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Complex Processes and High Stakes: Well Scheduling Matters.

The process of moving from a well drilling order to well scheduling is challenging enough as a logistical exercise—and it gets even trickier when budgeting enters the picture. Rig movements require meticulous planning, and the roads, pads, and pipelines needed to move and operate them all entail their own financial considerations. If one factor changes unexpectedly, it can cause a domino effect, leading to idle time and suboptimal profitability.

Optimizing costs and returns for this complex process means exhaustive planning for well scheduling. In the face of shifting operating expenses, infrastructure costs, and overall capital expenditure, how can oil and gas companies see the full picture? The answer is to take as many factors into account as possible, giving you the best plan and better preparing you for uncertainty.

Well Scheduling Isn’t Always a Straight Line.

Well scheduling relies on collaboration between the entire project team, from the drilling crew all the way up to the executive team. Planning starts with the executives, who ensure that the project aligns with the company’s strategic vision and financial targets. Once the overall strategy is set, planners create a comprehensive schedule that considers resource availability, equipment maintenance, regulatory requirements, and more. Engineers advise on the plan, assessing the geological conditions, designing the wellbore, and determining the optimal drilling techniques for safety and efficiency. And then the facilities team must coordinate the logistics and infrastructure required for drilling rig operations to ensure that the necessary equipment, supplies, and support services are available.

While the process is theoretically simple, the reality is often more complicated. If the facilities team finds that the logistics won’t work, engineers need to come up with a new approach. If the geological conditions aren’t right for the scheduling plan, the planners need to revisit the schedule. Even the executive team will sometimes need to change course if the technical snags add up to the point that the project no longer makes strategic sense. The bottom line: a fully linear planning process doesn’t fit the well scheduling model. Oil and gas companies need a more flexible, interconnected approach.

Incorporate Risk Management to the Planning Process.

While outage planning is challenging, the risk associated with outages can be built into plans, both operational and financial. Companies can leverage historical data on outages to understand, if not when an outage will occur, at least how much flexibility and lost time to build into their plans. This will allow better foresight into the risks associated with well scheduling, and as a result, increased automation of a historically manual process. A common platform for your entire company’s planning process can be a powerful tool to mitigate risk.

A Connected Planning Tool for Well Scheduling.

Given the multitude of stakeholders and coordination involved, effectively communicating about the processes we’ve discussed is a formidable challenge. Companies relying on siloed software tools or disconnected spreadsheets for their planning will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by emails, files, and processes. In our work with the industry globally, we’ve successfully implemented the connected planning platform Anaplan, a cloud-based platform that allows for agile collaboration on even the most complex business plans.

In the oil and gas industry, companies can perform real-time scenario analysis on rig availability, well productivity, and market conditions to inform their well scheduling, all informed by real-time data on rig utilization, well performance, and other critical factors. Ultimately, you receive a better understanding of risks and more accurate projections of profitability. If this sounds like an outcome that could benefit your company, or if you have questions, reach out to one of our industry experts.