Digital Technology Optimizes Unconventional Well Planning by Integrating Cross-Domain Expertise

Published: 04/10/2019

Schlumberger Oilfield Services

Traditionally, petroleum exploration and development teams have utilized workflows and software which require single instance installation and cater to domain-specific needs. Design results from one domain would require incorporation into applications of other associated domains to deliver team-wide engineering. This is often time consuming, requiring multiple review meetings and extra administrative effort for the drilling engineer.

To add to the complexity, whenever iterations or sensitivity evaluations are needed across the entire plan, there is often no simple platform within which all the required processes can be managed, requiring engineering evaluations to be executed across multiple software. An example is hydraulics which is required for mud design, bottom hole assembly (BHA) and bit design, hole cleaning and borehole stability aspects of drilling. Although all these engineering considerations evaluate the same fluid properties, they typically sit on separate engines and are only integrated by criteria and thresholds in the final plan and not through concurrent engineering design.

This paper presents a new cloud deployed well construction planning solution, that aims to resolve these historical challenges by enabling multiple processes to be connected and executed from a common contextual dataset in a single system. For example, the hydraulics design is coherent across all design tasks which increases planning efficiency and plan quality. The entire solution also integrates across domains, from geology and geomechanics to drilling engineering and service company planning. This coupled with project orchestration, team collaboration and data management provide further productivity gains and cost savings for the entire team.

This paper summarizes the digital well construction planning solution and provides case study examples of how cross domain experts plan concurrently in a single common system. This approach allows a teamwide focus on planning better wells faster in a single engineering solution. Case studies show how the well planning team was able to improve cross-discipline collaboration between engineering and geoscience as well as interactions with service companies. Overall, the well planning time was reduced significantly, and the reliability of the well design was ensured through the engineering validation of each task. The integrated digital well planning solution proved to be a more cost-effective solution for well planning and ensured the high-quality delivery of drilling programs.

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