A quick ramp-up of production was based on an intensive drilling programme. When SPD started the development of the Salym group of fields in 2003, a huge amount of preparatory work was performed by the company in identifying the best well engineering practices used by Russian oil companies. This study involved frequent visits to West Siberian oil fields, where SPD learned how Russian companies managed drilling operations, and what technologies and materials they used. SPD also visited Russian drilling equipment manufacturers.
Based on the observations from the scouting exercise and comprehensive study of well construction methods and techniques used in Russia, the company developed its own drilling operations strategy. SPD believes this strategy will ensure successful implementation of the large-scale Salym field drilling programme. The programme provides for the drilling of over 1000 wells in West Salym, Upper Salym and Vadelyp.
The strategy of well construction adopted by SPD relies on the best Russian drilling equipment, materials and operational experience, plus the application of organizational and technological solutions that have been proved by the Shell Group. The company wanted to combine the best Russian and international practices.
After a thorough analysis of the drilling contractor market, the company selected two drilling contractors, one Russian, the Siberian Service Company (SSK), and one Western, KCA Deutag. The company believes that a fair competition between the contractors will allow SPD to continuously optimize the drilling process and improve drilling performance.
All materials SPD uses in well construction, including casing pipes, wellheads and completion equipment, are made in Russia, as are the drilling rigs, where SPD has chosen rigs BU-3900 and BU-4500 manufactured by OAO UralMash. These rigs have been custom-built with Western top drives. The top drive can have an influence on drilling techniques and expand the functionality of the entire drilling system, thus increasing the penetration rate while reducing, and at times, removing the risk of emergencies and hole problems while drilling. The Western top drive allows drilling long reach wells (high angle wells) with a greater outstep of 2500 meters from the wellhead compared with the 1600 meters using other technology. In addition, many of the so-called sub-horizontal wells are now being drilled at 80 to 85 degrees through the reservoir. This provides the opportunity to increase oil recovery and optimize the number of wells.