Digital Cloud Enables Evolution of Well Construction Workflows: A First Look at Global Results

Published: 03/15/2023

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Schlumberger Oilfield Services

Well construction and planning is a complex process that requires expertise in numerous disciplines and is conventionally performed using multiple stand-alone domain-specific software. The iterative nature of planning needs several reviews, and it is often impractical to analyze multiple scenarios in the stipulated time available to well planners. For instance, a change in trajectory may cause a geologist to update the formation tops, which in turn might lead to further changes in the trajectory. This should also require changing the casing shoe depths, hydraulics design (possibly including BHA, fluids and bits design), top of cement and cement volumes, casing design, kick tolerance, etc. Moreover, these engineering calculations need to be performed using different types of software, which makes them even more cumbersome.

For these applications, cloud-based solutions provide a number of distinct advantages over traditional approaches using stand-alone, silo-based on-premise software. A cloud-based solution brings all the domains into a single system and utilizes the powerful computing capabilities of the cloud—which would not be available to a desktop-based solution—to analyze multiple scenarios and automate repetitive tasks. These solutions provide optimized workflows that help planning teams optimize results by giving them access to all the data and science they need in a single, common collaborative system. Cloud-based systems provide a new way to communicate and share information while eliminating multiple data transfers and manual inputs. Vendors can work directly within the system, reducing design iterations and massively simplifying information exchange. Engineers can simulate various scenarios using automated offset-well analysis dashboards to decide the best plan more quickly.

This paper discusses the benefits of a cloud-based collaborative well-planning solution as experienced by various operators. In the cases presented in this paper, operator legacy workflows were mapped by interviewing various domain experts and by analyzing existing standards and documents. Numerous stakeholders were consulted to understand each step of the well-design workflow. Following this, any duplicative and time-consuming steps were optimized or removed. Discussions with subject matter experts (SMEs) and management teams helped to understand the desired and potential capabilities to align with the digital vision of each operator's organization. Proof-of-value projects and actual deployments were undertaken, where asset teams were trained and real wells were designed using the recommended workflow of the cloud-native solution.

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