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J. Richard McGregor1, Bill Von Eberstein1, Jack Filbrandt1, Walt MacKinlay2
(1) Shell Offshore Inc, New Orleans, LA
(2) Shell Offshore Inc

Abstract: Technical Limit Drilling - "Half Cost Wells"

Shell implemented an ambitious drilling and completion cost reduction program in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) in early 1999. The aim of the Technical Limit Process was to achieve these objectives without compromising either safety or the quality of the wells drilled. Step change time reductions in excess of 50% of conventional drilling and completion times are possible using this process. A semi-submersible rig was selected to pilot a program in the deepwater GOM. The first well was a subsalt test in 2,983 ft of water and drilled to a depth of 13,803 ft TVD. The well was drilled in 17 days, through 2,095 ft of salt. At the time, the well was the fastest deepwater wildcat well drilled in the GOM, averaging a ROP of 615 ft/day from spud to TD.

Subsequent deepwater wells drilled have also seen improvements in well delivery performance, illustrating the sustainability of the process. The key to the process is to understand the "Technical Limit" (in terms of time, cost, information, and/or production) with today's technology in all phases of well design and execution. The three main activities of the process are: 1) define the "Technical Limit" for the project, 2) perform disciplined project management during planning and execution, and 3) perform a detailed lookback to capture learnings. This must be done in an environment which provides ample, skilled resources to perform the work, and also creates a supporting, "no-blame" culture which promotes learning, sharing, and participation.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana