My story begins
I vividly remember that first taxi ride through the canals of The Hague, cruising through the streets on a cold night of February, such a beautiful city. I was transferred to The Netherlands in my first assignment as a lead drilling engineer and I couldn’t believe I was going to live here. This change was a complete shock after several years of rotating and living on wellsite facilities on the north of Mexico, which was not a very glamorous lifestyle to say the least. I was looking forward to this new chapter in my career, where I was fully responsible for the drilling planning and operations for a major customer in this location.
After a couple of weeks in my new position; several introductory and handover sessions, I was invited to a kick-off meeting with the team to start planning an upcoming project. I was very nervous, sitting in a room with predominantly male colleagues with gray hair (or no hair); there were decades of drilling experience gathered in that room. The meeting started; the customer’s well engineer highlighted the complexity of the upcoming well including collision warnings, potential cavings, possible stuck pipe situations, shock and vibration concerns, worn downhole tools, extended reach well and the list kept growing. I rapidly started writing in my notebook as many details as possible. I had many questions and the repetitive answer got stuck in my head, “Don’t worry, there is more information on the well’s reports!”
The dreadful archives
The meeting ended a couple of hours later and I approached the well engineer to ask if I could get access to the well’s reports. He kindly directed me to a massive cabinet with layers of large binders and my eyes almost popped out of my head. Enthusiastically, he emphasized that they had a very good archiving system and all the information should be available there. I picked up a binder, and certainly all the well information was there; drilling program, daily drilling reports, service companies report’s, end of well reports, failure investigations, and more, hundreds of pages per each well.
A couple of weeks after, I finally finished going through the relevant binders, and wiping out that cabinet until it did not look that large any longer. I have finally gathered all the information and details needed to understand all the potential risks for the upcoming well. I started to write my own spreadsheet with details found on the reports, conversations with the well engineering team and experiences shared from field engineers. The spread sheet kept growing, from drilling risks to lessons learnt, advise on optimal bottom hole configuration, drilling parameters, downhole tool failure investigations and much more. I was extremely proud of my analysis and delivered my first drilling program, energized to exceed the customer’s expectations. This became my expectation when planning a well, so I was not surprised any longer by the number of binders included in these archives.
The weeks spent performing offset well analysis were daunting but necessary to achieve continuous improvement across the wells. However, I kept thinking, is there a more efficient way and accurate process available? Along the 14 years of my career with Schlumberger, I have had the opportunity to work as a drilling engineer for multiple operators, all these customers varied from small to large companies with different processes, standards and software. Most of these companies had in common the same challenge, the centralization and digitalization of all the well construction knowledge and offset data for drilled wells.
A new chapter
Four years ago, I started a new position within the software business line of Schlumberger, after a decade working on drilling operations this came as a big step change in my career. Within the first few days, I was introduced to the portfolio of drilling solutions currently available, and to the solutions that would be available in the coming years. I arrived in this position at a very exciting time, where our new digital drilling solutions were still a vision, a rough idea with big admissions, “DrillPlan” was the first step towards that vision. The promise was a well construction planning solution that would transform the way we currently plan our wells. Being honest, at the beginning I was a little uncertain on how the solution was going to evolve to achieve that promise, and if I was going to be able to be a true advocate of it.
Fast forward to today
The DrillPlan coherent well construction solution has been commercial for over two years, and along those years I have witnessed its evolution firsthand. At the beginning, the roadmap for some of the fundamental engineering workflows seemed distant. I would often put on my drilling engineer hat and think, this may not be at the stage where I would be comfortable using it as my main day to day tool.
A few years have gone by, and in this digital world it feels like they have passed by at the speed of light. The DrillPlan solution is now available as a complete solution, it’s entirely different from any other well construction tools—on a completely different level for cloud solutions. There are many key differentiators that I could highlight about the DrillPlan solution, but the one that speaks to me the most, is the one that would have spare me from those dreadful archives full of binders. The DrillPlan solution encompasses all the required well engineering workflows and enables the digitalization of all the offset well knowledge in one single solution. This absolutely facilitates the completion of an efficient offset well analysis, where the risks and lessons learned can easily be transferred to the new well. In addition, one of the most recent DrillPlan solution workflows simplifies the identification of the best performing drilling assembly and operational parameters on the offset wells. This means; no more going through hundred page reports, no more daunting weeks of offset well analysis, no more extensive spreadsheets!
Now, when I put on my drilling engineer hat again, I feel excited to be part of this journey with our digital drilling solutions. If I were to be a drilling engineer again, the DrillPlan solution is the one I would want to use. The DrillPlan solution of today delivers on that promise of transforming the way we plan wells; for the DrillPlan solution of today I am a true and honest advocate.
Author information: Berenice Aldaz is an industrial engineer, who from a random act of destiny ended up working in the oil and gas industry and has enjoyed it for the last 14 years. She grew up in Chihuahua (yes, like the dog), a city in the north of Mexico, curios fact: the last well drilled in Chihuahua was in the 1940s. She spent the first three years of her career in Schlumberger as a field engineer, based on land wells at the north of Mexico. She worked as a drilling engineer for multiple customers mainly with operations at continental Europe and the North Sea. She is now part of the technical marketing team for the digital drilling solutions.
She has had the fortune of living in six different countries and traveling around the world, but always enjoys going back to the beautiful Mexico. Berenice shares her home office with her beautiful family; an always on the phone and very supportive husband, a kindergarten virtual student older son, and a noisy (but super cute) toddler.