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Coiled tubing drilling tops economic benefit

Aug 26, 2018
6 min read
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Toni Miszewski, managing director of AnTech speaks to Pipeline Magazine’s Nadia Saleem about the benefits of coiled tubing drilling when it comes to increased productivity, safety and environment

 

What’s your latest technology in drilling?

AnTech offers a directional drilling service using coiled tubing, coiled tubing drilling. Our service is based on the latest generation of bottom hole assemblies which have been designed to take advantage of the developments in experience and technique gained over recent years. We have developed a range of equipment that is easy to deploy, reliably survives the rigours of underbalanced drilling and is capable of working seamlessly with the coiled tubing unit and fluid flowback equipment to provide a fully integrated technical solution.

 

How does AnTech’s coiled tubing drilling bring production and cost efficiency?

The value proposition of coiled tubing drilling is very straight forward. A lot of wells have more to give in terms of production and by re-entering the wells and drilling horizontally and underbalanced it is possible to significantly increase that production.

Coiled Tubing Drilling provides a way to do it economically. Every well starts to decline shortly after it is put on production. Additionally, many older wells were drilled vertically with only the technology that was available at the time. Almost exclusively wells were drilled with a mud column providing an overbalanced pressure. There are two proven methods of increasing production from wells.

One is to drill horizontal wells to provide more reservoir contact and the other is to drill underbalanced so that the well is flowing at the same time as the well is being drilled. This prevents damage to the reservoir. Every field is different but a combination of these two techniques has provided increases in production in excess of 5 times and payback times that can be measured in weeks.

Where coiled tubing comes in to this is that it is a technique that is specifically designed for drilling this type of well. In fact, if you were starting to design a method of drilling from scratch, you would end up with a coiled tubing drilling system with a hybrid coiled tubing rig as the best way of meeting safety, environmental and productivity requirements.

 

How involved are you with the digitalisation transformation that the oil and gas industry is increasingly moving towards?

Coiled tubing drilling runs on an electric wireline inside the coiled tubing. This gives us the capability to transmit a lot of data to surface. When drilling, the system generates at least three orders of magnitude more data than conventional jointed pipe drilling.

This data contains a mass of information that has previously either been ignored or more likely, did not have enough detail to be able to make meaningful deductions. We process this information to provide more insight to the drilling process than was previously possible.

This year we have launched RockSense our at-bit geosteering service for coiled tubing drilling. Using proprietary algorithms and combining uphole and downhole data from sensors in our bottom hole assemblies, it gives us the capability to detect changes in porosity at the bit with up to a 6-inch resolution. This has tremendous value for the directional driller who is steering the tool and ultimately to the well owner because it can result in faster drilling operations and more accurately placed wellbores with more hole drilled in the target zone.

 

What’s your business outlook and targets for the near to medium term?

Last year was a particularly active year for coiled tubing drilling tenders around the world with, at one time, six separate tenders being active. Four of these were in the MENA region showing that operators in the region see the economic benefit of coiled tubing drilling. Over the past decade Aramco has shown how to successfully use coiled tubing drilling to increase production and other operators are keen to emulate this success. Interestingly, three of the six tenders were for offshore projects.

The two long term projects in Alaska and Saudi Arabia are both land projects.

Offshore projects are usually more of a logistical challenge than land projects due to the lifting and space constraints. At the same time, drilling work with coiled tubing can be much more cost effective than the alternative which would mean bringing in a jack-up rig.

We are seeing other offshore projects where operators are grappling with the problem of how to extend the life of expensive offshore installations whilst at the same time controlling costs to make sure that any interventions are economically viable.

With the increasing price of oil, we expect the interest in coiled tubing drilling to increase as operators look to take advantage of higher prices. In the last few years, operators were looking to coiled tubing drilling as a way to drill economically with oil prices as low as $40 per barrel.

Now, as the market picks up, there is a question of equipment availability. In some regions it is now difficult and expensive to mobilise jointed pipe rigs. That is where the mobility of coil tubing drilling has an advantage.

 

What are your main markets and how important is the Middle East region?

Coiled tubing drilling is applicable to any region where there are fields that are experiencing a production decline. As 80 per cent of the world’s production comes from declining fields that means that there is a worldwide opportunity for coiled tubing drilling. In a practical sense though, we have to focus on particular markets.

For us, that means the Middle East and the U.S. Aramco invested in AnTech to support the introduction of the latest technology into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are already set up to support work there in the near future. In the U.S., where recent focus has been on unconventional wells, with the increase in the oil price, we are expecting an increase in re-entry work for conventional oil and gas wells.

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