directional/extended-reach wells

Extended-Reach and Complex Wells

Whether considering the customization of drilling approaches in Middle Eastern carbonate reservoirs, implementing a collaborative work flow in tackling high-tortuosity wells offshore Western Australia, or researching the ability of a fibrous material to effect hole cleaning as opposed to polymeric sweeps, the authors of these papers understand that technical expertise may not be completely realized if it is not applied to problems in original ways.

Introduction to ERC Focus with pipes

In selecting papers for this feature, reviewer Stéphane Menand of Helmerich and Payne has identified a trio of papers that investigates new approaches toward familiar issues encountered when drilling complex well types. Whether considering the customization of drilling approaches in Middle Eastern carbonate reservoirs, implementing a collaborative work flow in tackling high-tortuosity wells offshore Western Australia, or researching the ability of a fibrous material to effect hole cleaning as opposed to polymeric sweeps, the authors of these papers understand that technical expertise may not be completely realized if it is not applied to problems in original ways.

In carbonate reservoirs, the goal of drilling extended-reach wells is set against the geological makeup of such formations, the complexity of which adds significant uncertainty to geosteering and well placement. The authors of paper SPE 203335 develop a work flow that makes possible the customization of drilling scenarios through an emphasis on mechanical specific energy, as well as the use of an optimized borehole-assembly design. The work flow helped deliver what the authors write is the longest well in the Middle East offshore Abu Dhabi.

In a similar vein, the authors of paper SPE 202251 describe a challenging scenario involving an ultraextended-reach well in a mature field offshore Western Australia. The project overcame shallow water depth and a high tortuosity requirement by implementing an integrated plan that used a reservoir-mapping-while-drilling service. The authors stress that this technology, coupled with active collaboration between specialists, town, and rig site, allowed the project to achieve the desired oil-column thickness with zero collision incidents.

Highly deviated wells often face problems resulting from ineffective hole cleaning. Paper SPE 203147 studies the properties of a fibrous material when compared with the hole-cleaning performance of common polymeric pills. The authors write that the fibrous material proved effective, in part because of a unique characteristic in which a spiderweb-like network of fibers is created that does not allow cuttings to settle easily in complex wells. In addition, the material is environmentally friendly.

All three papers approach well-established problems in the critical industry sector of extended-reach drilling with innovation and confidence. Enjoy the papers and be sure to search SPE’s OnePetro online library for more fresh approaches to the technical challenges posed by these well types.

This Month’s Technical Papers

Drilling Dynamics, Mechanical Specific Energy Data Help Drill Record Extended-Reach Well

Collaboration and Optimization Processes Contribute to Ultra-ERD Offshore Well Success

Hole-Cleaning Fibers Improve Cuttings-Carrying Capacity

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 196410 Analysis of Friction-Reduction System During Drilling Operation at a High-Inclination Well on Field X by Rizqiana Mudhoffar, Tanri Abeng University, et al.

SPE 197257 Successful Management of Collision Risk in an Extended-Reach Well by Manchukarn Naknaka, Mubadala Petroleum, et al.

SPE 202730 Challenges in Drilling and Completion of Extended-Reach-Drilling Wells With Landing Point Departure of More Than 10,000 ft in Light/Slim Casing Design by Nitheesh Kumar Unnikrishnan, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, et al.


Stéphane Menand, SPE, is a technical fellow at Helmerich and Payne (H&P), based in Houston. Previously, he held a research position at Mines ParisTech University. Menand has 24 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, first as a research and development project manager in drilling engineering; more specifically, in directional drilling, drillstring mechanics (torque, drag, and buckling), drilling dynamics, and drill-bit performance; and then as a general manager for the company DrillScan, recently acquired by H&P. He has authored more than 30 SPE and other technical papers and patents. Menand holds a PhD degree in drilling engineering from Mines ParisTech. He serves on the JPT Editorial Review Committee and as associate editor for SPE Drilling and Completions journal. Menand can be reached at stephane.menand@hpinc.com.