Engineering Opportunities and Challenges in Drilling
- Riley Goldsmith (Goldsmith Engineering Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1985
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,141 - 1,148
- 1985. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 349 since 2007
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Distinguished Author Series articles are general, descriptiverepresentations that summarize the state of the art in an area of technology bydescribing recent developments for readers who are not specialists in thetopics discussed. Written by individuals recognized as experts in the area,these articles provide key references to more definitive work and presentspecific details only to illustrate the technology. Purpose: to informthe general readership of recent advances in various areas of petroleumengineering.
This article discusses the role of engineers in drilling. Specific tasks andresponsibilities are discussed to show the opportunities and challenges thatare developing with the changes in drilling engineering technology.
The application of engineering technology can greatly reduce drilling costs.We seldom drill as efficiently as we know how; we usually don't even comeclose. A wealth of technology has been developed to cut drilling costs, butthis technology has not yet been integrated into normal field operations. Thereare numerous incentives not to increase drilling efficiency. It requires harderwork for everyone-roughneck, engineer, geologist, manager, and all othermembers of the drilling team. The drilling industry is faced with the challengeof applying modern technology in everyday rig operations. This challenge isgreatest with the many turnkey drilling contractors and smaller operatingcompanies that do most of today's drilling with only limited access toengineering assistance. A thorough understanding of the capabilities andlimitations of drilling engineering is mandatory for field application oftechnology. The drilling business is much more than just drilling engineering.It must effectively blend the application of money, manpower, and materials ina successful combination using many specialists. Drilling engineers could notfunction without the bankers, accountants, salesmen, lawyers, landmen,geologists, geophysicists, truck drivers, mail clerks, and the many others whomake up the drilling team. An effective operation requires everyone tounderstand and appreciate overall company objectives. Drilling engineers at alllevels are responsible for recommending, specifying, and approving expendituresof large sums of money. They often work as drilling foremen or toolpushers,where they are responsible for operations that involve several dozen personnel.It's pretty easy for an engineer to allow his self-importance pretty easy foran engineer to allow his self-importance to be inflated by ego-boostingsubordinates and salesmen. To keep the proper perspective, he must understandthat drilling is only a part of the total exploration and production effort.production effort. A drilling rig is essentially a factory. The product ishole. It must be a high-quality hole to permit geological evaluation andeconomical production when hydrocarbons are found. The engineer's job is toproduce this quality hole economically and safely. produce this quality holeeconomically and safely. Drilling engineers become involved after many othershave completed their work. Leases have been acquired; geophysicists,geologists, and other exploration specialists have selected rig sites; financespecialists have acquired the drilling funds, and legal, tax, insurance, andaccounting specialists have formulated contracts and set up the procedures andcontrols for paying for the drilling services. Drilling engineers are thencalled upon to prepare a well plan.
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