When I started working in the oil and gas business in the 1970s, we spent a great deal of time designing vertical wells. The horizontal well was by and large a far-fetched idea on everyone’s wish list—the capability to have a completion go through the sweet spot was almost too good to be true. Fast forward to 2017 and we are now drilling horizontals everywhere, surpassing drilling times again and again.
But what about vertical wells, are we not still drilling those? The answer is “Yes, we are.” From 2011 to 2016, the industry drilled 117,624 vertical wells in the United States while, in that same time frame, it drilled 84,200 horizontals.
The fact is, vertical wells still have several key applications: They are typically used as the preliminary wellbore in exploration, production, and acreage delineation, and can be used for infill drilling, injection, and disposal.
So, can we not apply advanced technologies more often to mature vertical wells? We can, but two factors need to be considered when doing so—technology and cost....
Why Can’t We Apply Advanced Technologies More Often to Vertical Wells in Mature Fields?
Rob Hull, Director, Global Technical Solutions, Halliburton
01 June 2017