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Geological Controls on Drilling Performance

Dorset & Somerset, UK

5 Days | £3400+VAT per attendee | Alternative course locations available on request

Course Aims

To use the geological context of outcrops to help build a mutual understanding across a multi-disciplinary team of how rocks drill, and how we can predict behaviour, improve decision making, and achieve better drilling performance.

Target Audience​

Well planning engineers, Drilling engineers, Wellsite Geologists, Operations Geologists, Exploration Geologists.

Delegates Will Learn:

  • How to place drilling problems in a wider geological context

  • How to predict and mitigate common drilling problems that can lead to NPT

  • How to solve drilling challenges within a multi-disciplinary team

Course Outline


​After a poorly-performed or failed drilling operation, it usually becomes apparent that indications of drilling problems were missed, underplayed or ignored. It also often becomes apparent that the reaction to observed warning signs was inappropriate, and that a problem was exacerbated or escalated in consequence.

Many formation-related drilling problems can be predicted and mitigated during well planning, and the workshop will bring together a multi-disciplinary team to improve understanding and thus drilling performance by seeing drilling operations as part of a wider geological context.

Drilling Problem Scenarios

Four key 'drilling event' scenarios are considered and measured during the workshop.

  • An event that was identified and predicted during the well planning process that became managed.

  • An event that was identified and predicted during the well planning process which  was worse than anticipated while drilling, but which was actively managed with minimal NPT.

  • An event that was not predicted during planning, but which, through timely reaction and mitigation, was managed with some NPT. A significant event NPT event was avoided.

  • An event that was not predicted during planning, was difficult to manage and resulted in significant NPT.

Field Discussions
  • ​Challenges associated with drilling unconsolidated, and poorly cemented sands

  • Mudrocks matter to drillers!, and getting to grips with gumbo

  • Sandstones, Chalk, marl and Limestone - Planning for and managing losses

  • Geological Scale: Seismic vs log resolution vs outcrop scale

  • Faults, folds and other geological structures at various scales, and the problems that they can cause 

  • Bedding, Joints and other discontinuities and their influence on drilling

  • Hard bands and negative drill breaks of various types

  • Geological control on directional drilling and geosteering

  • Ledging , Key-seating and wellbore geometry

  • Considerations for casing running and shoe positioning

  • Predicting  and mitigating drilling problems  during the well planning process

  • Using drilling data to interpret geology in the absence of logs

  • Geosteering, geostopping and geology at the bit

  • Predicting and mitigating wellbore Instability

  • Understanding how geological uncertainty adds to the challenge of drilling

  • Reservoir, Source and Seal rocks, Oil seeps

Course Leaders

Graham Eaton

Graham Eaton

Drilling Performance Expert
+44 (0) 118 982 0151

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