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№ 10 (October 2011)

National Drilling Company LLC Choses Andvanced Technology

   The National Drilling Company was incorporated in October of 2002 to initially focus on implementing new oil production technologies. At that time MWD-systems with hydraulic communication channels to support the oil reservoir management had not been widely used in the Russian oil fields.

By This article was supplied courtesy of National Drilling Company

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   While developing our business plan, we focused on conducting work on abandoned oil fields, where so-called “big drilling” had passed its peak. After completions on oil patches with large debits of oil reservoirs, drilling companies left behind vast areas where exploration re-drilling was unprofitable, while the geology of the remaining layers and seams showed production on these abandoned sites was still worthwhile as they are more than likely to produce volumes that could cover projected costs for this type of job and yield substantial profits.

   2003 was spent entirely on preparing a base to accommodate the branch company entitled the NDC-Western Siberia, and for selecting and training qualified personnel. We have trained the skilled telemetry employees in one of the best profile institutions, which includes Houston, Texas (USA). In early 2004, we entered the market of oil supply with a proposal to sidetrack using the new generation telemetry systems – Logging-While-Drilling (LWD). This technology allows drillers to avoid going beyond the reservoir, even when its thickness is insignificant and avoid the extra work to isolate water and gas, and sometimes re-drilling of entire horizontal section.

   By then, the company had already been equipped with the latest generation of seismic profiling equipment made in Canada and the United States. To gain client confidence and demonstrate our ability to perform complicated operations with a clear timetable for the layer sidetracking as indicated by the customer’s geological survey, we conducted several workshops. Customers were impressed with the results and the company received its first full-scale work orders along with the experience of sidetracking and telemetry support.

   But oil patchers’ happiness is short-lived. Some time between 2005 and 2006, the best management practices in the oil production industry had a change of heart. In an effort to streamline production, major customers started to drive the drilling departments out of their assets, focusing only on the end result of the whole complicated chain, and namely, the immediate receipt of the final product, i.e. crude oil.

   The National Drilling Company had, as they say, to be re-deployed on the march and participate in public tenders as a general contractor, who would take charge of the entire range of oil production management from scratch. This was a new and difficult job for us, but at the same time it was great experience, too. The experience of outsourcing, of finding the best possible chemicals for every new geological site under development was unmatched.

   At a certain stage of our business, we conducted an economic analysis and reached the conclusion that we needed to expand in order to optimize our work; consequently, we set out to prepare the base for the full-profile petroleum production. We purchased mobile drilling rigs and the base for their technical support and repairs.

   All this can be attributed to the technical side of the company, but an increasingly important role in its development was played by the issues of organizational support and, above all, the customer relations.

   Sometimes, negotiations with customers were very hard indeed and we had to refuse from some orders. But in most cases, we have found mutual understanding and were eager to complete all works, taking into account regulations and customers’ requirements for particular jobs. This tactic enabled us to endure the hardest times of the global economic crisis in the absence of orders at the time and the need to preserve the unique core of the company expertise.

   We’d like to believe that all hardships are behind us and we will not be distracted from our main task - the quality performance of customer assignments and adoption of new technologies in the oil production.

   At the moment, the most attractive thing seems to be the intensive development of new technologies at the already developed fields. The NDC LLC tries to the best of its ability to get actively involved in the development of new technologies in the area.

   This year, the company acquired an underbalanced drilling rig in Canada. Initially, as in the case of telemetry eight years ago, we were met with cautious attitude from out customers. To show the capabilities of new technology, we have adopted a business plan for the drilling presentations at several sites to urge the real capability of greater oil production rates at depleted fields upon our potential customers. We are confident that in the next five to seven years, there will be no alternative to the underbalanced drilling in the already developed areas.

   The customers’ desire to raise production involves some intensive use of novel technologies. However, the use of new technologies is not possible without the real cost of manufacturing the required equipment in the right quantities, training personnel and bringing improvements in a number of support operations. If the customer is realistic about these issues, then the intensity of work, and eventually the oil production, should actually increase.

   At present, being aware of the complexity of challenges facing the National Drilling Company, while maintaining a certain degree of ambition to achieve the level of a company with a broad portfolio of services in demand on the market, we seek to keep the quality of completed drilling up to the mark by introducing new technologies all the time, convincing customers of the benefits of new technologies and maintaining the highest qualifications of the company’s engineers and technicians.

   And not least, we try to keep a sense of the company employees’ involvement in the corporate community that is sought-after and respected both locally and globally.
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