Robust Directional Drilling Technologies with Digital Capabilities Enable Drilling Curve and Section 28% Quicker

Published: 02/28/2022

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Minimize the number of runs

The curve-lateral production section in the Cotton Valley Eberry Formation of Panola County, Texas, is a drilling challenge. It’s an abrasive formation with high quartz content leading to elevated wear and erosion of the drilling tools, specifically RSS and MWD systems. The excessive BHA wear is always troublesome and contributes to multiple trips. Minimizing the number of runs was the operator’s main objective.

Enhance collaboration and improve real-time decision making

Schlumberger presented several elements of an overall solution to KJ Energy LLC. The solution began with the digital capabilities of the PowerDrive Orbit G2 rotary steerable system tipped with an AxeBlade ridged diamond element bit. KJ Energy was one of the first to use the AxeBlade bit and understood the durability, directional control, and speed advantages the 13-mm Axe ridged diamond element brings.

The PowerDrive Orbit G2 RSS has proven DLS capabilities to drill the curve and lateral with improved abrasion resistance while maintaining borehole quality. The system includes a comprehensive six-axis continuous hold-inclination and azimuth measurement to enable precise well positioning. This feature, along with self-steering, autonomous capabilities, provides a smoother trajectory with minimized tortuosity and improved real-time decision making.

Another component recommended for the BHA was the xBolt G2 accelerated drilling service. Its mud-pulse MWD capability accomplished with a high data rate and performs more granular real-time and recorded data.

Finally, the BHA was monitored and controlled using Performance Live digitally connected service. Centralizing the directional drilling operation and using dedicated personnel solely focused on the analytical tasks of the operation without the distraction of manual tasks enables enhanced collaboration and better decision making in real time.

Graph of days below rotary table and footage drilled in the 6.75-in production section of four wells
KJ Energy and Schlumberger’s collaborative approach to drilling accelerated time to TD to only 10.6 days, more than 28% faster than the average of the three previous wells.

Reduce trips and maintain consistent on-bottom performance

The pairing of the PowerDrive Orbit G2 RSS and AxeBlade bit enabled KJ Energy to reduce the number of trips and maintained consistent on-bottom performance. The first pad production sections were drilled on average in 14.8 days. The well production section was drilled to TD in 10.6 days, more than 28% faster. Intense support by and communication with the operator made this possible using Performance Live service to address some unforeseen challenges.

Drilling the first pad resulted in multiple trips caused by excessive wear. To prevent this moving forward, the drilling team applied a high-velocity oxygen fuel thermal coating on the flow restrictor of the PoweDrive Orbit G2 RSS. This mitigated wear issues even after successfully drilling the well for more than 100 h of run time. It was also determined that pumping at a significantly lower pump rate would minimize component washout while maintaining tool performance, durability, and functionality. Reducing pump flow rate, however, generated additional needs.

Schlumberger and the drilling team modeled the hydraulics of both the RSS and bit to determine the optimal combination delivering performance at a lower pump rate. This also led to a unique pressure drop vs. DLS model built for the curve section to identify the optimal force on the formation needed to get the target build rate at the reduced pump rate. Further, the lower pump rate meant developing a new strategy to minimize the number of downlinks.

“The collaboration was outstanding, and the performance is continually improving. This is the fastest curve. Very interested in looking at the data and the changes (as we prepare) for our next iteration. It will only get better, and I am confident we will handily exceed (past performance) on our next run.”

Jon Grottis
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, KJ Energy LLC

United States, North America, Onshore
The number of trips was reduced while maintaining consistent on-bottom performance. The first pad production sections were drilled on average in 14.8 days with one well drilled to TD in 10.6 days, more than 28% faster.