Tullow Oil has been very successful exploring both onshore Kenya and Uganda and in deepwater Ghana, and as a result planning for major development projects got underway. In East Africa it is planned for hundreds of wells to be operated using artificial lift with waxy oil, deviated wells and sometimes quite shallow with reservoirs around 750 M. In Ghana well reliability is critical due to the prohibitive re-entry costs in the event of completion component failures operating in water depths up to 7,0 ft.
Therefore the need to benchmark well designs and component selection and plan the support mechanisms around realistic mean time to failure and other well operating risk factors is a crucial input process for the field development plans.
Today, the global well count is in the order of 2,000,000 wells and includes all well types from oil/gas producers, water/gas injectors to water disposal wells. Given the cost of drilling wells and the additional costs and risks involved in maintaining well stocks over the full well lifecycle, one would expect the oil and gas industry to think like other reliability focussed industries such as aircraft manufacturing / operating. Sharing data should be the norm especially as operators have a strong desire to maximise production by minimising the number of well interventions through the selection of the most suitable and reliable well equipment.
Logically when enquiring about equipment reliability, this should start with the equipment provider(s), however, they are understandably biased and not in a position to provide an objective and comparative answer as they are in competition with other equipment providers.
However, given this bias, an independently managed reliability database containing data for many hundreds of thousands of wells accessible for a nominal fee would have solved this problem. Unfortunately this was not the case in late 2013. What did exist were three databases run by two companies as JlP's whose software was did not reflect current technology and was not particularly user friendly. Further, the databases collectively held about 100,000 wells (roughly 5% of the global well stock) to cover onshore, offshore platform and subsea and well types from PCP, ESP, gas lift and natural producer and water injector.
At the time of writing this paper, the oil price was under $50/bbl, its lowest for many years, triggering an industry shake up that will question every dollar being spent on well operations and interventions. The key question that faced Tullow was, ‘what is the expected run life for ESP's so that a realistic economic forecast can be made on the work over frequency for the various fields’.
This paper discusses a two year journey to develop a global database, its outcomes and the benefits of the industry working together to provide one searchable database for the use of contributing industry stakeholders.