Engage Management

Project Success Stories

Alaska TL Success

by Scott Ratchinsky

Originally appeared in
The Journal of Petroleum Technology
April 2003


The North Slope of Alaska poses many unique challenges that come with operating in a severe and harsh climate. In this difficult environment, the advantages of coiled-tubing drilling (CTD) are leveraged toward sidetrack/re-completes, instead of rotary drilling, because it is intrinsically quicker. BP Alaska employed a variation of the Technical Limits concept to streamline operations. The use of CTD thoroughly tested the integrity of the performance program, but the BP Alaska leadership team was able to increase its focus on operational safety plan more projects within a set time frame, gain efficiency in operational tasks, and achieve tangible and measurable dollar improvements.

Lessons Learned System

Another important aspect is the gathering and processing of lessons. Closure of a lesson is generally defined as validation that a document, procedure, or rig-specific item has been changed. The Lessons Learned database maintains a good closed/pending ratio indicating a high level of activity and involvement moving lessons learned into rig operations. Lessons are realized from operation to operation.

Once lessons are considered closed or rejected. both verbal and other forms of feedback are communicated back to the original crews to ensure that the lessons loop is closed. It is important that the crews see and understand that their ideas have been considered and acted upon.

Operational Learning

Doing things differently more effectively or more efficiently are also areas that should be measured. The true success of the implementation strategy is based on the determination of overall operational performance over a period of time. Fig. 4 is an example from our scorecard of operational performance in specific areas. The critical component is to define explicitly the start and stop points of each operation within the critical path that will drive overall performance improvement.


BP Alaska implemented the Technical limits process to create awareness and support of target goals, measurement techniques, workforce involvement, and employee recognition. They created a new company position, Performance Coach, to coordinate the process. This has proven effective both in implementing the process and creating important employee ownership of change. The process proved that the human element can be as significant as any technological innovation in improving drilling performance. Through lessons learned and detailed planning, the value of people can be unlocked to deliver extraordinary, continuous, and sustainable results.


1. Bond, D.F. et al.: “Step Change Improvement and High Rate Learning are Delivered by Targeting Technical Limits on Sub-Sea Wells,” SPE 35077 presented at the 1996 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, New Orleans, 12-15 March 1996.

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