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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) Roundtable for Russia with Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Weatherford

Dean Watson, Vice President of Schlumberger's Drilling and Measurements business in Russia.

Kieran Fitzpatrick, Operations Manager, Halliburton Sperry Drilling, Russia

Vitaly Chubrikov, Baker Hughes INTEQ, Business Development Manager, Russia

Brod Sutcliffe, Global Business Development Director for Weatherford Drilling Services

ROGTEC: What are the key advantages of ERD for the Russian market place?

Dean Watson: The key advantages for ERD in the Russian market place are the same as they are in other market places: a cost effective solution with proven ROI, an environmental solution or an accessibility solution. By a cost effective solution the meaning is rationalization of ROI for the infrastructure required to exploit the assets. If ERD proves to be the most cost effective solution taking into account other drivers such as environmental issues or accessibility then it makes sense for our clients to use this technology. In some cases ERD can be rationalized in Russia to address environmental concerns or in areas where there is limited infrastructure.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: Specific advantages of ERD are as follows:

  1. Extend life of mature fields (producers/injectors).
  2. Satellite field developments.
  3. Eliminate drilling/production islands.
  4. Access reserves in environmentally sensitive areas.
  5. Traditional ERD, e.g. the world class wells in Sakhalin, where the use of a land rig and onshore production facilities to access offshore fields are much less expensive. They are able to operate all year (unlike offshore rigs in the frozen ocean), and more efficiently (but less expensive) environmental and safety compliance.
  6. Multiple well ERD from Russian tundra locations (pads), resulting in less environmental & ecological disturbance, as well as the ability to drill under lakes & rivers e.g. under Samotlor Lake.


  1. Access reserves economically.
  2. Fewer pipelines - reduction in costly subsea equipment.
  3. Bring production forward.
  4. Re-assess opportunities previously uneconomic.
  5. Plan new bespoke ERD developments.

Vitaly Chubrikov: ERD technology has different potential and applications for both mature (brown) and new (green) fields; outlined below are the separate advantages:

Brown fields:

Capital costs reduction; most of production comes from W. Siberia where pad drilling is standard, due to the swampy landscape and limited existing infrastructure. ERD will allow the drilling of wells with longer range from existing pads to reach field areas which would normally require building new pads

Better production and longer wells life cycle. ERD employs Rotary Steerable Systems and Logging While Drilling technologies; the combination of these provides accurate wellbore placement in better quality reservoir zones that ensures better production and longer life cycles with ERD wells

Better production from complex water flooded fields; ERD will allow the setting of multiple geological targets to produce from several relatively good zones within water flooded zones Green Fields:Less capital intensive field development projects. Pad and infrastructure construction on land (access roads, pipe lines, energy lines etc) are a significant part of capital investments to develop Green Fields, in some cases more than half of the entire field development costs. Introduction of ERD wells will allow the development of green fields from fewer pads, which will significantly reduce development costs.

Development of offshore green fields are even more capital intensive, and so the potential of capital cost reduction through the application of ERD technology is even better.

As already mentioned above, the advantages of RSS and LWD technologies are also fully applicable to green fields.

Brod Sutcliffe: Weatherford offers a full range of drilling services for ERD wells. Our Revolution Rotary Steerable and Weatherfod LWD systems can be combined to provide an excellent Extended Reach Drilling System. We offer the Revolution System in all hole sizes and we now offer both wired and wireless motorized RSS options for increased bit speed and ROP. Our LWD systems holds world records for Pressure, Temperature, Dog Leg and for pulse detection in extreme drilling environments - a key attribute for ERD drilling. Our LWD systems offer a full complement of azimuthal measurements for GR, Spectral Gamma Ray, multi-frequency resistivity, azimuthal density and thermal neutron porosity.

All azimuthal measurements deliver both realtime and recorded data imaging and this data can easily be transported to any location with our Realtime Operations Service.

ROGTEC: Outside of the current economic situation what is the market and potential for ERD in Russia?

