The recent, sustained depression in global oil prices has driven a significant reduction in upstream Exploration and Production (EandP) expenditure, particularly in the capital-intensive offshore environment. The high costs traditionally associated with EandP development projects, specifically in subsea developments, have driven a requirement for the adoption of technologies that not only increase the efficiency of the well construction process, but also reduce the total number of wells required, whilst increasing production rates and recoverable reserves.
Building on recent industry experiences with the varying multilateral systems available, Woodside implemented the use of an alternative innovative multi-lateral system, which has gone through multiple evolutions and marked improvements in system reliability and installation efficiency compared to Woodside's previous multilateral experience. The latest evolution of this system has been implemented during the construction of multi-lateral wells for the Greater Enfield Project (GEP). Within GEP, the Norton over Laverda (NoL) field development comprises three tri-lateral production wells (namely NoL01, NoL02 and NoL03). Norton field is an offset to the Vincent field, which employed an alternative multi-lateral completion design. On average, the Norton multi-lateral well operations were executed 15-30% faster than previous comparable Woodside installations. This has been attributed to the application of operational learnings from the previous Vincent multi-lateral development and the implementation of the new system. These wells were constructed in water depths of > 800 m, the deepest for such a system globally. Of the three wells, NoL01 and NoL02 were constructed well under budget, and ahead of schedule. NoL02 was constructed in a time that benchmarked as the fastest well per 1,000 m versus basin offsets. NoL03 was completed within budget, whilst having faced two major NPT (Non-Productive Time) events (ultimately resolved using world first solutions for the given system). This paper will discuss the successes, challenges experienced, and lessons learned during the installation of the three Norton tri-laterals. This field is a prime example of how new technology and the installation practices for multilateral systems within the operator's assets of the North-West margin of Australia have improved over time.