Archive for Publications

The Metrics and Value of Real Time Data: Mitigating Hazards

| June 2, 2015
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by D.M. Pritchard, Successful Energy Practices Intl; P. York, Weatherford; J. Roye, Digital Oilfield Abstract: Historically, the drilling industry has utilized real time data (RTD) for improving drilling efficiencies, documenting occurred events, and reactive decision-making. RTD should promote situational awareness with respect to wellbore instability and hazards. Drilling trends identifiable in RTD change over time […]

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Real-time data offers critical tool to redefine well control, safety

| December 11, 2012
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By David Pritchard, Successful Energy Practices; Jesse Roye, Digital Oilfield Solutions; Lillian M. Espinoza-Gala, consultant Abstract: The industry has historically viewed real-time data (RTD) as it relates to drilling optimization. Recent catastrophic events have proven that loss of containment and process safety require a different approach for the use of RTD. The industry has a […]

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Trends in Monitoring: How to Use Real-Time Data Effectively

| January 20, 2012

by: David Pritchard, Successful Energy Practices International, Jesse Roye, Digital Oilfield Solutions and J.C. Cunha, Ecopetrol America Abstract: Real-time data is not about well control, it is about well control avoidance. Recent catastrophic blowouts have underscored the value of real-time data and, more importantly, they have also underscored the value of having the right kind of […]

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Final Report on the Investigation of the Macondo Well Blowout

| March 16, 2011

by: Deepwater Horizon Study Group, David M. Pritchard Abstract: The Deepwater Horizon Study Group (DHSG) was formed by members of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management (CCRM) in May 2010 in response to the blowout of the Macondo well on April 20, 2010. A fundamental premise in the DHSG work is: we look back to […]

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The New Domain in Deepwater Drilling: Applied Engineering and Organizational Impacts on Uncertainties and Risk

| February 1, 2011

Many of the causal factors that led to the Macondo blowout may never be resolved. Thus, it is why it is even more incumbent on the industry to recognize where serious risks exist in complex well development and to design wells which deal with the uncertainties of the safe drilling margin to address these risks. The discussions herein indicate that in some categories of complex wells, wellbore stability events are as high as 10 % of the total deepwater well time and well control incidents over four times those of “normal” wells. . This indicates that serious risk mitigation is a significant issue in drilling complex wells. As a consequence, the industry needs to better assess risks and monitor well operations. It is imperative that the industry adopt standards which ensure process safety around design and execution to ensure safe and reliable deepwater operations.

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Drilling hazard management: Excellent performance begins with planning – Part 1 of 3:

| August 3, 2010

A drilling hazard is defined as any event off the critical path of drilling operations. Drilling hazard manage- ment focuses on wellbore stability and consequential hazards such as stuck pipe, fluids loss and equivalent circulat- ing density (ECD) management. These events lead to non-productive drilling time in the least case, or catastrophic wellbore failure and loss of well control in the worst cases. Drilling hazard man- agement requires understanding the un- certainty of the drilling margin: i.e., the safe applied ECD between the in situ pore pressure and/or stress equivalence and the fracture gradient as a result of the overburden.

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Drilling hazard management: The value of risk assessment – Part 2 of 3

| August 2, 2010

Attaining success with drilling hazard management (DHM) depends on recognition of the project’s risks. If executed effectively, the process yields a comprehensive awareness that provides a foundation not only to mitigate risk but also to optimize operations. Risk assessment can be conducted for any operation. This article presents a flexible, iterative process that allows evaluation of planned mitigations that may create further risks. The implementation of this process can be used to critically

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Drilling hazard management: Integrating mitigation methods – Part 3 of 3:

| August 1, 2010

Managing drilling hazards requires understanding how practices and technologies can improve the risk profile and add value. This requires understanding how the risk assessment process can be applied to both practices as well as technologies. From a DHM perspective, added value also means improving the risk profile as well as understanding that any new or added mitigant must show positive cost and benefits from a risk adjusted perspective.

Any new mitigant must first decrease the likelihood of the risk event occurring and the risk adjusted cost should be financially beneficial to the overall operation. It is therefore important to understand how technologies can improve the ability to mitigate and manage risk and improve the ultimate value of the well.

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Deepwater Horizon Study Group – White Paper

| July 30, 2010

The Macondo blowout highlights the need for well designs capable of consistently obtaining commercial and technical well objectives while improving safety for personnel and the environment. But in order to identify a problem, it must be recognized that there is a problem.
This paper discusses key issues concerning setting and aligning safety objectives to achieve an acceptable balance among a plethora of risks and maintaining a healthy deep-water drilling industry. In particular we focus on how this impacts performance and, more importantly, safe well designs.
It is important to fully realize how well-drilling objectives and their associated uncertainties are linked to the safe drilling margin. At first blush, this issue may be viewed as a purely technical matter but it is primarily a human one, grounded in the forces that inspire to create false choices in risk and reward.
This paper illustrates how just one key uncertainty can lead to an unsafe well design, e.g., how the Rig Schedule plays into routinely ignoring warning signs and how risk-taking behavior can insidiously infect a risk-adverse goal. The symptoms of this infection of an otherwise healthy safety management system can lead to operator manipulation of both company design practices and also regulatory requirements under the assumption that any increase in risk or error in judgment is manageable by ‘last resort’ safety systems. Inevitably, in this environment, ‘black swan’ disasters will eventually occur.