Dean Watson: Although ERD is currently relatively small in Russia, this technology will continue to grow as offshore assets and eastern Siberia are developed.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: Sakhalin is the biggest market in Russia remaining at 1 P3 rigs. ERD wells can bring additional reserves on line which may not be otherwise accessible with conventional well designs. As new reserves are identified in more isolated and remote locations, ERD well designs will have increased applications.
Please also refer to the below reference on potential fields

Vitaly Chubrikov: Declining production in brown fields will make operators look for technologies to maintain or improve production, at increasing costs; eventually ERD would become economical for operators.

Green field development will definitely employ ERD technology for discovered fields in the Barents Sea, Caspian, Sakhalin and Eastern Siberia.

However at the moment ERD application is also limited by existing rigs fleet technical capabilities Р in reality there are just a few rigs available across Russia technically capable to drill wells over 6,000m MD.

Brod Sutcliffe: ERD drilling can dramatically reduce the environmental wellsite footprint of an operation as well as significantly reduce capital cost. Any market where these issues are concerns will benefit from ERD drilling.

ROGTEC: What are the key fields and regions for this technology?

Dean Watson: Geographically potential markets exist where there are offshore assets as well as accessibility issues potentially caused by a lack of infrastructure. The following come to mind: Sakhalin, the Caspian, the far north and eastern Siberia.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: On Sakhalin, Odoptu and possibly others; remote tundra fields in NW Siberia and fields where the cost of a platform is prohibitive, e.g. Shtokman. Also, Near-shore fields in the Barents Sea and Ob River delta (areas frozen in winter so not suitable for platforms) by ERD. Inland ERD wells are likely to get longer from larger tundra pads to reduce environmental footprint.

Vitaly Chubrikov: Barents Sea, Caspian, Sakhalin, Eastern Siberia, some recently discovered fields in W. Siberia and Komi in remote areas.

ROGTEC: What are the key factors for success in planning and delivering ERD wells?

Dean Watson: Key factors for the success in ERD are: innovative technology, people expertise, process organization and communication. Appreciation to the cost involved and the potential downside if there is a major or catastrophic event should be fully understood. Success is in the planning and detail and Schlumberger has a proven track record to successfully delivery ERD wells.

People and the competency of people at the wellsite are important elements to the delivery of ER wells and so developing knowledge and expertise, through training should be put in place well in advance. Promoting communication between all members of the project will provide another success factor.

Time for the planning cycle is essential. Drilling an ER well is not just an extension of a typical directional well. Depending on the scale of the project or well, the required or suggested planning and lead time could be between 2 to 4 years lead time, from the conceptual phase through to spud.

There are numerous design criteria that have to be considered in detail for ERD. The final geometric profile and planned well trajectory is key, especially the build up section. This section must be planned to accommodate minimal tortuosity and a "smooth" well bore, a factor that plays an important deliverable in the final execution of the well and the ability to run tubulars throughout the well.

Other factors that have to be managed are wellbore stability, ECD management, wellbore positioning and real-time monitoring. The later point illustrates the requirement to plan for the ability to maintain good data telemetry and data management throughout the well execution.
ECD management and planning is vital during the modeling phase as this alone could be a limiting factor for the well delivery and operations. Planning for realtime monitoring is essential so as the drilling progresses the performance versus the model can be tracked and updated as necessary.

Operational challenges have to be evaluated and contingency planning put in place. Torque and drag, hole cleaning, barite sag, well control, these are all additional factors that have to be considered at the design phase. This is where the selection of the correct downhole drilling technology is critical. Rotary steerable systems are now the drilling technology of choice for ERD, as they provide the opportunity to deliver continual rotation, promote good hole cleaning and hence avoid the opportunity for stuck pipe or inducing pack-offs or poor well bore stability.

The completion type and any future well intervention must be considered as one of the primary design criteria.

