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Horizontal and Complex-Trajectory Wells

Irrespective of industry or sector, the objectives of innovation are productivity and performance improvement and cost reduction. In the case of horizontal or complex geometry wells, innovation has delivered technologies targeting cost reduction and productivity improvement. While the advantages of these are realized in use, the true value is rarely calculated. As a result, the cycle of slow implementation of new technology continues and the pace of innovation is never optimized.

As innovation delivers more technology choices, the well engineer’s work when forming technical recommendations and evaluating performance becomes more complex. Adding further complexity is the fact that combinations of technologies and associated services increasingly interact to deliver secondary benefits, not all of which are immediately obvious. Many of these benefits affect the productivity of a well over its entire life cycle. As a consequence, they become significant, but their overall value is challenging to confidently quantify for consideration.

In a conventional operator/service-company relationship, the buyers are frequently cost managers. As a consequence, decisions tend to be biased toward unit cost. Beyond that, the value of a technology selection is normally determined more on the short-term cost saving than on the longer-term asset-added value. For example, saving 2 days of drilling time or eliminating a hole section is sometimes considered more important than a long-term incremental-production benefit over a well’s entire life, even though the cumulative value of the latter may be far greater. While there are exceptions, this is a roadblock to the take-up of new technology. As a consequence, the pace of innovation reduces, slowing productivity or performance improvement.

As an industry, we need to consider factors that slow the pace of innovation. These scenarios indicate a need for new levels of competency to evaluate choices and optimize how we apply combinations of technologies. We must improve how technical recommendations are made by using risk-based, true return on investment and not deferring to unit cost or limiting justifications to immediate tangible gains. There is also a case to rethink the traditional cost-biased interfaces and business models between service suppliers and operators.

The papers selected this year include examples in which the value of innovation is recognized and steps were taken to optimize application in horizontal wells.

This Month's Technical Papers

Horizontal-Well Correlation in Geosteering Complex Reservoirs of Saudi Arabia

Development of a Volumetric Horizontal-Well-Stimulation Model

Successful Cases of Horizontal-Well Tight-Sand-Gas Development in China

Recommended Additional Reading

IPTC 16872 Production Transformation in Horizontal Wells’ Oil Recovery and Revival in Shallow Volcanic Fractured Reservoir by ICD’s OH Completions Success, Central Thailand by B. Edward, Pan Orient Energy, et al.

SPE 164841 Using Real-Time High-Resolution LWD Images To Navigate and Optimize Multistage Completions in a Carbonate Reservoir by Sandeep Janwadkar, Baker Hughes, et al.

SPE/IADC 163494 Successful Application of Concentric-Casing Nitrogen Injection To Overcome Drilling Challenges and Deliver a Record Horizontal Well in the Tecominoacan Field by Reginaldo Rodríguez, Pemex, et al.

Jon Ruszka, SPE, currently leads graduate engineer development for Baker Hughes, Africa. He has more than 25 years of industry experience in various technical, operational, and marketing positions focused on the application and advancement of directional-drilling technology and wellbore-positioning techniques. Ruszka holds a BS honors degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Bristol and a post-graduate diploma with distinction in offshore engineering from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. He has authored numerous SPE papers and serves on the annual IADC/SPE Drilling Conference & Exhibition Organizing Committee and the 2013 SPE Offshore Europe Committee. Ruszka is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee.

Horizontal and Complex-Trajectory Wells

Jon Ruszka, SPE, Graduate Engineer Development, Baker Hughes

01 November 2013

Volume: 65 | Issue: 11

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