The Snake Well drill is a path breaking technology that allows us to extract oil from the previously inaccessible places. In contrast with conventional drills, snake well drill helps to intricate horizontal paths, cutting through shale and sand to reach numerous of diverse reservoir pockets from a single drilling platform. The wells use a combination of technologies including directional drilling, extended reach drilling (ERD), swellable wellbore packers and remotely operated zonal isolation and control. These result in a "snake like" well path which weaves up and down through multiple geological features in order to achieve maximum reservoir drainage.The Snake Well design was created in 2001 by Brunei Shell Petroleum(BSP) and was drilled offshore in BSP’s Iron Duke Field in 2003 with a 1,500m reservoir section. In January 2006, BSP delivered first oil from its Champion West Phase 3 Development. The benefits of Snake Wells include low unit development costs but very high initial rates. The pressure drawdown is minimal, and the recovery efficiency from these wells is proving to be significantly better than that of vertical wells.Much of the challenge lay in design, placement, and control of the wells. BSP’s solution was derived in-house and involved combining a design which snakes through the reservoir section with extensive use of industry-standard downhole flow control valves, sensors, and gauges to optimize production. Thus, the Snake Wells have made the Champion West facility as one of the most advanced offshore facilities in the world.
References: Jerry Beckman, Smart snake well achieves record flow for BSP off Brunei, Offshore Magazine, 2006. Salam, A Journey to Remember, The BSP Homepage, August,2006.