In line with all the design factors, obviously then the rig must be sized to accommodate all the operations from drilling, tripping, completion running and workover capability, all of which may require upgrades to the equipment or sourcing of an ERD capable, specific rig.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: An ERD well is a very sensitive system so it is essential that with so many variables that can affect the eventual success of an ERD project that all aspects of the wells are very carefully planned. There must be a total team effort during the planning and execution of the well. Drilling Environment, Well Engineering and well designs, and drilling parameters play a very important role in ERD Well Design:

Drilling Environment:
Onshore / Offshore
Shallow Gas
Pore Pressure
Fracture Gradient
Depleted Zones
Seismic Data

Well Design:
Profile Design
Hole Size
Casing Designs
Torque and Drag
Hole Cleaning
Borehole Stability
Risk Mitigation
Lessons Learnt

Drilling Parameters:
Drill String Design
Rig Limits
Mud Design
Operating Procedures
ECD Management
Directional Control
New Technology
Casing Running

During the planning phase, great care must be taken to get the best possible rock strength analysis done. The second critical part of the planning phase is the best possible torque & drag modeling. This should include drilling fluid lubricity testing. Accurate Equivalent Circulating Density (ECD) & hole cleaning modeling are also required.

It is also essential to determine/model whether casing will run in the hole conventionally. Premium casing threads are needed, as the casing may have to be pushed. It may be necessary to float casing into at least one hole section, as well as running roller centralizers.
In the operating phase, torque & drag monitoring is the most important parameter to monitor the build up of cuttings' beds in the low side of the hole. Consistent procedures to measure pick-up/slack-off weight & torque on connections are essential. Premium drilling fluid lubricants, e.g. TORQ-TRIMЁ 22 lubricant will be needed as well as mechanical torque reduction equipment, e.g. drill string torque reduction (DSTR) subs. Both factors (torque & drag and fluid lubricants) are essential during well completion as well as drilling phase.

Another key item is the final completion string. Well screens with a Swellpacker isolation system are a proven option to cementing which is very difficult in long horizontal sections.

Finally, the rig must have the capability. The drill string will see big loads, so premium connections are required. Big pipe (5-7/8" or 6-5/8") is recommended for more pulling power, more torque, less buckling & better hole cleaning. The pumps must be big & the standpipe pressure rating adequate (5000 psi recommended). The top drive must be able to rotate at least at 120 rpm with high torque loads. A Pressure-while-drilling (PWD) tool is needed to monitor ECD.

Every tool, joint of pipe, sub, etc. should be benchmark tested, labeled & hours tracked in a register to minimise the risk of failure. Non-spec tubulars & tools should be removed from the rig.

The shakers must have the ability to handle high flow rates with high cuttings' loads through fine mesh screens. The concentration of ultra-fine solids builds rapidly due to "mortar & pestle" grinding by the drill pipe against the low side of the hole, so extra centrifuges & high dilution rates are needed.

The key is careful planning. You need enough time & resources to do this thoroughly.

Vitaly Chubrikov: Good geological field knowledge; custom-planned wells; involvement of the Operator, Rig Contactor and Service Companies engineering, geological and operational experts in all well planning and execution and a lessons-learned cycle to improve efficiency and performance on each following well.

Brod Sutcliffe: ERD drilling is in most cases an offshore operations. There is limited activity onshore to the high cost. However difficult terrain, environmental site issues and near shore locations to offshore reservoirs can bring an opportunity to onshore ERD. Any fields agreeable to the business drivers such as limited surface access or superior economic choice would be open to an ERD application.

ROGTEC: What are the key benefits of your specific ERD solution?

Dean Watson: Obvious benefits of our specific ERD solution would be to deliver the well with good performance, with in the project time line and cost effectively. Good planning and lead time would ensure that the correct and appropriate technology, services and rig selection or upgrades could be planned and delivered. Ultimately resulting in a final proposed well design to reduce risk and maximize success. This is based on Schlumberger's leading position in the ERD market and a proven track record with both appropriate technology and the people (their knowledge and expertise) to make this happen.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: Halliburton's Sperry Drilling and Drill Bits and Services provide a matched drilling system that minimizes the amount of ‘spiraling' in the wellbore. Our ‘point-the-bit' Geo-Pilot rotary steerable system matched with a long-gauge Geo-Pilot bit deliver a smooth, non-tortuous wellbore. When spiraling in the well occurs over the many thousands of meters it can result in numerous problems such as excessive torque and drag and poor hole cleaning. Elimination of this spiraling increases the chance of being able to drill the section successfully and minimizes problems when running casing or completions. In addition, Sperry Drilling has a comprehensive range of logging-while-drilling (LWD) sensors which can provide solutions for formation evaluation, geosteering and wellbore stability without having to use wireline logging techniques which can be expensive, difficult and risky in an ERD well. Using Max3Di drilling optimization software, directional drilling efficiency and reliability can be increased by immediately detecting out-of-bound conditions. Drilling costs can be reduced and the decision-making process can be expedited by providing key data to personnel both at the rigsite and in Real Time Centers, where drilling performance can be modeled before going downhole to choose optimum parameters and avoid surprises. Post-well analysis with instant replay allows us to identify problems and work on solutions for future wells.

