Trey Cowan, Senior Analyst, Enverus Drillinginfo, Oct. 18, 2019
The release-to-completion time is the number of days between a rig leaving a wellsite to when the well is hydraulically stimulated. Using this number to gauge an oilfield service region’s efficiency can get a little tricky.
For instance, the Permian, which is host to nearly half of all land drilling activity, would be a good candidate for improving efficiency metrics considering the industry’s focus here. But average release-to-completion times were greater at the end of 2018 than they were two years ago. We can think of a couple of reasons why the metric does not coincide with our expectations.
First, the number of wells per pad is increasing in the Permian. Completion efforts do not begin until all drilling efforts cease. With more wells per pad on average, this variable can push the metric higher. Second, the intensity of well completions has expanded over time.
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Additional complexities like higher pressure, higher proppant and water volumes, and greater lateral depths can all add to the time involved to complete a well. Currently, it is nearly a four-month lag between rig release and well completion in the Permian. Keep this in mind when evaluating the rising drilled, but uncompleted, well counts, as there are some structural elements that should continue to push this number higher regardless of operators’ short-term decisions.