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Progress Report 2 – Deepwater Horizon Study Group

| July 15, 2010

President Obama tasked the Graham-Reilly Commission with providing recommendations on how to prevent future spills and mitigate their impacts. The University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Deepwater Horizon Study Group (DHSG, http://ccrm.berkeley.edu/deepwaterstudygroup.html) has been asked to submit monthly reports of its findings to the Commission and to the public. This second progress report is a sequel to the May 24, 2010 report from UCB’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management (CCRM, http://ccrm.berkeley.edu/), Failures of the Deepwater Horizon Semi-Submersible Drilling Unit, and addresses both “looking back” and “looking forward” issues and recommendations to avoid future spills from deepwater offshore operations.

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Riserless Drilling with Casing

| July 1, 2009

As deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) drilling operations move into deeper water and well depths, there has been a lack of consistent and sustained performance improvement in explora- tion and appraisal drilling. The following metrics illustrate the facts: There has been arguably poor to no learning, espe- cially as the wells become more complex, with most of the wells to be drilled being of a complexity of mechanical risk index (MRI) of 10,000 or greater. Furthermore, these metrics do not indicate the well failures of not attaining well objectives.

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Riserless Drilling with Casing: A New Paradigm for Deepwater Well Design

| May 4, 2009

As the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) drilling operations move into deeper water and well depths there has been a lack of consistent and sustained drilling performance improvement. This is an evaluation of the GOM deepwater wells in an attempt to understand the reason for this poor drilling performance and propose a solution to adapt the well designs for the specific challenges of deepwater drilling. Execution of these very expensive wells, which often fail to achieve objectives or worse, are lost, requires a step change in drilling performance. Riserless Drilling with Casing: A New Paradigm for Deepwater Well Design

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Eliminating Non-Productive Time Associated with Drilling Trouble Zones

| May 4, 2009

Cost overruns can easily manifest during well construction due to unexpected issues including lost returns, differential sticking, and narrow pore pressure/fracture gradients. To better plan for potential overruns, operators sometimes earmark 10 to 25% of the Authorization for Expenditures (AFE) to cover the unexpected, which can significantly impact drilling budgets. Technical and operational risks versus the potential return on investment (ROI) are critical factors in determining whether a project proceeds.

Too often the best drilling practices used to address trouble zones are limited to a few conventional methods with a narrow range of effectiveness. Also, a lack of rock mechanics knowledge can prevent the most efficient solution being applied.

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MPD – Uniquely Applicable to Methane Hydrate Drilling

| October 10, 2004

The presence of hydrates has primarily been a nuisance or a well control issue when drilling for conventional oil and gas offshore and in onshore permafrost regions. However, methane hydrates could very well become the new source of clean and affordable gas supplies in the United States by 2030. For example, if several large “sweet spots” of hydrates could be defined and developed in U.S. waters, the ultimate recoverable hydrate resource could range from 1,500 to 2,000 Tcf of gas. This is close to the current U.S. domestic natural gas recoverable resource, yet it may be less than 1% of the total in-place methane hydrate resources of the U.S.

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Seven Drilling Myths – Managing Successful Drilling Operations

| September 1, 2003

By Dutch Holland, David M. Pritchard, and Pradeep Anand

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Achieving the Technical Limit: An Engineering Targeted Approach

| April 1, 2003

This paper describes an iterative approach to achieve the drilling technical limit, or optimum performance by reviewing and applying sound engineering practices to operations. The goal of the technical limit is to eliminate removable lost time by employing engineering principles and optimum horsepower in all events to determine what is possible. Time determinations are relegated to an objective-forward technical approach. The objective statement of “what should be possible” replaces the subjective question of “what is possible”.

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Methane Hydrate as a Future Energy Source: Framing the Debate

| April 1, 2003

The purpose of this paper is to challenge the industry to think about Methane Hydrate as a future energy resource, examine some of the operational problems, and postulate possible solutions for Methane Hydrate development.

The commercialization of Methane Hydrate as an energy source is an ongoing global research effort conducted by governmental agencies, scientists, academians and private companies. Extensive coring and research already has taken place and will continue worldwide, along with some limited testing below “permafrost” in Canada1. Methane Hydrate could be an exceptionally clean, ubiquitous fuel for future generations. The estimated reserves of Methane Hydrate in the Gulf of Mexico are substantial (Figure No. 1).

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Managing Successful Drilling Operations – The Triangle of Success

| January 14, 2002

At the very time when the energy industry could use a big improvement in drilling success, some would say that drilling effectiveness has gone flat … or even declined over the last few years. As energy companies compete for limited capital with every other industry in the global village, ways to improve capital effectiveness (and therefore ROI) are desperately needed.

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