For Sperry Drilling the key advantages are as follows:

  1. Experience in drilling extended reach wells in different counties around the world.
  2. Well Engineering Design and planning, specific engineering group.
  3. Real Time CentersStrataSteer 3D geosteering service.
  4. BHA analysis with MaxBHA software.
  5. Well optimization of drilling parameters. Max3Di drilling optimization software. Quicker drilling times and reduced formation exposure time.
  6. GeoTap formation pressure tester and pressure-while-drilling LWD tools aid with the calculation of correct formation pore pressures and ECD circulating pressures to help maintain the optimum mud systems and hole cleaning. This enables ERD wells to be drilled with real-time data transmission.

Mud systems, Baroid:

  1. Experience (Baroid have engineered 25 of the 30 longest reach wells in the world).
  2. Suitable fluids, engineered for stability, lubricity & minimum ECD.
  3. DFG software for best-in-class hydraulics & ECD prediction.
  4. Premium lubricants for drilling & completion fluids.
  5. Wellbore stability software & wellbore strengthening technologies & products (WellSET Lost Circulation Treatment).
  6. Optimized theology under downhole conditions for maximum hole cleaning.

Vitaly Chubrikov: Large local and international ERD experience; complete portfolio of technical expertise, superb equipment and state-of-art software.

Brod Sutcliffe: For Weatherford Drilling Services our products are: Rotary Steerable Technology, Full LWD capability, Azimuthal measurements with realtime imaging for accurate geosteering, Realtime Operations and Drilling Optimization (Vibration, PWD, BHA design).

ROGTEC: What are the most common problems which occur in the Russian market with ERD?

Dean Watson: The challenges in the Russian market are the same as they are in other ERD markets.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: The main problems are a lack of understanding of the benefits of ERD, a lack of planning and expertise and lastly a lack of drilling rigs capable for ERD.

Vitaly Chubrikov: The cost of ERD still does not allow economical application for brown fields. Also lack of technically capable drilling rigs.

ROGTEC: How can well bore instability be minimized pre and during drilling ops?

Dean Watson: Well bore instability can be minimized by review and root cause analysis of offset well data as part of the planning phase. This may entail full geomechanics studies to evaluate the zones of potential challenges, the stress direction, formation and compressive strength and breakout characteristics.

Working with the drilling team in the development of good drilling practices and training during the pre planning phase helps identify and promote awareness of key issues amongst the whole team. This allows for the experts to communicate the mitigating measure to be deployed and the urgently of quick identification and communication during the execution phase.

Once in the drilling phase then adherence to the set and agreed drilling and operation practices should be followed and monitored in realtime. Monitoring and comprehension of the events and risks throughout the hole section and early identification of hole changes is essential.
Mud chemistry and theology are key aspects that also require good design to address the wellbore stability but must also deliver the necessary characteristics as a drilling fluid to aid the complete process.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: A thorough well-bore stability evaluation needs to be carried out encompassing regional tectonics, structural analysis and experience from wells that have been drilled in the same area. By carefully planning the well direction and profile, well bore instability issues should be minimized. While drilling, hole conditions should be carefully monitored for signs of borehole deterioration. In addition, LWD sensors can provide early warning signs of borehole instability and provide valuable information on stress directions.

In summary:
Accurate rock strength measurement & geomechanical analysis.
Proven drilling fluid technology.
While drilling, adequate mud weight, based on rock strength analysis.
Good hole cleaning modeling & practices.
Well thought-out circulation & tripping practices.
Understand the effect of high ECD's on borehole stability & induced lost circulation, especially in ERD wells at shallow true vertical depth (TVD).

