Is Your Rig Schedule Enough?

It’s always a challenge to get everyone on the same page. We have all sat through countless scheduling meetings that focus only on the drilling rig and where it’s going. There’s more happening than that right? Discussion about location, completion timing, and facility construction often happen somewhere else and sometimes with somebody else. There needs to be a way to get everyone on board with the full schedule from the start.

In simpler times, a well construction schedule could be inferred from the rig schedule. Well construction followed a linear path, starting with location construction and progressing through flowback. Modern development scheduling needs to account for spudder rigs, batch drilling, and completion delays due to well interference. These steps should all be reflected on the same schedule. On an average well construction project today, the actual drilling can be less than 10% of the total time. A complete schedule will account for the other 90%.

Well construction is a process that begins long before a drilling rig ever shows up. The time required to plan and secure a location, prepare and file permits, and construct a location is significant and should not be invisible. Delays in this phase can throw off the timing of the entire project. If these functions are not reflected on your schedule, changes at this stage can mean you are not ready to drill. The earlier in the project you know this, the more flexibility you will have to plan around any issues that arise in this early, critical stage.

The well construction process is not finished when the rig moves. After all, the goal of well construction is to deliver a well that sells oil and gas. The time between rig release and first sales can vary. Multi-well pad drilling and completion delays due to well interference can separate completion timing and first sales from the drilling schedule. Accounting for this delay makes production forecasts more accurate. In addition to completion, facilities need to be constructed and pipeline tie-ins may be needed to complete the well construction process. Including these in your schedule can ensure all facets of well construction are visible.

A traditional drilling schedule is a resource-based schedule. It tells you what one resource, the drilling rig, will be doing at any time. When we look at our development program from a project perspective, we are creating a project-based schedule. This schedule is focused on the timing and deliverables of a project. Resources are an important part of a schedule, after all, without them nothing gets done. We don’t have to ignore resources in a project-based schedule, we can simply add them as attributes to tasks on the schedule.

Creating a schedule centered on what needs to be done, not who will do it, changes the conversation in those schedule meetings. The focus changes from what the rig will be doing, to the progress of the development program. By including all phases of well construction in a comprehensive schedule, everyone on the team clearly understands what needs to be done and when operations will be occurring. This means your projects will run smoother with fewer unpleasant surprises.