The Optimization of Slant-Well Drilling in the Lindbergh Field
- H.J. Vrielink (Dome Petroleum Ltd.) | A.M. Hippman (Dome Petroleum Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling Engineering
- Publication Date
- December 1989
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 307 - 314
- 1989. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.7 Pressure Management, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.6.1 Drilling Operation Management, 2 Well Completion, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 3 Production and Well Operations, 1.14.1 Casing Design, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.6.2 Technical Limit Drilling, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 1.5 Drill Bits, 1.12.1 Measurement While Drilling, 1.9.4 Survey Tools, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.2 Wellbore Design
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Since 1985, Dome Petroleum Ltd. has developed slant-well drilling in the Lindbergh heavy-oil field in east-central Alberta. The oil-bearing sands occur in the lower Mannville formations of the Cretaceous period. To date, four pads, each consisting of 15 or 16 wells, have been completed. The experience gained in completing these projects has allowed us to make optimum use of slant-well technology in multiwell pad applications.
The heavy-oil reservoirs in the Lindbergh field contain oil with a gravity of 0.98 g/cm [12.5 API]. The reservoir is at a vertical depth of 600 m [1,970 ft]. The wells are drilled on 4-ha [10-acre] spacing and placed on primary production for 2 years, after which steam stimulation is used for EOR. This primary production of cold oil has significant economic impact on the development of this field because capital recovery is achieved for drilling and completion before the massive investment into steam generation and distribution facilities. Maximizing this primary recovery requires that low-dogleg-severity (DLS), "straight" holes be drilled.
The Lindbergh area is characterized by high agricultural land use. With slant-well technology, the required spacing unit is achieved with minimum surface land usage, optimum hole quality, and minimum environmental impact. In this application, slant-well drilling provides an attractive alternative to conventional directional multiwell pad projects.
In the initial stages of slant-well development, drilling times of 5.5 days/well and costs of $315/m [$81 /ft] were experienced. Through an optimization process involving pad design, drilling equipment, casing design, bits and hydraulics, and directional/survey assemblies, significant savings in drilling tune and cost were realized. To date, 71 slant wells have been drilled. In the latest project, drilling time averaged approximately 2 days/well and costs were reduced to $177/m [$45/ft]. These savings were achieved with an improvement in directional control and overall hole quality. This paper describes the optimization process and the techniques used to realize these savings.
Slant-well drilling has been used in a diverse range of projects where any combination of design requirements demands specialized equipment and technology-e.g., shallow reservoirs with reduced interwell spacing, high facilities and tie-in cost per wellhead, high operating and maintenance cost per location, and requirement to drill deviated, straight holes to minimize tubular wear (compared with conventional directional wells). We used this technology to develop the heavy-oil reservoirs in the Lindbergh field. In this application, we considered all the previously mentioned design requirements. After we determined that slant-well technology would be the most effective means of tertiary development in this field, we began an optimization process whereby significant improvements in well quality and project costs were achieved.
Slant-well technology historically has been regarded as an expensive option for reservoir development because of high equipment cost, limited equipment availability, and increased time to perform the various rig operations. Through the optimization process, we, in conjunction with drilling and service contractors, developed slant-well operations to drill holes straighter than those that can be achieved by conventional directional technology at a cost similar to that of conventional vertically spudded directional projects.
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