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Corva helps break North American drilling record for longest lateral with 32,468 ft well

Corva has announced that its drilling optimization technology was used by an undisclosed international oil and gas producer to drill a record-breaking extended reach well in the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska’s North Slope. Extended reach wells increase production and minimize the impact of oil and gas extraction on the environment, however, extreme torque and pressure conditions create complex challenges to drilling long-lateral wellbores. The operator leveraged real-time insights from Corva to rapidly respond to hazardous conditions while drilling and tripping pipe, the critical process of removing and replacing the entire drill string.

“From unconventional factory drilling in the Permian to extended reach conventional wells in the North Slope, Corva is driving drilling optimization across North America,” Ryan Dawson, Corva’s Founder and CEO, said. “We’re thrilled to have been a part of the team that broke the record for longest onshore well. Whether it’s optimizing T&D for extended reach, analyzing offset wells for drilling insights, or enabling crews to outperform with operational KPIs, Corva is enabling the industry to continuously push the drilling envelope using data science.” 

Directional drilling has enabled the oil and gas industry to drill increasingly longer extended-reach horizontal wells. By maximizing the distance of a wellbore through a producing pay zone, operators gain significant production and economic return while minimizing the cost of development and impact on the environment. However, long horizontal sections of a well create extreme torque and drag conditions that strain a drilling rig’s operational limits, which can result in a drill string break, or twist off, and other catastrophic events. Adding complexity, extended-reach wellbores pose multiple risks while tripping-out pipe, in which a multi-mile length of drill string is removed to change drill bits, replace damaged pipe, or prepare for a casing run. The process creates a swabbing effect that lowers wellbore pressure below reservoir pressure, which can lead to a well control event. Similarly, extremely high pressure is created while tripping-in pipe, resulting in a surge effect and dangerous bottom hole pressure situation. In both cases, the difference in pressure can damage downhole equipment as well as degrade the wellbore and reservoir, which can result in stuck pipe or permanently impede production.

In July, a supermajor and user of Corva’s drilling optimization platform set the onshore North American drilling record for the longest lateral well with the completion of a 32,468 ft well in the Alaskan National Petroleum Reserve. The operator wanted to avoid the time-consuming process of manually plotting torque and drag conditions by leveraging Corva’s T&D mobile application, which automates data collection and analysis while drilling. By monitoring hole conditions in real-time, the drilling team could rapidly adjust weight on bit and torque transfer as needed to prevent stuck pipe and twist offs. The application also provided higher torque and drag data frequency (one point per stand of pipe) while tripping-in casing, enabling the crew to rapidly identify trends and spot deteriorating hole conditions.

In addition, the operator wanted to prevent dangerous pressure conditions when tripping bottom hole assemblies (BHA), the process of replacing drill bits and other drilling equipment. Corva’s Surge and Swab application was used to continuously analyze downhole pressure and prevent reservoir fluid from being pulled into the wellbore (also known as a kick) while tripping-out BHAs. What’s more, the application provided valuable real-time insight into high-pressure conditions while tripping-in BHAs, enabling the operator to optimize trip time and avoid damage to equipment, wellbore, and reservoir.

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