Word to the Wise: How to use drilling data when you can’t drill

May 12, 2020

The combined challenges of social distancing and reduced demand for oil and gas have resulted in a drastic reduction in rig counts throughout the WCSB. As a drilling data provider, this leads us to the obvious question: what role does drilling data play when producers aren’t drilling?

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We’ve seen our clients continue to use drilling research in a variety of ways since our current crisis began. For some, it is drilling/completion engineers turning their focus to abandonment or workovers, where drilling records now serve from a whole different perspective. In other cases, companies are building drilling/cost assessments for potential property acquisition and leaning on offset data to scope out historical data.

Perhaps most exciting though, are those using the opportunity to explore new and better ways to drill. Companies that are using this unexpected downtime to find efficiencies in their drilling program so they can optimize their recovery.

In times of usual drilling activity, there’s limited time and resources to explore such options, even if the potential results can offer huge benefits. The research required to pursue these ideas is often a luxury most engineering teams can’t afford when the time demand for results is immediate. Who is willing to stick their neck out to propose a shift in well design when trying to get as many drills done as possible with fewer resources?

As with any proposal or business case, you need information to validate your theory, data and evidence to support it, and a detailed plan to execute. Drilling data is more accessible than ever, and forward-thinking companies are using this downturn as an opportunity to explore these new ideas. Armed with data they need, and the time required to explore it, it’s exciting to see drilling engineers look to improve their future processes with the data they get from XI Technologies.

One project we’re especially excited about is a client’s proposed change from a 3-string well design to the implementation of a monobore well design in the Montney. Considering a fundamental change of that magnitude takes either a steep (and expensive) learning curve through trial-and-error, or a successful execution through careful, detailed analysis and planning.

Monobore drilling in the Montney is not a new concept, and many operators have found successes in their transition from a 3-string design. As a result, there’s a substantial amount of data to support the research needed. Rather than have a team analyze work on this project, the client’s Drilling & Completions Field Development Specialist will take on the challenge himself: from drilling engineer to analyst to data scientist, he’ll be driving the research necessary to identify and mitigate risks involved in implementing this design and develop an execution plan, all of which will be built from the knowledge gained from other operators’ successes and failures in Montney monobore drilling. This innovative approach to comparative analysis quashes the idea that an IT/Analytics team and a slew of engineers would be necessary for the research and planning required. 

Using Power BI, he’ll be tapping into XI’s Drilling Database to scour the drilling records of over 5,000 wells drilled by over 60 different operators, examining all elements of drilling data: deviation and azimuth, mud types and weights, downhole tools used, casing designs and steel used, and many more. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be providing updates to his findings, using a real-world example to highlight what drilling departments are capable of during this downturn. Drilling data can still be of incredible value even if you’re not currently drilling and the companies that are best able to take advantage of this downtime will have a leg up once drilling starts back up.

To discover how XI can help you with drilling data collection and analysis, book a personalized demo of our OffsetAnalyst software or download a paper on how a client found success in their drill planning by using it.