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Actenum scheduling software adds $510k to operator earnings

Recently, it became clear to a US operator in the Permian basin that as they had grown by acquiring acreage, they had also outgrown their existing spreadsheet-based scheduling tool. Besides being cumbersome and unreliable, it didn’t provide any easy way to evaluate schedule scenarios to determine the impact on capital and production of adding or redeploying rigs. Schedulers had to perform multiple iterations of painstaking manual manipulation to analyze outcomes.

Actenum’s DSO/Upstream scheduling software
Actenum’s DSO/Upstream scheduling software

Using Actenum’s DSO/Upstream scheduling software to improve drilling program efficiency, the operator was able to add $510,000 to its annual earnings. Integrated well lifecycle scheduling, incorporates all activities and milestones from permitting to putting new wells online. Most of the financial benefit results from automatic optimization and scenario evaluation capabilities. The software rapidly optimizes the entire drilling project activity sequence, according to objectives and constraints that the project team derives. Each separate optimization run is saved as a scenario and compared to other scenarios, enabling the team to select the best one at any point.

The challenges

To promote collaboration, master schedules were kept on a central MS-Sharepoint server. But downloading and opening the spreadsheet-based schedules was very slow, forcing some planners to rely on colleagues for updates, instead of simply reviewing the latest schedule version. Because the tools were spreadsheet-based, the schedulers could not rely on automatic quality control over regulatory stipulations or resource allocation. Frac and drilling schedules were separate from each other, and from construction schedules, so identifying all resource requirements and timing was difficult, leading to schedule conflicts, poor productivity, and overscheduled resources.

Long-term planning presented a significant challenge because considering all constraints, including permit times, material requirements, and facility construction durations, was simply too time-consuming. Comparing drilling schedule versions was difficult and laborious.

Rising costs due to inefficiencies

Scheduling shortcomings didn’t just lead to frustration. They were causing serious red ink in the financial department. Planners determined that when changes were required as a result of a schedule conflict, an average of two extra rig moves were needed, along with other equipment redeployment. At an approximate cost of $60,000 per move, and an average of four major conflicts each year, $480,000 in overruns were adding to expenses annually.

Not just physical resources, but human resources were also not optimally deployed. The team calculated that at least three people per week were wasting time because of poor scheduling, equating to over $30,000 in unnecessary costs annually.

The solution: Integrated scheduling software

To staunch financial bleeding and make planning and scheduling more reliable, the operator looked for an integrated scheduling solution that would provide scenario capabilities and enable easy collaboration, as well as predict capital and production impacts. After an extensive evaluation of potential solutions, the operator determined that Actenum’s predictive scheduling solution provided everything that they were looking for, in a feature-loaded, flexible software tool.

The tool incorporates permitting, approval, construction, facilities, drilling, fracking and production activity timing in one integrated schedule, while honoring resource availability and regulatory constraints. All while providing both optimization and scenario analysis to meet the operator’s goals to grow and maximize profitability.

The operator has improved planning by incorporating all relevant pre-drill events into the drilling scheduling process. Scenarios include what is feasible to accomplish over the full well life-cycle, not just drilling. The team is also able to estimate production forecasts accurately by including type well information.


Looking forward, the planning team in assessing future acquisitions and new business unit starts. Planners are now able to see in advance whether new business plans are executable and financially advantageous.

Besides the $510,000 earnings improvement, the operator has improved their well delivery scheduling process, and expects to see a reduction in time to first oil as they continue to drill as part of their growth strategy.

If you’d like to see how Actenum can help improve your bottom line, contact us at

Ready to see the software in action? Watch this brief demo video.

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