Technical Paper: Drilling Performance Improvements in Pinedale Antincline: A Case Study of the Applications of Rotary Steerable Systems

Society: AADE
Paper Number: 09-ntce-14-01
Presentation Date: 2009


In mid 2008, a major operator undertook a field trial of rotary steerable systems (RSS) for drilling optimization in the Pinedale Anticline. The results from the trial provided a reliable benchmark to assess the reliability of the technology, its cost effectiveness and contribution to improved penetration rates. The conclusion from the field trial is that RSS technology provides overall good value in the 6in section of Pinedale Anticline wells. RSS technology is currently the directional drilling technology of choice for the 6in production hole. RSS solves the vertical control challenge in the 6in section while delivering superior penetration rates that directly translates to reduction in drilling costs.

The main benefits realized from the use of RSS tools in Pinedale Anticline operations were;

  1. Higher penetration rates due to elimination of sliding.
  2. Optimized well design with precise placement of the production hole to maximize reservoir recovery.
  3. Improved wellbore quality due to reduction in tortuosity.
  4. Completion cost were reduced, drilling out the multiple frac plugs post stimulation on wells with tortuosity developed from bent motors controlled wellbore produced regular fishing jobs. With the introduction of RSS technology, those events were eliminated.
  5. Longer bit life due to reduction in shocks and vibration with the ability to finish wells with two to three bit runs and potential for one bit run as bit design improves.
  6. Reduction in total days, potential for sub 15 days wells.
  7. Accelerated production due to improvement in cycle times.

Introducing RSS tools to a Low-Cost High-Volume operation initially seemed like an expensive proposition. This was mitigated by using a performance pricing model and implementation of an operations management process to ensure just-in-time delivery of equipment. The directional drilling contractor managed its service cost by adopting a remote operations strategy. Collaboration between the operator and the directional drilling contractor made this step change in drilling technology a success and a model for future operations in the Rockies. This paper is a case study of the results from the RSS operations in 2008 through February 2009. It details the strategy and key performance indicators of the application of RSS tools in the Pinedale Anticline.