MiniDrill is an innovative solution that can increase hydrocarbon production and reduce drilling costs. The project’s first phase has just been completed. The innovative technology would involve drilling a large number of parallel small-diameter boreholes using a high-pressure jet of water. Such boreholes would go as far as 200 metres from existing, traditionally drilled vertical wells.
‘MiniDrill is a good example of research and development work that right from the start is intended for ultimate commercialisation and delivering tangible business results for our exploration and production segment. Once the field tests are completed, it is crucial for us to be able to apply this solution in practice as soon as possible,’ says Łukasz Kroplewski, Vice President for Development at PGNiG S.A.
The new method would not replace traditional drilling, but could complement it. Drilling smaller-diameter wells would enable contact with the reservoir, while being two to three times less expensive. Positive results of applying this technology would increase the probability that conventional drilling would be successful. Moreover, it would help make decisions whether to employ more expensive techniques to increase production or whether to abandon drilling.
‘The small-diameter drilling technology using high-pressure water jets would enable precise drilling of a selected deposit area in a manner least invasive for the well itself and other field formations. This can be compared to the use of laparoscopy in surgery. As far as hydrocarbon exploration is concerned, preliminary appraisal involving much less expensive equipment and posing a lower risk is often sufficient,’ explains Dariusz Dzirba, Head of the Research and Development Department of PGNiG S.A.
The first demonstration phase of the project ended in May 2018 under the supervision of a research team from the Faculty of Drilling, Oil and Gas of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, experts from the Geology and Hydrocarbon Production Branch of PGNiG S.A., and EuroTech of Mielec. The equipment has been aligned with PGNiG’s high standards.
‘Development of the MiniDrill technology has required a series of research studies, simulations and laboratory tests of innovative structures, including nozzle systems, which have been used in the project,’ says Prof. Rafał Wiśniowski, Dean of the Faculty of Drilling, Oil and Gas of the AGH University of Science and Technology.
The equipment was tested in conditions similar to actual operating conditions. All the tests were successful, confirming that the equipment meets the target parameters. The next phase will involve testing the equipment in downhole conditions at depths of up to 2,000 metres.