Horizontal and Complex-Trajectory Wells
The decision to construct horizontal or complex-geometry wells is driven by return on investment from technically supported predictions of incremental production or recovery. Variables that can be controlled during the construction phase, which contribute to a well’s performance over its lifetime, can be defined and set as “well-construction key objectives.” The well then can be designed and constructed using the ingenuity of knowledgeable people who are applying technologies and techniques to deliver on these objectives successfully.
However, wells are often constructed under contractual arrangements that conflict with these objectives. A highly beneficial project outcome may not result in commercial success for all parties who contributed. Worse still, it is not uncommon for events that are undesirable and unfavorable to one party to benefit another party inadvertently, often resulting in misalignment. Therefore, to deliver what is important to the project, we rely on a range of integrity-centered human factors such as professionalism, pride in doing a good job, reputation, and relationships.
This misalignment has been ongoing for years; however, there are notable exceptions to standard contractual arrangements. Interest in moving to contracts aligned to rewarding delivery of the desired result is increasing, but we might ask ourselves why the movement is slow. Certainly, designing project-specific “smart” contracts requires more effort, but, if all parties know what they want, the actual process of constructing the contract will benefit the project. Another factor that may explain the slow uptake is that, ideally, multiple parties should be incentivized on delivery of common key objectives across the asset team. This complicates matters because the tendering, evaluating, and awarding of different activities traditionally have different timelines (for example, tendering and selecting; drilling-rig contractor vs. drilling services vs. completions systems).
Therefore, while we have knowledgeable, innovative, professional people with access to great technology, we should remember that the way a contract is constructed helps maintain focus on what really matters when it comes to delivering the best outcome. Well-conceived contracts may also accelerate development of new technologies, to deliver what is not currently achievable. In a nutshell, things tend to align under a well-considered contract.
Horizontal- or complex-geometry-well construction projects are potentially good candidates to work out new contractual arrangements. Authorization to proceed with these projects is technically based, and measurable key variables can be defined. Performance of these wells is often more sensitive to the key variables; therefore, high focus on them by means of novel contractual arrangements should drive greater value.
This Month's Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
IPTC 16813 Advancing Multistage Fracturing Using Horizontal JITP and Autonomous Completion Systems by Tim Benish, ExxonMobil, et al.
SPE 163979 Challenges to Geosteering and Completion Optimization of Horizontal Wells in the Cotton Valley Formation, East Texas by S. Liu, BP America, et al.
SPE 167448 Production Optimization of a Long Horizontal Well Using Permanent Downhole Distributed-Temperature and Pressure Monitoring and Surface-Controlled Zones by Magnus Carlsen, Maersk Oil, et al.
Horizontal and Complex-Trajectory Wells
Jon Ruszka, SPE, Drilling Adviser, Baker Hughes
01 November 2014
KLX Energy Services To Merge with Quintana Energy Services
The merged companies will offer large-diameter coiled-tubing, directional drilling, snubbing, wireline services, and pressure pumping services.
Multilateral and Complex-Trajectory Wells
Although multilateral and long-reach wells are common, the technological development is not complete. Effective implementation of digital technology requires complementary development of the technology itself.
Slide-Drilling Guidance System Optimizes Directional Drilling Path
The amount of uncertainty related to directional drilling makes accurate drilling challenging, leaving much to human know-how and interpretation. Additionally, few path-planning methods in the literature consider the directional steering tool being used.
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12 May 2020