Well Work Process Improvement
Improving Returns on Well Work Projects by Optimizing Scheduling and Leveraging Acquired Knowledge
Our client is a major, independent oil and gas production company with numerous assets spread across North and South America. One asset is a Texas natural gas field with a large base production and a significant drilling and completions program. As part of a larger project, our client asked us to help them improve the effectiveness of their Well Work Process (recompletions, workovers, facilities, and P&A). This would be a key component of the effort to increase the overall production from their base wells by 5 percent.
The asset is divided into three areas and produces from two different reservoirs (at different depths). While there are many similarities across the areas, there are also major differences in the characteristics of the wells and the approach to making effective interventions. Our assessment of the client’s Well Work Process focused on five specific aspects:
1. Project prioritization
2. Engineer’s time utilization
3. Metrics and reporting
4. Rig scheduling
5. Knowledge capture and application
What we found during the assessment were numerous opportunities to improve the process itself, to
enhance or create the tools that support the process, and to instill the behaviors that are necessary to
sustain and continually improve the process.
Specifically, we found that:
- There was no formal mechanism for evaluating and learning from the results of previous Well Work projects
- Knowledge was stored with people and was lost when those same people transferred to other assets
- There was no consistency in valuing projects across the three areas
- Virtually all projects had a “green light” to implementation since there was no real prioritization or hurdle criteria
- The client was adding rigs to execute more Well Work projects
- It was hard to tell if the client was adding rigs because they had more projects, or if they had more projects because they were adding rigs (“feeding the rig monster”)
- Engineers were very busy doing projects, but had very little time to really think about the Big Picture for the future and the optimal exploitation of the asset
- There was very little in the form of metrics for assessing the Well Work Process itself or for assessing the results and the value of the projects being executed
- Even though there was a significant amount of capital being spent, field management was uncertain of the quality of the return to the company
- The meetings that were held to “manage” the process were ineffective, and were considered time wasters by many of the participants
As a result of the assessment, MTG partnered with the client to develop a Well Work Process that made the most of the company’s capital investments by: 1) ensuring that the highest value projects were consistently being moved to the front of the rig schedule, 2) installing control points to filter the lower value projects so that informed decisions could be made about the risks associated with them, and 3) establishing regular learning and feedback opportunities to leverage knowledge gained in the past… thus supporting the targeted 5 percent improvement in base well production.
The first step in designing and implementing the new Well Work Process was to gain agreement from engineers and foremen on what an improved process should be able to accomplish for the asset. Once the purpose was agreed to, the specific process steps and sequence were mapped out. Roles and responsibilities were aligned on the new process, and then metrics were established for managing the process. Finally, an implementation plan, including some pilot activities, was developed to allow time for the engineers and foremen to practice the new process. This gave the engineers and foremen time to become comfortable with the new process, while also providing the opportunity to identify improvements to the process before going live.
As process consultants, we help you understand the process and how to improve it.
Our client applied the tools and systems developed, as well as the training and coaching delivered during the overall project to good effect. The decline rate for base production has been reduced because:
- Lease Operator’s have applied the skills learned in training to improve the performance of their wells
- Problem wells are identified and addressed more quickly using the newly installed management system and reporting tools, either by the field or by appropriate involvement from the engineers
- Experience gained from previous Well Work projects is applied to shorten the time frame and improve the quality of project development and execution
- Engineers have a consistent method for ensuring that they are working on the most valuable Well Work projects available at any given time
MTG’s consulting philosophy is to deliver not just results, but sustainable results. We sum this up in a simple equation:
Sustainability = Capability X Ownership
As the result of our joint efforts, our client has the capability to drive improvements in their base production through the:
- Consistent management controls that keep them focused on doing the most valuable projects at any given time
- Enhanced leveraging of their collective knowledge
- Improved utilization of their engineers’ time
- Improved utilization of their rigs (In this case, a rig was released due to better scheduling and prioritizing of the backlog.)
The project not only provided our client with the tools and procedures to achieve the targeted results, but also developed the behaviors and actions that are required to sustain those achieved results going forward. Our client has adopted the tools and taken ownership for their results, and they are a different, stronger, and much more effective operation than they were before the project.