As global demand for energy rises, the number of wells drilled in the coming decades is likely to exceed the number drilled in the last century.
Shell has been drilling for energy resources for more than 100 years. We produce oil and gas from more than 25,000 wells worldwide. Each year we drill almost a thousand wells to find and produce more resources to meet the world’s growing need for energy.
Increasingly these wells are located in challenging and complex environments, trapped thousands of metres underground in unusual rock formations or deep beneath the ocean under thick beds of salt.
Our task is to locate the fields, drill the wells and produce the energy safely and efficiently, with minimum impact on the environment.
To achieve these goals we continually develop new technologies and refine our safety processes, and apply the same global standards to all our well designs and operating procedures.
We deliver a four-year wells training programme and special mandatory advanced well control courses at four state-of-the-art centres around the world. They equip all of our wells engineers with the knowledge and experience to drill, complete and maintain wells in the safest possible way, in environments ranging from land to waters thousands of metres deep.
More energy from greater depths
During drilling, tubes, called casings and liners, are inserted into the hole to prevent it from collapsing and isolate the well. Traditionally, as the drilling goes deeper, each liner has to be narrower than the previous one. The more liners are inserted, the narrower the well becomes, reducing the amount of oil and gas that can flow in.
In 2001 Shell drilled the world’s first mono-diameter well comprising multiple consecutive liners, which we expanded to the same final diameter once lowered in the hole. Since then we have worked on a range of variations to the technology to overcome a decades-long dilemma – allowing more oil or gas flow through the well while reducing its cost and environmental footprint by using less steel and cement.
This is currently the only expandable technology able to maintain the well diameter over several drilling sections.
In 2015 we successfully completed our sixth installation of mono-diameter technology, at our deep-water well operations in the Gulf of Mexico. This lets us tap into resources below other reservoirs that could otherwise not be economically produced.