Vitaly Chubrikov: The question requires the writing of an additional article! It is a very complex problem which does have technical solutions, individual to each field. Usually solutions are around drilling fluids properties, drilling parameters and practices.

Brod Sutcliffe: Pre-well planning can assist in optimizing the well profile, the mud program and the BHA design. Then, while drilling, we monitor in realtime, ECD, cuttings removal, Stick-Slip, three-axis vibration, temperature, bore/annular pressure etc. to reduce wellbore instability.

ROGTEC: What are some of the key indicators of problems during drilling an ERD well?

Dean Watson: Indicators normally manifest themselves very quickly and unfortunately on ER wells they can have catastrophic effects on the well or project. The key is obviously in the avoidance of such problems and as stressed above this is why the planning stage is so critical as well as the level of expertise of the people involved. Schlumberger has a good track record in helping our clients to minimize such problems.

Ensure that all critical parameters have been modeled in advanced and actual data is available to evaluate trends. Calibration of wellsite data is essential for the maximum value to be extracted from the realtime data versus the models (which have been validated against offset information). Clear divergence from the established pre-drilling models which are being updated in realtime for all phases of the operation (drilling, tripping, and casing running), for example torque and drag, ECD, vibration, stick slip and other drilling dynamics. Continuous review of formation and associate uncertainties are also key indication of variations to the plan which may require immediate evaluation and changes to the predicted models.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: When an ERD well is planned, a comprehensive "road-map" of expected measured parameters should be produced from modeling expected scenarios. Any deviation from what has been expected is an indication that there may be problems. Typically, the well will be monitored from a Real Time Centre (RTC) which may be located at a remote location some distance from the actual well location. The RTC may, for example, be located at the operator's main office where teams of experts can monitor the well's progress while also monitoring wells at other locations. This allows for the maximum use of what are becoming increasingly scarce, experienced personnel.

Inadequate hole cleaning in large diameter, high-angle hole sections.
Deviation of actual torque & drag away from modeled trends.
PWD data indicating excessive annulus cuttings' loads.

Vitaly Chubrikov: Again, it is a difficult question and depends on the problems observed. Not to be specific, these could be excessive torque & drag, pressure increase, decrease or fluctuations, fluids losses or gains, cuttings volume etc.

Brod Sutcliffe: The critical issues for ERD would be ECD management, hole cleaning and hydraulics, drillstring mechanics (Torque and Drug), wellbore stability, drilling fluid, casing issues, drilling operations issues, pro-active geosteering and navigation. ERD wells can be technically challenging to plan and implement. What advise would you offer an operator considering and ERD solution?

Dean Watson: Invest in the upfront planning cycle. Getting it right first time requires good and extensive planning. Good planning will allow the operator to avoid an incident that may lead to a disastrous scenario. This potentially disastrous scenario is the major cost element that will affect the ERD project budget.

People are a key asset. Developing expertise and competency is essential and additional formal ERD training should be considered.

Know what works. Know what the limits are and find effective solutions. Develop a learning curve on the ERD campaign. Do not start with the most difficult well first. Capture as much information and lessons learned as possible to update and validate the models for the project or field. Data is essential. Success is in the detail.Bring together the operational teams during the preparatory phase to gain specific ERD training and to also highlight the key challenges that are expected during the execution. This also provides the opportunity for new ideas or challenges to be presented prior to spud!

Peer reviews are key to helping to identify whether the process has been followed and whether there are any potential show stoppers or barriers that have been missed in the planning phase.
Ensure that the well objectives have clarity and are understood by all. Selection of the appropriate technologies is essential and inline not only with the objectives but also to provide the necessary data to execute the well whilst minimizing the risks.

For today's ERD execution the benefits of realtime monitoring and support from the organization in town is now seen as a major way forward. The opportunity to engage not only the wellsite experts but those who have ownership of the well design programs in town can only add benefit and reduce the operational risk. Communication is key.

Kieran Fitzpatrick: Plan every aspect of the well, have a plan for every eventuality and learn from the experience of others who have drilled similar types of wells.

