Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Methods, Systems, and Computer-Readable Media for Horizontal Well Development Planning and Other Resource Constrained Operational Planning", for Approval
The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates generally to the field of resource constrained operational planning methods and systems, with horizontal well development planning serving as a non-limiting example.
"'Critical path method' is a well-established planning and scheduling method. Planning/scheduling tools, such as the software known under the trade designation
"No current tools address the unique operational challenges of horizontal oil & gas well developments, referred to herein as simply 'horizontal well developments', which typically, but not necessarily are in shales. With each horizontal well development comprising multiple 'stages', each horizontal well is effectively 10-20 'normal' vertical wells. The volumes of consumables used to drill and complete a horizontal well can be many times that of a typical vertical well. The directional nature of the well also creates a spacing question. In a typical vertical development, spacing is based on assuming somewhat omnidirectional reservoir drainage. A grid can be established allowing for a reasonably accurate count of wells to plan by. Horizontal wells must set a maximum well length (completable lateral), and a distance between the wells. The length and spacing variables affect the total number of wells required to develop the field considerably. Reducing the spacing between the wells by half would roughly double the number of wells required. For multi-well pad operations, it also increases the amount of time a drilling rig remains in an area. Typical day rates for drilling rigs now (mid-2012) range from tens to hundreds of thousands of $US/day.
"Traditional logic-based planning requires that a predecessor activity is completed before its successor can begin. This is applied for the activities that define the drill & equip of a well, but not for the order the wells will be developed. Since the location and number of future wells is unknown, it is impossible to use logic to plan effectively. Predecessor/successor logic can be used for well pads (i.e., all wells on a pad must be drilled before the first well can be completed) but resource priority is used to determine the order of the activity. Since each well has it's own critical path, and the 'project finish' is only the latest well in the schedule, the true 'critical path' has little meaning when using scheduling software for resource based operational planning/scheduling. CPM scheduling methods and tools are not ideally suited for this type of planning, because the goals are different.
"Simultaneous Operations ('SIMOPS') is a very necessary planning consideration. Drilling rigs must increase mud weight to hold back induced pressure from a nearby frac crew. The risk being that the rig can not 'mud up' fast enough, or any uncased zones already drilled through would not be able to hold up to the increased mud weight, resulting in well control issues ranging from loss of circulation to a blowout. Planning to keep enough distance between rigs and frac crews is necessary. In addition to the 'point in time' spatial conflict, the residual pressure can also affect future drilling operations. There is an 'ideal' time to return to an area to resume drilling after frac operations have finished.
"Having identified the above problems, it would be an advance in the resource planning art if methods, systems, and computer-readable media were available to reduce or overcome some or all of the above problems seen in currently available planning methods and systems. More specifically, it would be an advance in the resource planning art if methods, systems, and computer-readable media were available to enable presently known or future CPM planning/scheduling software to perform resource constrained operational planning, for example, but not limited to, horizontal well development planning (upstream activity)."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "In accordance with the present disclosure, methods, systems, and computer-readable media are described which reduce or overcome one or more of the above problems.
"A first aspect of the disclosure is a method comprising:
"a) storing operational scheduling data for a project having one or more project assets, the project assets able to perform a plurality of operational activities at defined coordinates, in a scheduling database;
"b) storing project-specific variables for the project in an external data source;
"c) executing a database query of the scheduling database and the external data source using a computer, returning all possible combinations of the plurality of operational activities, including: i) defining a common reference; ii) calculating distances from each defined coordinate to each other defined coordinate; iii) filtering the calculated distances to filter out potential operational conflicts selected from the group consisting of one or more user defined distances, operational activities having no time conflicts, and distances greater than one or more user-defined buffer distances; and
"d) identifying potential simultaneous operational activity conflicts using a tabular output format displayed on a user interface electronically connected to the computer.
"A second aspect of the disclosure is a method comprising:
"a) storing operational scheduling data for a project having one or more project assets, the project assets able to perform a plurality of operational activities at defined state plane coordinates, in a scheduling database;
"b) storing project-specific variables for the project in an external data source;
"c) transforming, using software accessible by the computer, the state plane coordinates from a state plane coordinate system to Earth coordinates in an Earth coordinate system specified for a computer language able to express geographic annotation and visualization within one or more Internet-based, two-dimensional electronic maps and/or three-dimensional electronic Earth browsers displayed on a viewer electronically connected to the computer, thus forming a transformed scheduling database;
"d) executing a database query of the transformed scheduling database and the external data source using a computer, returning all possible combinations of the plurality of operational activities, including: i) defining a common reference; ii) calculating distances from each Earth coordinate to all other Earth coordinates; iii) filtering the calculated distances to filter out potential operational activity conflicts selected from the group consisting of one or more user defined distances, operational activities having no time conflicts, and distances greater than one or more user-defined buffer distances;
"e) formatting unique icons for each operational activity and placing the icons on the electronic map and/or electronic Earth browser using the viewer and a user interface electronically connected to the computer;
"f) specifying one or more Earth coordinates and/or geometries for each operational activity and placing these on the electronic map and/or electronic Earth browser using the viewer and user interface;
"g) specifying visual buffer area geometries for the project assets according to the state plane coordinates using the user interface;
"h) visually overlaying one or more of the visual buffer area geometries on one or more of the project assets and operational activities using the viewer and user interface; and
"i) visually identifying potential simultaneous operational activity conflicts by viewing the overlaid visual buffer areas using the viewer.
"A third aspect of the disclosure is a method comprising:
"a) forming a first database of estimated dates of first production of a product or service from a plurality of project assets, and a second database of type curves for the project assets;
"b) performing a Cartesian join of the first and second databases to obtain a Cartesian product;
"c) summing results of the Cartesian product to obtain a third database of aggregate production rates at each project asset;
"d) executing a database query of the third database at each project asset using a computer, returning aggregate production rates for each project asset for a user-defined time period;
"e) comparing, using the computer, the aggregate production rates of each project asset to a project asset maximum rate for each project asset stored in the second database;
"f) displaying, on a user interface electronically connected to the computer, a 'percent loaded value' for one or more of the project assets per user-selected time period; and
"g) forecasting, using the computer, a '100 percent loaded' date for one or more of the project assets.
"Other aspects of the disclosure are systems for carrying out the methods, and computer-readable media encoded with processing instructions for implementing the various methods with the systems.
"Methods, systems, and computer-readable media of this disclosure will become more apparent upon review of the brief description of the drawings, the detailed description of the disclosure, and the claims that follow.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The manner in which the objectives of the disclosure and other desirable characteristics can be obtained is explained in the following description and attached drawings in which:
"FIGS. 1-4 are schematic views of projects that may benefit from the systems, methods, and computer-readable media of the present disclosure;
"FIGS. 5-7 are logic diagrams of three method embodiments of the present disclosure; and
"FIGS. 8A-C are flowcharts useful in describing certain aspects of the present disclosure.
"It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings are not to scale and illustrate only typical embodiments of this disclosure, and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the disclosure may admit to other equally effective embodiments."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Yeager,
Keywords for this news article include: Software,
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