Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
School of Engineering
© 2020, The Author(s). Placing of wells in clusters with unequal number of thereof is an emerging concept of well pad development which still requires scrutiny even from a theoretical standpoint. The concept has its potential in improving economic efficiency of one of the most capital intensive processes in upstream sector of petroleum industry—the well pad drilling. To advocate and strengthen this profitability enhancing potential, this work integrates clustering of unequal number of wells into modern project management methodologies (agile project management), which has not been done before. It is shown that such symbiosis, which is called here the adaptive well pad development (or agile methodology of well pad development), has twofold benefit consisting of (1) managing of and accounting for uncertainties of real projects and (2) further improving economic performance of development projects in comparison with standalone well pad configurations with unequal number of wells. To exemplify these advantages, detailed simulations of well pad drilling projects were performed with equal and unequal number of wells in clusters. The simulation model accounting for more than 40 parameters and individual features of wells shows that combination of unequal well clustering configurations with adaptation of well pad designs to updates in project parameters results in significant improvements to the net present value (NPV). For three drilling scenarios studied in this work, the NPV increments ranged from 8 to 36%. Additionally, it was found that groupings with unequal number of wells consistently outperform groupings with equal number of wells in uncertain conditions, and NPV improvements from 10 to 20% have been obtained. These findings enrich understanding of the vast space of clustering schemes with unequal number of wells and demonstrate how these well pad configurations can be applied to use ever-changing environment to one's advantage. On basis of this computational study, it is now valid to assert with high degree of certainty and confidence that industrial deployment of clustering with unequal number of wells in combination with proper organizational measures results in boost to the NPV of well pad development projects at the level of several to tens of percent.
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