Well Construction Performance Service Bridges Planning-Execution Gap To Boost Efficiency

Fig. 2—In the 6-in. section, ADCO reduced connection time from 22.5 to 15.5 min/stand and improved on-bottom ROP from 63 ft/h to 71 ft/h, compared with a benchmark well.

Less than a decade ago, the key to optimizing wellbore economics centered mainly on drilling faster and improving rates of penetration (ROP). Improved drilling techniques, innovative bottomhole assembly (BHA) and bit technology, and advanced methods for measuring downhole dynamics gaged by key performance indicators (KPIs) enabled operators to push the limits of technology.

Well planning, a critical aspect in optimizing well construction, leverages lessons learned and best practices, along with powerful modeling and simulation software platforms. Yet, even the best well plans experience deviations that result in missed opportunities to drill and trip faster or operate the rig more efficiently, without compromising safety or wellbore integrity.

Historically, these gains have not been captured in real time, but more likely, at best, have been identified in a post-well analysis. Limitations in computing power and lack of data processing automation have meant experts could only monitor one well or rig at a time.

Moreover, the drilling phase, where ROP has a significant impact, often accounts for less than 25% of the full well construction cycle.

Opportunities for efficiency gains have remained unexplored within the rest of the cycle—including running casing, pulling riser, tripping in and out of the hole, making connections, and testing the blowout preventer (BOP).

A new approach overcomes these challenges by taking a holistic view of the well construction cycle to bridge the gap between planning and execution. It brings well construction into a new digital era that makes better use of data and enhances collaboration, achieving greater efficiency and safety from planning through execution.

Currently operating on multiple onshore and offshore wells globally, the OptiWell well construction performance service gives operators access to the best available surface, downhole, and logging data and multi­discipline expertise to monitor and analyze all operations, processes, and downhole conditions in real time. The service transforms the large volume of surface and downhole data into actionable information, reducing nonproductive time (NPT) and invisible lost time (ILT) while increasing drilling performance and improving operational efficiency.  

The service closes the loop by identifying inefficiencies and proposing new workflows and procedures that challenge technical limits to increase performance and reduce risk in every area of well construction. Global operations are monitored and analyzed remotely by experts from drilling, mud logging, geomechanics, and other domains located in in-house service centers, who collaborate with a customer’s onsite well operation analysts.

The well construction performance service can be scaled to enable only the workflows needed for a specific well or section. Operators can target KPIs and implement the service for a specific project or a general efficiency improvement campaign by focusing on specific areas of the operation that are not meeting objectives. Workflows can be adapted from a single-well exploration campaign to a multirig, multiwell field development campaign.

Performance, Hazards Managed

The service enables the integration of multiple well monitoring and analysis services to improve hole-cleaning, reduce wellbore risk, and ensure drillstring integrity. This includes the Opti­Drill real-time drilling intelligence service and the RigHour multiwell drilling operational efficiency analysis, which computes and compares drilling-­specific KPIs to improve the drilling phase and reduce time and cost.

The hazard management aspect of the service monitors and analyzes the surface and downhole environments to identify potential risks to drilling operations, such as severe gains or losses that could cause a fluid kick or loss, stuck pipe incidents, or potential high-­vibration zones that could affect borehole and BHA integrity. This minimizes NPT and reduces health, safety, and environmental issues that endanger personnel, rig operations, and equipment.

A key issue the service addresses is ILT, the time between actual and technically achievable duration for well construction jobs. A notable example is the significant time variance in making connections because of multiple factors, including crew member performance, and surveying practices. By capturing data on connection times, operators can establish consistent, low connection-time standards, ­ultimately saving valuable time throughout the well life cycle.

In both land and offshore environments, large streams of real-time data from hundreds of surface and downhole measurements and sensors are driving the need for solutions that automate workflows through advanced data integration, data management, KPI benchmarks, and support collaboration. Closing the gap to the technical limit in these high-stakes fields is critical for optimizing the well construction process.

Increasing ROP, Decreasing ILT

The OptiWell service helped an operator customize a well construction plan that set drilling footage records and decreased connection times in a multi­well project in a deepwater Gulf of Mexico field. The operator wanted to achieve consistent improvement across three wells by addressing tripping speeds, connection times, ROP optimization, mechanical specific energy, and BOP test times. The collaborative plan involved monitoring surface and downhole data, event detection and reporting, KPI tracking, and fit-for-purpose workflows to meet key challenges.

The project also involved integration of multiple services, including a ­continuous-circulation directional survey service, which decreases rig time by taking surveys while circulating. Use of a rotary steerable drilling system significantly reduced back-reaming requirements on connections, decreasing connection times. A real-time intelligence service actively managed shock and vibration through parameter optimization recommendations while drilling, increasing ROP.

The performance management plan saved 36 drilling days and $13.3 million (Fig. 1). In the 16½-in.-by-19-in. section, the operator set a record for most footage—2,826 ft—drilled in 24 hours. Average on-bottom ROP for the three wells increased by 93%, from 73 ft/hour to 140 ft/hour, and average connection time decreased from 28.5 minutes to 17 minutes. BOP test times were reduced from 11.4 hours to 3.6 hours per test.

Fig. 1—In the Gulf of Mexico, drilling efficiency was measured against offset wells and technical limits for drilling parameters. The well in which the OptiWell service was implemented exceeded performance, compared with historical wells, in terms of salt drilling ROP and tripping speed while running in hole and pulling out of hole.

Reducing Wellbore Risks

During a multiwell land campaign, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (ADCO) implemented a new workflow using the well construction performance service to mitigate ILT issues related to poor hole-­cleaning and the potential risk of stuck pipe in a highly deviated pilot well. The primary objectives were to eliminate the risks while maximizing on-bottom ROP, drilling shoe-to-shoe, and minimizing connection time in four well sections: 16-in. vertical, 12¼-in. deviated, 8½-in. landing, and a 6-in. horizontal. The 12¼-in. deviated section, featuring a build-and-hold 52° sail angle requiring a motor BHA, presented the most challenges in terms of hole cleaning and stuck pipe risk.

In addition to the well construction performance service, the collaborative workflow included use of a rig operations surveillance and instrumentation system that positions high-frequency digital sensors throughout the rig and aggregates the data. A cuttings flowmeter, part of the CLEAR hole-­cleaning and wellbore risk-reduction system, acquired advanced cuttings recovery measurements while drilling.

ADCO completed the well in 36 days, 2 days ahead of schedule, with no NPT or stuck-pipe incidents. Early detection and response to signs of wellbore instability prevented stuck pipe in the 12¼-in. section. Throughout the operation, cuttings recovery and hole cleaning were both improved by adjusting the drilling parameters. In the 6-in. and 8½-in. sections, connection times were reduced by more than 30% while on-bottom ROP in those sections increased by 13% and 18%, respectively (Fig. 2 above). Combined, the improvements resulted in a cost savings estimated in the mid-six figures.

Well Construction Performance Service Bridges Planning-Execution Gap To Boost Efficiency

Slim Hbaieb, Julien Converset, Jason Foster, and Yezid Arevalo, Schlumberger

01 April 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 4

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