Innovative Solutions – The Key to Extracting Value?
Looking at the two previous articles published by Stewart and Ali earlier on, is there a common theme joining them?
Stewart’s presents the view that by failing to understand where the value in your project lies in the first place, you can perhaps focus on the wrong metric. Ali’s article demonstrates what’s possible when the envelope is pushed, whilst being simultaneously backed up by rigorous engineering and text book operational implementation. Is there a common theme which connects them both? I’d say it’s innovation.
While writing this, I decided I wanted to define what “innovation” means. There is no clear definition of this. I would recommend taking the time to read this article (15 experts share innovation definition) for some thought provoking ideas.
To me, the definition which resonated most was “the implementation of creative ideas in order to generate value, usually through increased revenues, reduced costs or both.”
So, as Engineers, we are innovating by ensuring that we clearly understand the factors we need to control, which generate, preserve and enhance project value (or profit) whilst simultaneously increasing revenues and reducing costs. That sounds like a good thing to me. It also means that there is no excuse to “not innovate”. Every day.
Innovation isn’t necessarily about the new; new tools, new processes and new tricks. It’s about taking what we know and using it creatively to direct an outcome which enhances value.
Having said that, who wouldn’t want a new drilling tool with a lower internal frictional pressure drop, higher dog leg capability, which eliminates axial vibration? That’s a creative idea, designed to generate value by allowing the Operator to drill faster and further with higher reliability.
So, what happens if we take the innovative approach to planning and equipment? From an ERD perspective, Operators have been doing this since the 1980’s in the Bass Strait and offshore California, through Wytch Farm in the late 90’s and early 2000’s to Qatar and Sakhalin in this decade. The edge of the envelope continues to be pushed as economic necessity drives technical invention. For mature basins like the North Sea, application of these “innovations” is going to fundamentally impact of the volume of hydrocarbons we can produce before it’s all over.
At Merlin ERD we’re using all of the innovative tools in the toolbox to make challenging wells simple, marginal projects economical and problematic operations trouble-free.