Technology Focus: Multilateral/Extended Reach (May 2012)
- Alvaro Felippe Negrao (Woodside Energy USA)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 112 - 112
- 2012. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Mitigating Risks in Development Projects
Our industry has been involved in incidents that demonstrated the need of a new approach for evaluating and mitigating the risks in well construction.
The “what’s worked well in the past” conservative approach is not possible anymore, in face of the damaged trust of the public about upstream activity. Though the criticism soars against exploration and production activities, the industry has allocated substantial investments in research for new technologies aimed to preclude risk events of recent years. New procedures and technologies, in addition to existing ones, will be deployed in the near future to eliminate blowouts or underground contamination from upstream operations.
The initial results can be seen in field operations such as the application of managed-pressure drilling (MPD) for offshore and onshore, the use of long horizontals or extended reach in the shale plays, and new fluids and techniques for fracture treatments that minimize the amount of water required in such operations.
The effects of drilling operations in the shale plays of the USA are clear, but recent research will result in a consistent reduction of environmental damage. Research is minimizing fluid losses into reservoirs and helping with mitigation of well-control situations when applying the MPD technique.
The use of nanotechnology will provide fluids that improve fracture treatments through the control of fluid losses, with a subsequent reduction in the amount of fresh water required. Today, an average fracture treatment in the Barnett shale requires 235,000 bbl of water. These treatments are essential to reduce the number of wells and to improve the performance of the fracture treatments for environmental-impact reduction.
The use of extended-reach drilling or long horizontal wells, combined with multilaterals, will reduce the number of wells without impairing expected production. This will mitigate the effect on aquifers or shallow formations with a reduction in surface infrastructure. Some of the papers featured or listed for reading show advances in the technology of extended-reach and multilateral wells that will help achieve such objectives.
Finally, the combined use of extended-reach and multilateral wells, nanotechnology fluids, and MPD will result in a more environmentally-friendly operation with a cost-effective development plan, which is essential for improving the industry’s image.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
SPE 145400 Achieving Brazilian Extended-Reach-Drilling Records on the Polvo Project With Ultrahigh-Torque Connection by Nathan Biddle, Devon Energy do Brasil, et al.
IPTC 14258 Burgan Multilateral Campaign: A Success Story in Development of a Complex Siliciclastic Reservoir in Kuwait by Javed Ahsan, Kuwait Oil Company, et al.
IPTC 14823 Review of Ultrashort-Radius Radial System by S.K. Putra, Pertamina Upstream Technology Centre, et al.
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