Schlumberger VP on factory drilling and the need for integration

Patrick Schorn advocates more oilfield integration needed to combat 'uneconomic’ Eagle Ford wells. Another obstacle is the ’silo’ mentality and narrow, domain-focused workflows.

In his keynote address to the Simmons & Co. European energy conference in Gleneagles, Scotland earlier this year, Schlumberger president of operations and integration Patrick Schorn advocated an integrated approach to field development embracing reservoir characterization, drilling and production. Schlumberger has been involved in ‘integration type’ projects for many years, but is now taking integration to the next level thanks to the key differentiators of technology integration, a matrix organization, integrated services and access to drilling rigs, a long time Schlumberger strength.

Schlumberger’s integrated project management (IPM) business started some 19 years ago and now represents a portfolio of multi-year, multi-rig contracts, some involving challenging work in deeper and tougher wells.

Integrated drilling services has been bolstered with the acquisition of Saxon drilling in March of this year. Saxon’s land drilling rigs make for an ‘excellent integration platform,’ that is allowing Schlumberger to evolve the drilling engineering practice from a simple combination of discrete services to optimal systems, customized through extensive design and modeling capabilities.
A good example of this is the factory drilling paradigm of unconventional development such as Texas’ Eagle Ford shale where average production has plateaued, despite increased drilling intensity, longer laterals and more frac stages. A recent PFC study found that overall, 40% of all Eagle Ford wells are uneconomical (and that was with 2013 oil prices!). Schorn also observed that, ‘With less than 10% of today’s unconventional laterals logged, it is hard to optimize completions.’

Schorn also took a tilt at another obstacle to optimizing the completion, the ‘silo approach’ adopted by many customers and the narrow workflows used by domain experts. In most cases, the characterization, drilling and completion data and workflows are too independent of each other, making information sharing hard. Enter Schlumberger’s Petrel-enabled workflow that combines different petrotechnical disciplines into ‘one seamless workflow.’ Other key enablers cited by Scorn included LeanStim for efficient frac operations and factory drilling, now available from nine rigs.

Schorn concluded that the industry needs to work differently in the current ‘range-bound*’ price environment. A step change is needed in performance, with integration as a key enabler. ‘This will require a serious redesign of our current workflows and processes.’

Comment—IPM started 19 years ago, matrix organization began in 1998, drilling a ‘long time strength’ so... what took ’em so long?

* Well it was range-bound in August!

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