A wide range of operators are increasingly turning to long-term benchmarking of their drilling and completions operations to measure and optimize performance against competitors.

Ten UK North Sea operators initiated a Drilling Performance review process in 1988, led by BP. This review process provides a data set for every well drilled in a country by participating operators, the duration of the drilling operation and records many of the drilling details which can provide a reference point for efforts made by an operator to improve their performance.

In 1993, the study was outsourced to a joint venture formed between Rushmore Associates and the Sigma Consultancy, both based in Aberdeen.

Then, a year later, the participating operators decided to establish a complementary study, a Completions Performance Review. This allowed participants to share data on the whole of the well construction process from spud date through to production or abandonment. Ensuing years saw the study grow, and, currently, the reviews contain data on over 12,000 wells constructed worldwide since 1989. Furthermore, the drilling data is growing by over 3,000 wells a year.

Participants in the study can access fully transparent drilling and completions performance data from 150 operators in over 50 countries.

Helen Rushmore, sales and marketing director for Rushmore Reviews, explained the benefits of participation in the study.

"The reviews enable operators to compare their own drilling and completions performance with those of their competitors," she said. "This allows them to identify and prioritize areas for improvement, improve target setting, and undertake better planning and budgeting in areas in which they have not yet operated."
Each year meetings are held in which the study participants discuss the content and scope of reviews and propose any changes that they may wish to see made. A discussion forum is also available on the reviews Web site, which is used by participants as an additional means of discussing potential changes.
Data sharing

The basis of the Drilling and Completions Performance Reviews is the sharing of data for mutual benefit. To qualify for participation in the reviews, operators must have drilled at least one well, and commit to submitting data for 100% of the wells drilled in at least one country. Submitting this data to the reviews allows the participating operator access to data in countries in which they have drilled or completed and submitted data, as well as accessing data from countries in which they have not drilled or completed, for the year in question. Information within the reviews database is confidential and cannot be viewed by anyone, other than those operating companies participating in the studies.

Data quality and integrity is one of the key factors in ensuring satisfaction for the users. To achieve a high standard of data quality and accuracy, over 100 automated checks are run following the submission of data by participants. This automatic checking process raises queries for any data that is missing, illogical, falls outside the 'norms' or is incompatible with other data provided for the well or completion.

Operators participating in the studies are provided with access to a databank on a secure Web site. This provides an online Microsoft (MS) Excel file of well data and drilling performance metrics containing around 100 data fields for each well.

Information is provided on the well operator and country, the well name and location, well and rig types, water and spud depth, drilling time and costs, drill bit and casing sizes, well pressure balance and details on the drilling mud used.

A further MS Excel database provides completions data and running performance metrics, again with around 100 data fields given for each well within the study. Apart from information on the operator and country, and on the well name and location, information is provided on the drilling platform, whether the well is a sub-sea or land completion. It also provides:

• Production casing design and materials, completion type, design, configuration and materials;
• Completion running times by phase and costs;
• Drilling time-depth charts;
• MS Excel tables of drilling time-depth data;
• Completion schematic diagrams.
• Charts of comparative operator performance; and
• Contact details for each participating operator.

Applications of the data

Kent Springer, California-based Overseas Manager - Drilling Engineering, for ChevronTexaco Overseas Petroleum explained the reasons for their long-term participation in the studies, and the benefits that participation brings to the company.

"ChevronTexaco is a proponent of both internal and external benchmarking of drilling performance. Internal benchmarking is beneficial as we compare performance of our projects worldwide against our internal standards," he said. "External benchmarking helps us compare performance against our worldwide peers and identify areas where we can improve. Additionally, we use benchmarking data to assist in our evaluation of new venture projects where our internal data might be limited. The Rushmore Reviews are key to both of our internal and external benchmarking processes."

Rushmore Reviews well count
Total wells worldwide
2000 1819
2001 2099
2002 2623
2003 3600 (estimated)

In addition to aiding participants in benchmarking themselves against other 'best in class' operators, further benefits of having access to this data are that it gives participants the opportunity to:
• Plan and budget for wells and completions in new areas of operation;
• Identify and learn from 'best in class' operators;
• Set targets based on 'best in class' performance;
• Optimize drilling and completions design and execution programs using offset well data to analyze challenges faced by operators of similar wells;
• Provide a driver for improvement;
• Demonstrate, publicize and celebrate achievement; and
• Validate and support 'technical limit' implementations.

The future

Now there is an increasing trend towards benchmarking data becoming part of the corporate scorecard for operators.

Most of the longer-term commitments seen from operators are a result of benchmarking taking on a corporate focus. While it is comforting perhaps to know that your corporation has improved its performance compared to history, the only real measure, in a competitive world, is how it is doing against other operators.

In 2002, the authors of the reports saw a significant increase in corporate long term contracts, amounting to over US $1.5 million being awarded by operators such as BG Group, BHP, ChevronTexaco, Devon Energy, DONG, Gaz de France, Kerr McGee, Marathon, Nexen, OMV, Premier, Roc Oil, Sasol, Shell, Statoil, TotalFinaElf - now Total - Woodside, plus Unocal and members of the Sakhalin Island development consortium.

Eigil Hannestad, well construction manager of Copenhagen-based DONG E&P, said, "Being a relatively small drilling operator, currently only working in the Danish part of the North Sea, DONG E&P Well Construction feels it is important to us to compare our performance with other operators. We find the results achieved in Norway, United Kingdom and Holland particularly interesting and the Rushmore Reviews benchmark study, which we joined in 1997, has provided us with relevant information for these areas."

He said DONG used the reviews actively for both internal goal setting and in its efforts to establish external alliances. "Based on this, it was quite natural to renew our participation with a 3-year contract," Hannestad added.

For more information, visit www.RushmoreReviews.com, or contact Helen Rushmore on + 44 1224 251040 or email Helen@RushmoreReviews.com.