Leveraging automated benchmarking for well and pad optimization

By Amit Mehta, Moblize on 6/14/2016

With time and money savings a key objective in upstream oil and gas, a Houston-based company utilized leading edge thinking and funding by Chevron Technology Ventures to make data analytics a breakthrough tool for drilling engineers and operational efficiencies.

The platform is a Web-accessible ”single source of truth” ProACT software available to engineers on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. One of its key features is the capability for engineers to complete the entire unconventional well performance and construction planning process at any location (field or office) within a day, as compared with a more standard time of weeks.

Case Study:  Independent in the Bakken

One of the primary ways for operators to achieve operational efficiencies is through understanding time spent in tripping and casing phases of drilling operations. Typically when an engineer wants casing run data on a group of recent wells, in twelve or twenty-four hour blocks he or she will receive a high-level picture of what occurred (a macro-level trend), from tools like WellView or custom end-of-well reports to apply learnings on the next well. However, this information is not highly accurate because it is either manually entered or provided by the drilling contractor themselves. The macro-level view and potential inaccuracies in the data left many unanswered questions when attempting to make quick, effective and actionable decisions. Extended and delayed decision loops and after-action analyses result in inefficiencies and can cost operators thousands of dollars.

Recently in the Bakken formation of Montana and North Dakota, an oil and gas independent utilized this platform to capture significant efficiencies during tripping and casing rig activities on a daily basis. In contrast to traditional methods, the engineers and rig crews were able to quickly compare the active well and best historical wells’ tripping and casing run statistics on-the-fly, using whatever device they had available. Since the platform computes all tripping and casing run statistics automatically, using machine learning and advanced analytics, they eliminated their dependency on manually recorded data and waiting for end-of-well reports. The analyses, presented at micro-levels, such as BHA handling time, circulation while tripping in or out, running casing, rotation while tripping in and out, for example, allowed engineers and rig crews to detect, measure, analyze and improve operations by dynamically adjusting procedures and applying learnings on the next shift, opposed to the next well.

Specifically, the engineers were using ProACT’s KPI Dashboard, an innovative tool to compare real-time KPIs across rigs, wells, BHAs or any user-generated scenarios combining any of the previous. They were able to quickly select the active and recent historic wells, as well as build scenarios around the different crews working during those wells to compare KPIs. Analyses of trip in rates, trip out rates, casing run rates, hours spent tripping and running casing, BHA handling time and clean-up/circulation-on-bottom time were generated in a matter of minutes, allowing rapid comparisons and instantaneous decision making. Findings were discussed between the engineers and field personnel, who were able to view the same analyses on their computer or mobile device, to quickly review the fact-based findings and implement new best practices to capture additional value. The flexibility and ease-of-use allowed for extremely productive conversations between the engineers and field personnel, eliminating many of the challenges often associated with transferring office-level analysis into operations.

This daily continuous improvement resulted in the team realizing over $25,000 in operational savings on their most recent well by recognizing inefficiencies and addressing them instantaneously. According to one of the independent’s drilling engineer working in the Bakken, “This micro-level view of all tripping and casing operations was virtually non-existent prior to using this platform.”

Pad-Level Optimization

Seeing the benefits of instantly analyzing micro KPIs, or key performance indicators between wells, resulted in engineers extending the platform to apply the same concept on higher level analyses. Engineers are now using tools within the software to quickly and easily group their wells by pad and analyze micro KPIs on a macro scale. With ease, they are able to compare tripping rates, hours spent tripping, BHA handling times, casing run rates and much more between multiple pads.

That simplifies the end-of-pad review process by allowing a dynamic investigation rather than requiring an engineer to spend excessive time gathering data and preparing presentations from error-prone, manual entry data sources and complicated spreadsheets, which has been shown to save up to two days of engineering time per month. Engineers have jumped on the opportunity to eliminate time spent preparing presentations and tedious spreadsheets, and have redirected that effort into exploring data to find additional efficiencies to expose.

Using this functionality to save two days of engineering time, identifying and remediating inefficiencies effortlessly resulted in a $28,000 total savings on a single well. The all-in-one platform offers increasingly vital collaboration opportunities. The rig crew can log in on their mobile devices anywhere/anytime, and all participants, field or office, can look at the same anomalies together. This has led to real-time collaboration, fact-based analysis and identification of actionable steps to fix problems through micro-level analysis, which can be applied to the operations immediately.

By extending the workflow to pad-level optimization, a $28,000 per well savings was realized which, at six wells in the pad, adds up to $168,000 in savings on a single pad. By capturing these “bits and pieces” throughout the year, a company’s total savings can easily reach into the millions. 

Already field-proven on more than 7,000 wells throughout the U.S., this software platform is the drilling engineer’s best friend. Not only does it virtually remove the possibility of human error in downhole engineering calculations, the software’s anytime/anywhere capability allows split-second decisions which were previously impossible. It has popularized a new truism in the oilfield: “When it’s time to derive real, actionable insights from data, this software is today’s value-add for your drilling operations.”

Amit Mehta is CEO of Houston-based Moblize, funded in part by Chevron Technology Ventures.

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