Successful Drilling Practices Study


Under contract to Gas Research Institute (GRI), OGCI Management (OGCI-M) is producing studies of successful drilling practices in ten regions. The role of these studies is unique. While many operators benchmark specific processes, this endeavor marks the first cross-company search for the most successful drilling strategies in clearly designated geographic areas. The studies focus on eleven specific drilling environments, the following seven have been completed: the Greater Green River basin (South Moxa Arch and Wamsutter area), the Arkoma Basin (Spiro objective), the Anadarko Basin (Morrow/Springer formations), the South Texas Gulf Coast (Wilcox Lobo Trend), and two unique types of drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico - deepwater and extended-reach drilling. Four new study areas began in 1997.

The goals of these projects are (1) to identify the most successful drilling practices for each of the study areas and (2) to document these practices in enough detail to ensure practical application. To this end, the studies yield Drilling Operations Plans (DOP) for prototype wells in each area. Operators can use these DOPs to plan future drilling projects. The last half of the DOP discusses drilling performance goals, especially cost and rate of production (ROP); it concludes with helpful summary information, including a hole-section trouble response table.

The objective of this SPE paper will be to outline the methodology used in developing the Successful Drilling Practices Study (SDP) and the benefits to operators who participate in and use the drilling studies. Learning curves analyzing participant performance versus non-participant performance will be used to show this benefit.

Improve Drilling Efficiency

GRI has developed sets of region-specific drilling practices. These SDP studies were developed from recorded data of practices and technologies utilized in specific regions. The intent is to lower drilling costs by allowing an operator or contractor to benefit from the success and failures made by previous operators.

Some organizations drill gas wells more cost effectively than others. Drilling costs can vary as much as 50% for wells in the same geologic area with the same objectives. Reserves that are not economical today would become more so, and the demand for area drilling services would increase, if all companies in an area learned to drill better, faster, and more economically. Efficiency followed by success creates demand.

SDPs are designed to improve the performance of the industry as a whole. The project identifies the most successful drilling practices and documents them in enough detail to be useful. GRI wants operators to be able to use the study results to actually plan and execute their drilling projects. Organizations will be able to use the successful drilling practice studies as a benchmark for their drilling performance. Analyzing the operator benefits, from the completed SDP, is a current project by OGCI-M.

Learning Curve Theory

GRI's SDP studies are proven techniques that result in fewer days to drill a well and lower cumulative drilling cost.

Each organization's operating procedures (from spud date to cementing of the production casing) were analyzed for best practices. All this information was compiled into a prototype DOP customized by region.

The best drilling practices from the most successful operators were used to create region-specific operation plans for drilling a prototype well. Experience curves show that drilling organizations do not learn at the same rate. Good drilling organizations spend 10-25% of their total budget on learning; poor organizations spend even more.




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