--> ABSTRACT: Horizontal drilling - a Global Perspective, by Philip H. Stark; #90906(2001)

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Philip H. Stark1

(1) IHS Energy Group, Englewood, CO, CO

ABSTRACT: Horizontal drilling - a Global Perspective

Horizontal Drilling - A Global Perspective

Horizontal drilling has become a key technology to reduce costs and enhance recoveries from producing reservoirs. Commercial databases contain records on 22,617 horizontal wells from 69 countries. Through June 2000, 9,834 horizontal wells were reported in the U.S. and 8,262 were reported in Canada. More than 3,500 horizontal wells were recorded outside of North America with Venezuela, Oman, U.A.E., Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia reporting the most wells. The concept of horizontal drilling emerged in the 1920s. Economic viability was not demonstrated, though, until the 1980s when pilot projects at Rospo Mare Field in Italy (1982), Prudhoe Bay Field (1984) and in the Austin Chalk of Texas (1985-1987) achieved 3 to 4-fold productivity increases with less than 2-fold cost increases. From a base of 51 wells in 1987, horizontal drilling increased rapidly, expanded to the world's active producing provinces and peaked with 4,036 wells during 1997.

The global geographic and geologic distribution of horizontal wells and horizontal drilling results in key reservoir types are characterized in this paper. Charts and maps illustrate global horizontal drilling by completion year, country, geologic age, reservoir type and operator. Results for fractured chalks, source rocks, thin beds, discontinuous sands, water floods and heavy oil deposits are presented. Horizontal drilling, which increases wellbore exposure to the reservoir, has delivered multiple benefits. Operators have used horizontal wells to revive economic production, to increase and speed recoveries, to reduce costs and to increase rate of return. These benefits are critical to operators who must compete in a period of increasing competition and volatile oil prices.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90906©2001 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado