Optimized Platform Placement to Cover All Geological Targets in Baronia
M. Anas Sofian, Christophe Leuranguer, and Noor Farhana Musiran, PETRONAS Carigali; Afiqah Fathiah Ahmad
Saifuddin, Thomas Wong, and Ilen Kardani, Halliburton
Copyright 2014, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference Asia held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 25–28 March 2014.

This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright.

Platform placement and sizing are critical steps for enabling subsequent operations, such as well construction, logistics, and
facilities installation to be performed efficiently and safely. This paper introduces the most economical, yet efficient, solution
for an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project in which 25 wells were to be drilled in the Baronia field, offshore Sarawak,
Malaysia. Collaborative teamwork from drilling, reservoir, facility, geology, and production groups was required to develop
the best solutions to minimize construction work, simplify well trajectories, and use all available resources to help minimize
the overall budget. In addition, this paper evaluates the drillability of each well based on available drilling technologies and
rig capabilities in the market.
During the initial design stage, all 25 wells were planned to be drilled from two new wellhead platforms (WHPs) to
intercept all geological targets. Major well collision problems were encountered against adjacent wells in the congested
Baronia field; however, after several iterations of surface nudging and slots designation, all wells were drillable, with a total
footage of 227,527.1 ft drilled.
The first iteration was performed by placing one new single WHP at an optimized location and using spare slots and
sidetracking from an existing platform. This optimized design reduced/saved 39,868.61 ft compared to the initial stage and
eliminated the requirement for another new platform. The second iteration was performed by shifting the new WHP 300 ft
closer to the production platform to enable bridge linking and help reduce construction work on the pipelines. The total
footage to be drilled from this location was reduced again by 3,622.63 ft. Finally, the setup was further optimized by
equipping the new platform with splitter wells, which reduced the number of conductor pipes required without decreasing the
number of wells to be drilled.
Overall, the platform placement and sizing optimizations saved USD millions during the planning stage by eliminating
one platform, decreasing drilling footage, minimizing construction work, and helping reduce health, safety, and
environmental (HSE) risks.

The Baronia field is located about 40 km offshore, northwest (NW) of Lutong, Sarawak, Malaysia, in block SK15 of the
Baram Delta area (Fig. 1). It was discovered in 1967 (Pratap et al. 2000) by Well BN-1 and production commenced in May
1972 from two isolated appraisal/development wells, BN-4 and BN-5. To date, 72 wells have been drilled in this field. To
gain more productivity, horizontal wells were introduced in the Baronia field some 22 years after its first production. During
those years, horizontal well drilling technology was just introduced within the operating company and the Baronia field was
the first to be implemented (Jadid and Mustapah 2007).
Structurally, the Baronia field is characterized by a simple, internally faulted, relatively flat, low relief domal anticline
structure elongated toward the south-southwest (SSW) and the anticline is resulted from a rollover associated with growth
faulting combined with Pliocene compressional folding. The main prospective sequences are comprised of interbeded
sandstones and shales with minor siltstones of Late Miocene (Jadid and Mustapah 2007).
There are four drilling platforms in the Baronia field; two 12-slot drilling platforms (BNDP-A and BNDP-B), two 15-slot
drilling platforms (BNDP-I and BNDP-J), and five 3-slot jackets (BNJT-C, BNJT-D, BNJT-E, BNJT-F1, and BNJT-H1)
2 OTC-24839-MS

(Fig. 2). The first field development started from the drilling platform BNDP-A in 1974, and continued to 1979 from a
second drilling platform, BNDP-B.

Drillability Criteria
The following criteria are given to ensure that each well is drillable from a given location and reach the geological targets as
shown in Fig 11:

• Drilling risks
• Anti-collision
• Dogleg severity
• Hydraulic
• Torque and drag
• Rig capability
• Technology availability
• Cost efficiency

A number of significant drillability criteria were taken into account in the well design for a cost efficient planning and to
alleviate any drilling risks. Study from the offset wells will give useful information regarding the drilling problems which
may have happened in the past so that the mitigation plans can be clearly defined. All anti-collision risks and mitigation plan
should be lay up in detail and communicate to all parties during the planning and execution phase. Correct geographic
system, geodetic datum and map zone need to be established and agreed upon in order to have an accurate coordinate system.
All anti-collision policies were followed in the planning stage especially on meeting the criteria of clearance factor of more
than 1.5 and the sigma value was set to 2.445 as per the operating company’s requirement. The formula for calculating the
clearance factor ratio is:

!"#$%&'( !"#$""% !"#$%"&
!!"#$%&'( !"#$""% !"#$%"& ! !"#$%&'( !"#$""% !""#$%&#'% ! !"#$%&'( !"#$%& ! !"#$ !"#$$!

Actual survey and planned trajectories need to be updated in the database before commencing any close approach analysis.
The anti-collision scans were run against all wells with wellheads within 15km of the reference well or as per company’s
policy. In this analysis, numbers of iterations were made to come up with optimum wellbore trajectory including shifting the
targets after thorough discussions with the subsurface team to meet anti-collision criteria. All the EOR wells in Baronia field
were planned with clearance factor of more than 1.5 and anti-collision procedures were generated and must be adhered to by
the directional drillers offshore.

Dogleg severity (DLS) is defined as the change in the inclination, and/or azimuth of a borehole, usually expressed in degrees
per 100 feet of course length. In the metric system, it is usually expressed in degrees per 30 meters or degrees per 10 meters
of course length. There are various factors in determining the dogleg severity but the best practice is to keep it as mild as
possible. However, since the Baronia field is very congested, some of the wells have to be kept at certain dogleg severities to
avoid collision with proximity wells and this scenario is called anti-collision DLS. Excessive DLS will affect the other
measurements such as torque, drag, casing wear, buckling limit, drillstring sideforces, cyclic fatigue, hole cleaning efficiency,
casing running, and placement of completion tools.

Besides that, the severity of the mechanical loads imposed on drill string elements namely the torque and drag, tensile
strength reduction due to bending stress in doglegs need to be considered. The drill string experiences both torque and drag
since the drill pipe is in rotational as well as performs linear motion. Drag is the increase in string weight when pulling out of
the hole or the reduction in string weight while tripping in the hole while torque is the force required to turn the drill string.
More severe doglegs will cause higher torque and drag. Torque and drag simulation was performed to ensure the rig’s drill
pipes would not reach the buckling limit and tensile strength limit due to excessive compression and tension. Total value of
the hook load during pulling out of hole needs to be calculated and compared against the rig’s hoisting system.

Moreover, directional drilling hydraulics plays an important role in determining the drillability of a well for a successful
hole cleaning. Failure in hole cleaning can cause excessive overpull on trips, high rotary torque, stuck pipe, hole pack-off,
excessive equivalent circulating density (ECD), cuttings accumulation, formation breakdown, slow rate of penetration, and
difficulty running logs and casing. Therefore, it was important that the wells were simulated to ensure they met the hydraulics
requirements. It was desirable to avoid planning wells with a tangent section within the critical hole inclination range,
between 45° to 65°. There were instances that the critical range for hole cleaning was unable to be avoided, the tangent
section was planned as short as possible instead. The flow rates were also selected for good hole cleaning for each hole
OTC-23839-MS 3

sections for example 1000-1200 gallons per minute for 17-1/2” and 12-1/4” hole sections. Execution of the hydraulics
analysis took into account the rig’s capability in terms of the mud pump efficiency. It was ensured that the total stand pipe
pressure was limited to the rig’s liner pump’s availability and the total pressure loss to provide hydraulics energy to
downhole tools were below the pop-off pressure.

All these criteria were optimized to come up with the most feasible and cost efficient well designs, which supported by the
available technology in the market as well as the rig’s capability.

Initial Scenario: Two New WHPs. At the initial stage of the project, the EOR wells were planned from two new wellhead
platforms (WHPs), BNIT-A and BNIT-B, to intercept all geological targets given (Fig. 3). A 3D view of the 25 EOR wells
from BNIT-A and BNIT-B is shown in Fig. 4.
Initially, there were 25 wells planned to be drilled from WHPs BNIT-A and BNIT-B, to consist of the following:
• Oil producer: 11 wells.
• Gas producer: 7 wells.
• Water injector: 6 wells.
• Gas injector: 1 well.

Although major collision problems were experienced within the proximity wells of this congested Baronia field, after
several surface nudging iterations, effective slots designation, and proper planning, all the wells from these two platforms
were achievable and the total measured depth (MD) was 227,527.11 ft. Further evaluation with respect to a drillability check
(torque and drag, hydraulics, casing, and cementing design) confirmed the feasibility.

Optimized Scenario 1: One New WHP and Use of Four Spare Conductor Slots from Existing Platform. The new single
WHP, BNIT-A, was placed in one optimized location, which was 2000 ft away. The optimization of the location of BNIT-A
was performed on one centralized platform based on placement of horizontal drainage; the two outermost horizontal drainage
alignments emphasized two wells to be two-dimensional (2D), while the rest of the horizontal wells were to be mid to quite
severe three-dimensional (3D) horizontal profiles. Based on a 2000-ft radius to obtain a maximum of 3°/100 ft dogleg for the
horizontal wells, the optimized platform coordinates for BNIT-A were selected.
The outer conductors’ well designation was performed effectively to kick off below the shoes at 600 ft MD at 2.3°/100 ft
along specific gyro azimuth to disperse the bottomhole location outside the platform to avoid collision.
With respect to the inner conductors’ well designation, the planning was performed by true vertical depth (TVD)
separation kicking off at different TVD depths to avoid collision. It is imperative to kick off the inner slot wells at the
shallowest depth first, and then progress to the deepest kickoff for the best option of well dispersion of the outside platform
(Fig. 5).
Additionally, full use of four spare conductor slots and two wells sidetracking from the existing BNDP-J platform was
achieved at this stage. Six wells for targets located southwest of the field were replanned from BNDP-J to replace the
eliminated BNIT-B WHP (Fig. 6).

Summary and Findings. Because of more stringent constraints of directional planning, this exercise triggered several
iterations of optimization cycles between drilling and reservoir engineering, in which “well creaming” was performed
thoroughly to eliminate the low economic value wells. In addition, horizontal targets were realigned to simplify the well
profile. Five wells were dropped from the initial plan of 25 wells with a very minimum impact on reserves, and hence
improved the overall project economic tremendously.
All of the wells again were proven to be achievable with a total MD of 187,658.50 ft. The optimized location and the use
of the spare conductor slots as well as the well creaming exercise saved the total footage by 39,868.61 ft; this is a massive
savings with respect to drilling (Fig. 7). The most significant outcome from this, however, was the ability to reduce the
number of new WHPs to a single new WHP, hence a significant reduction to facilities costs. This has potentially saved the
overall project (Project CAPEX) approximately USD 250 million at the conceptual stage.

Optimized Scenario 2: One New WHP at Bridge Linking Location to Existing Platform BNDP-I. Further optimization
work was undertaken to achieve greater cost savings for the project. The idea was to place the new platform at a site, which is
300 ft from the existing complex, BNDP-I, to enable bridge linking (Fig. 8). No live wells were ensured underneath the
proposed location within a safe radius of 150 ft and the wells were set to kick off deeper, alleviating collision risk.

4 OTC-24839-MS

At this stage, there were 20 wells planned to be drilled from platforms BNIT-A and BNDP-J, to consist of the following:
• Oil producer: 5 wells.
• Gas producer: 7 wells.
• Water injector: 7 wells.
• Gas injector: 1 well.

Summary and Findings. This bridging of the platform enabled the operating company to share platform facilities, such as
personnel living quarters, and achieve significant cost reduction on pipelines, which greatly contributed to lowering the
budget of the overall project (Project CAPEX) as well as future projects (Project OPEX) (Fig. 9). The total footage to be
drilled from this location was 184,035.90 ft. This, again, further shortened the total MD by 3622.63 ft. Additionally,
significant reduction to project costs of USD 63 million was achieved through this optimization process.

Optimized Scenario 3: Hybrid Platform Design with Splitter Wells at Four Corners. A more optimized platform design
was created to incorporate a 36-in. dual splitter system, with 2 ! 13 3/8-in. surface casing, to be deployed with no restriction
with regard to the surface casing deviation and kickoff depth (Fig. 10). The selection of wells for splitters was the first
kickoff below the conductor shoes for wells with higher dogleg and complexity. The second kickoff was by 200 ft TVD
separation. Surface dispersion of wells to be collision-free was important. Therefore, nudging of all wells for the best
possible kickoff position was imperative.

Summary and Findings. With this hybrid platform design, less conductors were necessary to be installed while retaining
the number of wells. This significantly reduced time and cost for conductor installation. Additionally, it left less platform
footprint, which enabled the use of a jackup rig instead of a tender assisted rig; hence, a lighter platform could be designed.
The platform was then renamed BNDP-K.

The success achieved for this EOR project at the conceptual well planning stage was largely contributed to a synergy of
collaboration between all parties involved. Early engagement and technical input from specialized service providers from
conceptual planning was vital to put the project on the correct path during the beginning stage.
The optimized outcome was also a clear example of effective interdisciplinary teamwork between sections within the
project team, such as drilling, subsurface and surface facilities, for agreement on the best tradeoffs between tapping the
maximum hydrocarbon reserves and the “drillability” of the options based on sound engineering considerations. This work
involved navigating through a considerable iterative process to optimize well planning that eventually led to the best
optimized case with a bridge link to a single WHP option (Fig. 11).
In terms of economic savings associated with these solutions, the reduction to the number of new WHPs from two
platforms to one central platform as well as enabling a bridge link option demonstrated huge savings to the overall project
(Project CAPEX); an estimated value of approximately USD 315 million was saved compared to the original base case
scenario (Fig. 12).
In addition to all of the risk factors being reduced with all these solutions in place, the net benefits to the operating
company have been positive in terms of financial (CAPEX and OPEX) as well as intangible risk reduction benefits. The
collaboration between different parties with a single common objective for an economically efficient solution will be the way
forward to achieve such success in the future.

The authors thank the management of Petroliam National Berhad (PETRONAS), PETRONAS Carigali Sdn. Bhd. (PCSB),
and Halliburton for support and permission to publish this paper.

Pratap, M., Ibrahim, Z.B., and Karim, M.G. 2000. Reservoir Simulation Study of Baronia Field, Offshore Sarawak, Malaysia Indicates
Higher Reserves and OIIP. Paper SPE 64442 presented at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, Brisbane,
Australia, 16–18 October. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/64442-MS.
Jadid, M. and Mustapah, M.F. 2007. A Performance Review of 14 Horizontal Wells in Baronia Field After 12 Years of Production. Paper
SPE 107630 presented at the SPE Latin American & Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 15–18
April. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/107630-MS.

OTC-23839-MS 5

EOR : Enhanced oil recovery
WHP : Wellhead platform
TVD : True vertical depth
TVDSS : True vertical depth subsea
CAPEX : Capital expenditure
OPEX : Operational expenditure
ft : feet
in : inch
DF : Derrick floor
DLS : Dogleg Severity

Fig. 1—Location Map of Baronia field.

6 OTC-24839-MS

Fig. 2—Baronia field spider plot shows four drilling platform (BNDP-A, BNDP-B, BNDP-I, and BNDP-J) and five jackets (BNJT-C,

OTC-23839-MS 7

Fig. 3—Spider plot shows 25 EOR wells planned from two WHPs, BNIT-A and BNIT-B.

Fig. 4—3D view of 25 EOR wells planned from BNIT-A and BNIT-B.
8 OTC-24839-MS

Fig. 5—BNIT-A conductor plot shows surface separation by proper nudging at specific gyro azimuth for all the wells.

Fig. 6—BNDP-J conductor plot shows four wells are planned from four spare slots (marked in red) and two wells are sidetracking
OTC-23839-MS 9

from existing wells.

Fig. 7—Spider plot shows 14 wells are planned from an optimized location of BNIT-A, and six wells are planned from existing
platform, BNDP-J.

10 OTC-24839-MS

Fig. 8—Plan view shows the shifting of the platform 2700 ft east-south (ES) for bridgelinking with BNDP-I.

Fig. 9—Spider plot shows all 20 EOR wells planned in the Baronia field from BNDP-J and BNIT-A.
OTC-23839-MS 11

Fig. 10—Comparison of the previous platform and splitter wellhead platform design.

Fig. 11—EOR project flow chart.

12 OTC-24839-MS

Fig. 12—Total reduction of Project CAPEX.