No one disputes that the US oil and gas industry has achieved remarkable progress in drilling efficiency over the past decade. Driven by the need to rein in high costs of horizontal wells in the unconventional plays, such efficiencies in many instances have approached improvements of as much as 50% in terms of drilling days compared with early efforts in these plays, notably as operators and drillers came up the learning curve of each play.
But counting drilling days is not the only way to measure drilling efficiency, according to RigData’s RADAR Report. Another way to look at this performance standard is to focus on the number of wells drilled per rig employed. The spread of pad drilling has enabled industry to double down on drilling efficiency efforts by using highly automated, highly mobile (i.e., walking or skidding systems), powerful new rigs to drill wells from a single pad. Bolstering efficiencies still further has been the practice of batch drilling wells of a similar design profile from a single pad.
In looking at the number of wells drilled per rig employed over the past 4 years, it’s apparent that rig counts and the makeup of the rig fleet have been impacted by recent drilling efficiency trends. What does that bode for the drilling business as its stakeholders weather a downturn that now looks to be as brutal as that in the 1980s?
The RigData News & Analysis team, writing in the latest issue of the RADAR Report, contends that the relationship between rig counts and drilling efficiencies is not as cut-and-dried as one might first suspect—i.e., that drilling efficiency (wells per rig) must necessarily be on a continuously upward slope as pad drilling proliferates. Seasonality and changing operator demographics are also key considerations in understanding recent variability in US onshore drilling efficiency in terms of wells drilled per rig.
Posted by RigData.