2010DC MicrositesMarch/April

Drilling & Completions Tech Digest

Shell, Delft University of Technology join forces in Recovery Factory Programme

Shell International E&P and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have begun a joint research project called The Recovery Factory that aims to develop solutions and innovative technologies that could increase the amount of oil and gas that can be extracted from subsurface reservoirs. The programme will initially run for six years.

On average for the industry, the recovery factor of reservoirs produced to date is only around 35% of the oil in place, with the remainder trapped in the rock. With current technology, further exploitation is either too difficult or too expensive.

An increase in the efficiency of global hydrocarbon recovery of just 1% would expand conventional oil reserves by 88 billion bbls, enough to replace three years of world production at the current rate (27 billion bbls/yr). Hence, an increase in the recovery factor could have a major impact on global production.

The Recovery Factory programme aims to achieve this by combining new technology with traditional methods. Key components include:

1) The application of measurement and control techniques.

2) The injection of chemicals to make oil more easily producible, or enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

The programme will bring this to the next level by using a fundamental understanding of the subsurface processes to achieve smart EOR, according to Shell and Delft.

Rotary steerable tool makes record run

Baker Hughes has completed a successful record-breaking run using its 4 ¾-in. AutoTrak eXpress rotary steerable system.

The company suggested the system to an operator interested in drilling an extended-reach lateral in the Wildcat Wolfcamp Field of Chaves County, N.M. The combination of the rotary steerable system and the 4 ¾-in. Ultra X-treme LS modular motor provided the capability to stay within the zone while completing the planned 4,000-ft lateral. The bottomhole assembly drilled 4,092 ft (1,247 m), completing the lateral in a single run and saving the operator several days of rig time. It also helped set a Baker Hughes US land run-time record of 193 total hours with the rotary steerable system.

High-temperature expandable system installed in Canadian SAGD well

Enventure Global Technology has installed  its SET high-temperature cased-hole expandable system in a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) well in Alberta, Canada.

An operator used the 9 5/8 in.-by-11 ¾ in., high-temperature system to repair a casing integrity issue in the SAGD well. The 30-ft liner was installed and expanded at a depth of 646 ft and allowed the operator to continue using the well according to its exploration strategy.

The system comes in all currently available SET system sizes. It is rated to withstand temperatures up to 518°F and pressures of 1,000 psi. The in-situ expansion of the steel casing allows for maximized internal diameter (ID) and through-put.

Purification system may ease water challenges in shale frac process

New Mexico-based Altela has helped the Pennsylvania natural gas company BLX place a water purification unit directly at the well head that purifies the frac water to remove salts and other contaminants. This allowed BLX to use the water repeatedly for the same frac process.

The water purification system, 45-ft long and 8-ft wide, continuously converts the frac water into water that is less than 50 mg/l in salt concentration, which is 10 times cleaner than municipal drinking water.

The process is centered around its non-pressurized technology, which can be used in inexpensive plastics rather than corrodible metal, to purify water.

Shell, HP to jointly develop wireless, ultra high-resolution  seismic sensing solution

Shell and HP are collaborating to develop a wireless sensing system to acquire extremely high-resolution seismic data on land. The companies will use their complementary knowledge and experience to produce a solution to sense, collect and store geophysical data. The system will be designed to integrate with Shell’s high-performance computing and seismic-imaging environment and will be able to be deployed safely and more cost-effectively than current systems.

“We think this will represent a leap forward in seismic data quality that will provide Shell with a competitive advantage in exploring difficult oil and gas reservoirs, such as subsalt plays in the Middle East or unconventional gas in North America,” said Gerald Schotman, executive vice president, innovation/research and development, Shell.

The new system will be delivered by HP Enterprise Services and include a recent breakthrough in high-performance sensing technology from HP Labs, the company’s central research arm, and the company’s Imaging and Printing Group. Additionally, the system will use HP ProCurve networking products along with HP storage, computation and software products.


The Yastreb rig drilled the first two of seven extended-reach wells in the Odoptu oil reservoir over 9 km offshore. Odoptu is expected to begin producing oil in 2010.

ExxonMobil completes Sakhalin Project’s first 2 extended-reach wells on Odoptu

ExxonMobil has completed the first two extended-reach wells at the Odoptu field offshore eastern Russia. ExxonMobil subsidiary Exxon Neftegas Ltd (ENL) is operator on behalf of the five-company international Sakhalin-1 Consortium.

The Yastreb rig, located onshore Sakhalin, drilled horizontally under the Sea of Okhotsk to a target area in the Odoptu oil reservoir over 9 km offshore. The extended-reach wells are the first two of seven that will tap the reservoir at Odoptu. The field is anticipated to begin producing oil in the second half of 2010.

“This is yet another milestone in Sakhalin-1 Project3 achievements,” said Neil Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Company. “The Sakhalin-1 Project is one of the largest energy investments in Russia and is a testament to international cooperation. The continued application of ExxonMobil’s leading-edge Fast Drill technology has resulted in record performance at Odoptu, paving the way for lower development costs.”

The Sakhalin-1 project includes the phased development of the Chayvo, Odoptu and Arkuntun-Dagi fields, with an estimated total resource of 2.3 billion bbls of oil and 17 trillion cu ft of natural gas. The Chayvo field, which was the initial phase of the Sakhalin-1 project, began production in 2006.

Since startup, the project has produced over 240 million bbls of oil for export to worldwide markets. It also has been a key supplier of nearly 180 billion cu ft of associated natural gas to customers in Khabarovsk Krai in far eastern Russia to heat homes and meet energy needs. The project will continue to help meet future regional natural gas demands.

10-year slickline safety record achieved in Oman

CROSCO Integrated Drilling & Well Services announced that on 17 December 2009, CROSCO joint venture company Midwesco achieved a safety record of 10 years of slickline services in Oman without a lost-time incident (LTI).

Boris Lazar, CROSCO chief executive officer and president, explained, “We were able to commence slickline service in a new market and bring on an increasing number of local personnel without a single LTI incident.

“Our results reward our efforts of implementing various safety initiatives including, STOP cards, rewards and incentives, as well as our efforts to introduce new wireline tools and technologies on an ongoing basis.”

Super-extended lateral completions in Woodford boosts Newfield production

Newfield Exploration has achieved a record gross operated production of 323 MMcfe/d from the company’s Woodford Shale play in the Arkoma Basin of southeastern Oklahoma. Production in early 2010 is expected to continue to benefit from the ongoing completion of about 20 wells drilled in late 2009.

The recent increase in production from the Woodford Shale is being driven by results from recent super-extended lateral (SXL) completions. Recent wells include:

• Madison 1H-15W: The well had a lateral length of 9,983 ft and was completed with 20 fracture stimulation stages. The well had an initial production of 13.5 MMcf/d with about 25% of the frac load recovered.

• Martin 1H-15E: The well had a lateral length of 9,405 ft and was completed with 19 fracture stimulation stages. The well had initial production of 13.5 MMcf/d with about 15% of the frac load recovered.

Newfield has five additional SXLs that have been drilled with completion operations pending.

For 2010, Newfield estimates that its average lateral completion in the Woodford Shale will be 6,000 ft to 7,000 ft. The company expects that these SXLs can be drilled and completed for approximately $7 million to $8 million gross.

Based on drilling to date and 3D seismic data that cover the entirety of Newfield’s Woodford Shale acreage, the company estimates that 25% of its Woodford acreage will be developed with SXL completions.

The company has applied to unitize a large portion of its acreage to facilitate drilling more SXLs. Approval of the unit would increase to approximately 33% of the acreage.

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