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Merlin ERD


The issue of Corporate Amnesia or Corporate Memory Loss has long been identified as having a major impact on productivity in many industries, and the drilling industry is no different. Some organizations have yet to identify the problem, though in more than one area the local regulators or industry organizations have identified increased drilling NPT due, primarily, to poor practices. This is further backed up through the incident investigations Merlin ERD has performed across the globe. While there are many reasons for this occurring, the recent shifting of the tacit and explicit knowledge bases has had a significant impact.

There are many indicators that these changes in knowledge base have occurred in the drilling industry, indirectly the maximum ERD ratio has been seen to reduce since the heady days of the 1990’s to 2000’s, and this is supported in recent professional papers and presentations on the learnings and evolution of drilling risk management shale gas horizontals that have shown repeated learnings by different operators, and many cases mirror learnings published in the 1990’s.

Some operators have identified this gap in experience in drilling high angle and horizontal wells. In a case study, even though planned wells were well within the operator’s local directional envelope the changes in knowledge and competency locally suggested a potential competency gap. This was due to the vintage of the local envelope defining wells being some 15-25 years old, where these successful wells had been delivered on the back of previous learnings and experience of the then teams.
To deliver the planned wells therefore there are some approaches that can be taken that can not only improve success rates but also develop the team for the campaign and beyond:

  • “Knowledge through doing”: by drilling the wells based on existing, though limited, knowledge and that of contracted companies. This can be a high-risk approach and may result in the occurrence of the infamous ‘unknown unknown’s’ impacting performance severely. While the operations team gains experience, it’s knowledge will be unmentored, potentially incorrect and explicit to the wells being delivered.
  • “Band-Aid Approach”: by purchasing knowledge through the introduction of specific competent and experienced staff to deliver the well or campaign. This may limit knowledge development in the delivery team and result in a continued dependence on the individual’s expertise to bridge the gaps in the well delivery.
  • “Learn, Practice and Deliver”: by training both tacit & explicit knowledge by competent expertise to provide a wide umbrella of understanding to the team. This is performed through a combination of classroom, simulator and wellsite training and re-enforcement of learnings.
  • “Trust but Verify”: by using an independent verification of team operational preparedness weaknesses and gaps can be identified and supplemented with coaching where required.

At Merlin ERD we see the greatest success through the early adoption of a combination of these approaches, tailored to your organization and team specific needs to deliver long-term sustainability of well delivery. We have seen this MerlinERD approach results in a creating strong competent drilling teams that can repeatably deliver high quality, high angle wells with reduced NPT.

So, whether you are an experienced drilling team concerned about well construction risks or a worried about gaps in expertise, contact Merlin ERD to see how we can support your operations and develop your drilling team’s high angle well competency. And remember, ‘high angle’ is a lot lower inclination that you may think.

Merlin ERD – world leaders in horizontal, extended reach and complex high angle wells.