Skip to main content


Drill Science Leading Edge Competency Matrix

Competency Matrix for Drilling Engineering
SPE Task Force on Minimal Competency + Drill Science Task Force on Leading Edge Competency
Maintain well control. Calculate mud weight necessary to maintain well control and volume of mud required to fill the hole while tripping out. Design and/or implement procedure to successfully circulate out an influx. Determine fluid type of influx with data collected after influx. Understand relationship between geologic depth reference and drilling depth reference. Design and/or implement procedure to successfully control an underground blowout. Design DOWNCAST, and BROADCAST Think in terms of stresses and pressures instead of misleading density. Highlight Safety Critical Moments (SCM) and Elements (SCE) of the drilling program for heightened awareness and design appropriations for equipment inspection and personnel competency levels and supervisory escalations.
Develop casing program (sizes, setting depths). Develop a casing program based on a provided pore pressure/frac gradient plot. Understand relationship between desired production flow rates and tubing/casing configuration. Determine the surface casing setting depth required to protect fresh water sands. Prepare pore pressure and frac pressure versus depth plots. Optimize the number and depths of protective casings. Optimize the size of the casing strings and liners. Optimize the casing setting depths, and hole sizes based on considerations of kick tolerance and productivity index of the zones that will be penetrated.
Design casing. Understand basic design principles (burst, collapse, tension in the pressure/ temperature environment that the casing will encounter). Design surface, intermediate and production casing/liner to maintain well integrity. Select optimal casing/ connections for hostile environments (HPHT, H2S, CO2, salt, etc.). Understand and measure thermal and chemical precursors of consequence and model these in a thermal casing design. Understand and engineer Annular Fluid Management systems that accounts and responds to Annular Fluid Expansion (AFE), contraction (AFC), Annular Pressure Buildup (APB) or drawdown (APD). Integrate thermal effects on casing and tubing including movement and buckling calculations. Understand thermodynamics of hydrogen diffusion affects on corrosion, cracking, embrittlement and failures associated with H2S, and CO2 and design appropriately. Understand and know how to modify precursors and apply mitigations.
Maintain regulatory compliance. Understand requirement to protect fresh water with surface casing setting depth/cement and requirements on directional programs to stay within lease/block boundaries. Understand the process required to comply with regulatory requirements. (for example, design an abandonment procedure to isolate zones per regulation or that may cross flow, know what regulatory applications to prepare, and how to verify compliance). Calculate emissions from rig operations (air pollutants from engine exhaust rates, % oil on cuttings, etc.). Understand the precursors of consequence to measure and monitor stress and strain on structures in our design. Understand the need to focus on the margin between stress and strength of our structures, including the structures of our teams and individuals. Understand the principles of effort needed. Understand confidence as a monitor of the health of our operations. Understand the role of competence in this cycle of performance.
Select the mud program. Calculate the minimum mud weight required to balance formation pressure for each hole interval. Design mud program to maintain well control considering casing programs and formation integrity. Select acceptable mud types. Specify mud properties (e.g., density and fluid loss requirements). Optimize the cost of the mud systems by altering the inhibitive nature of the mud systems. Establish the critical minimum inhibition requirements. Manipulate fine details of mud properties to achieve drilling needs. Control circumferential stresses with engineered salinities (osmotic), chemicals (capillary), fluid temperatures (thermal), densities (hydrostatic), and well control issues with water loss (gas diffusivity), and mud properties (gas solubility).
Design a directional well path (including horizontal/ multilaterals). Understand the relationship between difficulty and lateral displacement. Select appropriate kickoff points, build rates, required hole angles and bottom hole assemblies. Optimize the directional program and casing design to avoid key seating. Evaluate casing wear and develop designs to mitigate the problem. Develop a horizontal or multilateral drilling program. Design trajectories that take into account geomechanical properties of formations penetrated and arbitrary orientations of the wellbore that meets objectives of well. This may include trajectories through and around salt bodies that will require extensive knowledge of salt tectonics.
Specify equipment. Recommend wellhead/BOP ratings to maintain well integrity. Understand performance properties of drill string and BHA components. Determine BOP stack arrangements, establish test requirements. Calculate ton miles to slip and cut drill line. Calculate slip crushing forces on a landing string. Design equipment components for a fit-for-purpose rig to optimize cost. Specify equipment standards appropriated to BROADCAST levels. FORECAST these levels in the design phase to ensure procurement standards are appropriated to anticipated well conditions. SCE should be specified and equipment installed during SCM should include this heightened awareness and competencies of the teams installing equipment during those SCMs.
Develop procedure to implement formation evaluation program. Understand hole considerations for successful open hole logging. Understand interaction between mud composition, hole integrity and types of logs that can be run successfully Design well testing operations procedure for hostile environment (e.g., HPHT, mobile marine drilling unit). Gather data for Drilling Geomechanics Mechanical Earth Model for future and current drilling. This includes XLOTs, and hydraulic fracturing to estimate S3, and SH, estimating rock strength from breakouts, and SH from breakout rotations. Estimating SH from drilling induced tensile fractures and wellbore failures.
Develop hydraulics program. Understand basic principles of fluid mechanics and non-Newtonian fluids. Calculate pressure drop through the system and optimize bit hydraulics. Understand principals of equivalent circulating density. Integrate hydraulics program with geological setting and mud program. Model thermodynamic hydraulics model and integrate its geomechanical interaction with the wellbore (see above; thermal, chemical, diffusivity, capillary, osmotic, geometrical).
Develop solids control program. Understand operations of basic solids control Size standard solids control equipment (shaker, desander, and desilter) for mud and hydraulics programs. Design closed loop system with zero discharge. Engineer specialty solids control equipment for special situations especially areas that might introduce more low gravity solids with conventional standard equipment.
Design cementing program. Understand regulatory requirements (fresh water protection, zone isolation, etc.). Understand application of basic cement additives. Design cement slurries and procedures with sufficient pump time and other characteristics to successfully complete a job. Understand application of specialty cement additives. Design cement jobs for special situations (shallow water flow, underground blowout, etc). Design cement job contingencies for moderate probability delivery system malfunctions on critical jobs. Design for special needs like APM and HTHP, H2S, and CO2.
Drill String, BHA, Bit Design Understand the basics of each. Understand how changes in sizes affect observable parameters. Understand how each of these components works together in harmony and understand that also there are harmonic disturbances that must be accounted for and responded to. Predict harmonics with drillstring vibration modelling. Integrate the drillstring modelling with geomechanical modelling and understand the relationship between torque, torque resistance and torsional and axial stiffness in regards to drilling malfunctions and ROP such as Stick Slip, Bit Whirl and vibration. Be able to design in advance to avoid these problems and optimize high ROP systems that work within the hydraulics and geomechanical systems. This design also takes into consideration special BHAs and components for Stuck Pipe Prevention.
Stuck Pipe Prevention Understand the basics modes of stuck pipe. Understand how modalities of stuck pipe affect mitigations. Design casing setting depths, drill string components, hydraulics programs, solids control systems and drilling fluids to avoid stuck pipe. Have and understand how to use a Stuck Pipe Freedom Workshheet Understand, measure, monitor and manage the thermal and geomechanical contributions to stuck pipe. These include concepts of "ovality", "dilatancy", "creep", wellbore stability, formation transitions, hole cleaning, operational considerations, the ability to understand, measure and calculate the force pinning drill string as a function of differential pressure, zone permeability, thickness, hole diameter, pipe diameters, mud type, wall cake qualities, hole orientation and the ability to foresee, prevent and mitigate these issues.
Competency and Learning Culture Literature Mindset, Learning and Competence
4 stages of competence