Is the perceived risk of constructing a multilateral well justified and if so what needs to be done to alleviate this?
Hi there Guido.
I would fully agree with your comments about candidate selection. I typically sit down with clients and fill in a detailed shopping list of wants and needs for the application in mind. I also review starting with L-1 junctions and figure out what we can have both as a junction and a completions interface.
L6 junctions are pretty much off the radar nowadays. I have been asking the vendors if they still exist in their portfolio on another forum but still awaiting a conclusive response.
The best places to get information on ML junctions is on the vendor´s web page. TAML as an organisation exists only in name.
The main thing for anyone considering constructing a multilateral well is to realise that they will have to compromise somewhere in the construction. This may be hole size, liner weights or completion sizes as you mentioned.
Two of the main things to take into consideration today are the second life cycle of the well and how to abandon it in the future.
Thank you all for taking the time to pass on your thoughts and feedback.
It seems to me that the recurring theme is proper planning, the right people, taking time to educate and team communication. Does this sound familiar Dave Taylor?
Iain, it is clear to me that planning an ERD or HPHT well has the same challenges as a multilateral project yet it appears to me that these technologies are more readily accepted by the industry certainly in the UK sector.
Peter, I remember the WOS well you mention. You are also correct that many multilaterals have been constructed in the past 20 years, again just not in the UK sector.
Sarah, you highlight some great statistics and make the point again about the interdisciplinary approach. An ML well demands a team approach, exceptional team communication and extreme focus on the details.
Education will for sure help a great deal and I for one have been offering lunch and learns and workshops for this very reason. However sometimes the audience are there more for the sandwiches and to get a copy of the slides than to participate and engage.
Howard, you are of course correct about MOG. They have constructed some exceptional wells and are for sure open to technology uptake.
So what I´m reading especially from Sarah and Howard's comments and from my own experience is that there is a much higher uptake of ML technology anywhere other than in the UK sector.
So why is this? Geology, Tax incentives, Demographics, Culture, Cost, Geography?
I'm not sure that the perceived risk surrounding multilaterals is necessarily justified.
Multilateral wells, in my opinion require an interdisciplinary approach. I think that the disciplines of drilling, completions, reservoir and subsurface, must have open communications and understand the overall context. Developing a strategy early in the planning process is key; taking into account the well design from the bottom up, identification of key personnel and the strategy of how to engage and retain them.
I think that what is required is a thorough understanding of the application - i.e. the potential challenges that can be faced from a particular well; hole stability problems, completion interface and tolerance, sand potential, pressure and temperature etc.
There are some very interesting presentations which can be obtained via the SPE website, following an SPE meeting in March focussing on multilateral technology implementation. In these documents, the standout points for me were as follows:
The perception of MLT to be risky is wrong
Less downtime on MLT operations than on standard drilling operations
Worst case experience: lost mainbore or lateral
Never happened with the 230 well experience base
The development of TAML5 junctions decreased junction construction times from 14.7 days to 3 days within a year´s period which is incredible.
What can we do to change perceptions? Well, education is the key thing here I guess. I think most of us are relatively cynical when it comes to new technology until we can see real benefits in terms of case histories and demonstrable cost savings alongside operators and service companies working together to demonstrate that the success stories are not just service sector spin.
With the Wood Review getting the government hot under the collar, operators will no longer be granted approvals to access the low hanging fruit. Boundaries will need to be pushed to achieve maximum economic recovery and I think multilateral developments will become a more regular feature of the UKCS sector.