite the continuing
research effort. Our next paper describes field use that demonstrates
impressive ROP improvement in China. A Novel Tool To Improve the Rate of
Penetration--Hydraulic-Pulsed Cavitating-Jet Generator describes a downhole
tool that combines pulsed and cavitating jet technology. The paper’s references
show extensive publications in recent years in China for this (and other
similar sounding) technology. We are pleased to present the technology to all
Fiber optic gyros (FOG) are well known, but their application in the oil and
gas industry is not well established. Study on the FOG-based Well Trajectory
Logging Tool describes the use of FOGs to replace magnetometers for
directional surveying. Our reviewers found the neural network approach for
modeling temperature dependencies to be new and intriguing. Consequently, we
felt exposure of this technology to the journal readership is worthwhile.
Depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs are attractive targets for gas storage and
CO2 disposal because of proven storage capacity, seal integrity, and
existing infrastructure. Geomechanical Risk Assessments for CO2
Sequestration in Depleted Hydrocarbon Sandstone Reservoirs proposes a
method and overall workflow to assist well engineers and geoscientists with
geomechanical assessments for optimum well placements and injection design. The
paper does an excellent job of describing the problem and analyzing various
aspects related to the geomechanics of CO2 sequestration. It is
recommended reading for anyone interested in natural gas or CO2
Real-Time LWD Imaging
Available bandwidth is often a prized commodity for competing information
required to make real-time decisions during drilling. Improving Real-Time
Image-Data Quality With A Telemetry Model reports a simulation tool to help
predetermine the parameters of transferring downhole-image logs to surface in
real-time to obtain best quality within the available telemetry bandwidth. The
paper shows how the images received at surface can be valuable tools for
Previous papers have reported on the magnetic interference on measurement
while drilling (MWD) tools caused by the drilling fluid. The Design of BHA
and the Placement of Magnetometer Sensors Influence How Magnetic Azimuth Is
Distorted by the Magnetic Properties of Drilling Fluids reports a new
modeling method and approach to analyzing the various configurations of sensor
housing with interference from magnetic drilling fluids. The results give new
insights and awareness to readers about the complex interaction between sensor
housing geometry, borehole geometry, and magnetic fluid properties. This paper
could be useful during mechanical design of MWD tools.
Sand-control technology continues to be a subject of great interest in the
industry. In this issue, we offer two papers on screens used to mitigate
sanding into the wellbore.
Woven-metal-mesh sand screens, commonly known as premium screens, have been
used extensively by the industry. But according to our first paper, sand
retention testing performed to evaluate screen performance is deficient. A
New Method for the Design and Selection of Premium/Woven Sand Screens
proposes a new method incorporating results from numerical modeling
(discrete-element method) with experimental data to estimate the mass and size
distribution of produced solids in prepacked sand-retention tests.
Our second paper on sand control presents an analytical and statistical
(Monte Carlo) approach for predicting sand production through wire-wrap
standalone sand screens with slot geometry. A New Method for the Design and
Selection of Premium/Woven Sand Screens offers new ideas and methods to
evaluate sand retention.
Drilling and Completion Fluids
Avoiding formation damage while drilling the reservoir section is highly
desirable. Too often the desire to form a good filter cake during the drilling
process leads to problems removing the filter cake (using "breakers") when the
well is completed. The result is often formation damage. Optimization of a
Solid-Acid Precursor for Self-Destructing Filter Cake presents a technology
for water-based drilling fluid that is weighted with calcium carbonate
particles. The filter cake is created during drilling to prevent fluid leakoff
and is subsequently cleaned up over time by use of an ester (in solid form)
that hydrolyzes, producing an organic acid to dissolve the calcium carbonate.
Polylactic acid particles were used in the study to generate lactic acid.
Experiments were conducted to find optimum particle size of the solid ester and
calcium carbonate particles to serve the dual functions of fluid-loss control
and self destruction at the desired time and rate. This paper presents novel
thoughts on application and control of filter cake breakers that will be of
interest to many readers.
In typical casing and tubular stress design, a "soft-string" model is used
that assumes casing strings are coincident with the wellbore centerline. A
major consequence of this assumption is that radial clearances cannot be
properly modeled. Advanced Casing Design With Finite-Element Model of
Effective Dogleg Severity, Radial Displacements, and Bending Loads presents
a purpose-built finite-element model to simulate radial displacement of a
casing string constrained within a wellbore. As such, it represents a
"stiff-string" model wherein the casing is approximated by general-beam
elements. Key results predicted from the model are the deflection of the casing
centerline from the wellbore centerline, effective dogleg curvature, bending
deformation, wall-contact forces, and bending-stress magnification. Case
studies are presented that show (1) optimized casing design using the model,
thereby reducing unnecessary conservatism, and (2) a nonconservative design may
result if severe bending loads are not modeled (that is, using the soft string
model). The paper is highly recommended to those readers responsible for casing
design for extreme conditions, such as high-pressure/high-temperature
That wraps up this issue. On behalf of your entire Editorial Review
Committee, thank you for your continued support of SPE Drilling &