The impact of orphan wells, both on the environment and on tightening budgets, is a growing concern in the industry. Boom times result in a vast uptick in wells drilled. In bust times, when companies disappear, the liability outlook for these probes gets murky and federal and state governments start looking for answers.
Extended-reach drilling is becoming more of a mainstream technology as the industry seeks to squeeze difficult reserves and reduce the footprint of projects in fragile environments.
Cube drilling was an exciting idea several years ago. Since then, the luster seems to have faded. Now, production software company Novi Labs says machine learning may bring life back to the concept.

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