Consult with contractors and specialists that have extensive experience in this area. Careful planning is also required as per previous comments.Upgrading the rig and contractor equipment to meet the required objectives, for example hookload, torque, flow rate standpipe pressue etc is also essential.Using premium equipment such as top drives, downhole equipment, tubulars and connections and fluids also.

Technology used to push ERD limits:

Rotary Steerable Systems (RSS).
Casing / liner drilling systems.
Casing / liner flotation methods.
Pressure While Drilling (PWD).
Torque and Drag management.
Learning / knowledge transfer.

Vitaly Chubrikov: Economics: ERD costs vs. production over well life.

Good understanding of expectations and goals to select appropriate available technologies.

Solid understanding of the field geology and associated challenges.

Brod Sutcliffe: Good pre-well planning, alignment of operational objectives, good communication with all operational groups (Drilling, Geology, Completions, Reservoir, Petrophysics) and the selection of fit-for-purpose technology for job execution.

Dean Watson, Vice President of Schlumberger's Drilling and Measurements business in Russia Dean Watson is currently the Vice President of Schlumberger's Drilling and Measurements business in Russia. A 16 year veteran of the oilfield, he has held several Operational and Headquarters positions.

He graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the UK and immediately put his education to use as a design engineer in one of Schlumberger's Technology Center. After several years in various positions he was then transferred to headquarters to lead a road map for new technology in Drilling Tools. A few years later he was then able to see first had the results of this work when he assumed a role as Operations Manager for China, Japan and Korea. Before assuming the VP position in Russia he was the world wide Operations Support Manager for Drilling and Measurements at Headquarters.

Kieran Fitzpatrick, Operations Manager, Halliburton Sperry Drilling, Russia Kieran has been based in Moscow for 2.5 years and in Russia for 5 years. He started in the North Sea in 1985, and has been with Halliburton since 1988, primarily working in the Middle East (Dubai / Abu Dhabi / Oman / Qatar / Pakistan / Bahrain / Egypt / Yemen / Saudi Arabia). Kieran was educated at the Belfast Municipal Institute and The Queen's University of Belfast.

Vitaly Chubrikov, Baker Hughes INTEQ, Business Development Manager, RussiaVitaly Chubrikov graduated from Gubkinsky Oil & Gas University in Moscow in 1995 and joined Baker Hughes soon after, as a field engineer. Over the years he has held various field and office positions in both domestic and international assignments.

Brod Sutcliffe, Global Business Development Director Weatherford Drilling ServicesBrod Sutcliffe has worked in the oil & gas drilling industry for 29 years since graduating in Geology from Leeds University, UK. After spending several years in the field as a wellsite geologist, LWD engineer and directional driller, Brod has held a number of operational and business development management positions.

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posted by The Rogtec Team @ 09:35 


Blogger Bubbadog said...

I find it ironical that All participants agree on the ERD approach, but make not mention of the depth of their teams locally. Any group can rest on their past accomplishments, having full complement teams in country would indicate a companies "readiness" to provide resources required to implement successful ERD. Having participated in record setting ERD, I know first hand that a team has to be on the same page in order provide rapid return on investment. A last minute "patch work" of imported team members invites "ego battles". Their is no "I" in team.

2 June 2009 18:42  
Blogger Azik said...

Bubbadog, Baker Hughes has drilled ERD wells from Sakhalin - so the team and experience are in place. Now it is time to educate the customers on the advantages of ERD in the rest of Russia and Caspian

6 June 2009 00:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azik; Great BaKer Hughes has an ERD team in place. Given the size of the countries involved, would your team be viewed as "outsiders" like I am viewed or a group that will come alongside the existing directional people and train them on the hands on approach with the engineering team so everyone can work together on future projects?? Rotary Steerables are point the bit or push the bit if that is the bottom hole assembly of choice in an ERD project. SLB has acquired K&M in order to reinforce drilling practices. You have to convince the front office before the field crew comes on board. Best practices have to be understood for the success of any ERD.

8 July 2009 15:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The leadering independant Drilling Engineering consultancy in delivering ERD projectr are undoubtably Merlin ERD Limited.

Contact these guys to get an unbiased view on feasibility, the best drilling tools, common pitfalls and critical success factors.

It's great to see this debate

31 July 2009 23:18  

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