Radial Jet Drilling is an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method.
The two main benefits and advantages of this technology are:
1. The recovery and production of significantly more oil & gas from existing vertical wells that have already been drilled and completed. (a workover tool)
2. The recovery and production of significantly more oil & gas from new wells being drilled and completed. (a completion tool)
What else can Radials/Laterals do?
- Bypass formation (skin) damage – known to be a major problem in the oilfield.
- Establish significant Radial contact with your resevoir
- Have an application in secondary/tertiary recovery situations (waterflooding)
- Be jetted with precision into thin layers where a frac is not possible
- Solve common problems with gas or water coning
- Solve problems of sand production
- Be an excellent pre-frac technology
- Offer an alternative solution to a frac
- They are environmentally friendly
- Provide an excellent conduit to deploy chemicals or other EOR solutions
- Be an excellent technology to deploy on water disposal wells - massively increasing the injectivity of water wells
Numerous expert reports indicate that existing (old) wells should see an increase in production of between 300%-1000% after the successful application of Radial Drilling. The increase in production comes mainly from oil or gas that would not have previously been produced.
The successful application of Radial Drilling entails being able to enter an existing vertical wellbore of 4.5” (or greater) in diameter, mill a hole in the steel casing, and then using a high-pressure water jet technology drill out through the near wellbore damage into the formation.
It is a well established fact that each and every oil or gas well in the world suffers from near wellbore damage. This damage leads to a major decline in production and recovery from these wells, and for decades a multitude of solutions have been tried. The most common method to treat the damage is via the use of acid or chemicals, which generally provides a short-term solution before the problem re-occurs.
Other solutions are small frac jobs or even jetting the perforations.
Many mature formations around the world still have as much as 90-95% of the original oil in place after primary recovery. By successfully applying Radial Drilling, either independently, or as part of a secondary recovery plan, as much as an additional 20-30% of the oil could easily be recovered.
How does it work?
Typically Radial Jet Drilling is a 2-stage process:
1. Mill a hole in the casing
2. Jet a lateral into the formation
A guide shoe is attached to the production tubing and set on depth where the process is completed. The shoe is then rotated either 90 or 120 degrees (depending on well casing size) and the process is repeated. A well should take approximately 4-5 days to complete.
Once the well has unloaded whatever volume of water was used in the jetting (should be minimal), an immediate result should be seen.
What is the reputation of Radial Drilling?
At this time, Radial Drilling has a somewhat negative perception within the industry, which has been created by a number of Radial Drilling businesses making false claims about their capabilities. These false claims specifically relate to their ability to reliably and successfully mill through the steel casing, and then more specifically related to their ability to jet laterals.
Claims of 100m (300ft) laterals, going out in a perfectly straight direction are farcical.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of how many of these systems are deployed, the operator has to put much faith in what he is being told by the Radial Drilling Service Company. In this case the common story is one where the laterals were successfully jetted, but for reasons unknown, the well didn’t respond. The truth is that it is unlikely that any laterals were ever jetted into the formation, and that the flexible hose used to jet the laterals has just been wrapping around inside the casing.
In fact, one wonders if the inexperienced operators of much of this Radial Drilling equipment even know, or knew, what was happening, based on the information they would be seeing at the surface.
I have personally met and spoken with over 200 operators who have tried a number of Radial Drilling Systems and have heard the same story repeated many times.