Automatic Well Planning and Design Using Integrated Cloud Software

October 05, 2022

Automating Well Design and Planning

Drilling engineers perform well planning and design in multiple applications, requiring them to move the data inputs and resulting outputs from one place to another manually. This process is inefficient and introduce a potential for human errors. With the traditional style of working, when changing assumptions or input data the well planning tasks must be reworked.

For more than seven years Oliasoft has developed a cloud-based application for well planning and design integrating all required well design computations with the aim to reduce the time spent per iteration on well design, reduce sources of errors, automate mundane planning tasks, and optimize the final design.

Today, Oliasoft WellDesign is a fully fledged well design platform that can be operated remotely by machine-to-machine communication and couple with any 3rd party application or computer system through open API connections. 

Demonstration of an automated workflow within Oliasoft  WellDesign

In this article, an automated workflow within Oliasoft  WellDesign will be demonstrated using anonymous dummy data from a larger oil company. This was part of a proof of concept (PoC) project with the following success criteria:

1) Notable time savings (> 30 %) in the design process compared to the existing process

2) Intuitive and circular workflow between modules including blowout & kill simulations

3) Demonstration of automated well design

4) Compatible to integrate with the existing well delivery workflow at the company

The automatic Well Trajectory Workflow

In this workflow, the software algorithm will automatically generate the shortest directional trajectory to a pre-defined geological target within the given design limits (depth of kick-off, and max. allowed dog leg severity). The directional planning method applied in the software algorithm is “Optimum alignment”.

To demonstrate this automatic trajectory workflow, we are going to use the following example of a hypothetical field development plan:

  • Ten (10) geological target pairs, each pair with an entry target and a final Target at TD
  • All wells start from the same surface location (a template or drilling platform)

With a click on the mouse, Oliasoft WellDesign will automatically generate the well trajectories from the given template surface location. The Oliaosft WellDesign software can run hundreds of iterations on well design alternatives to optimize the surface location while hitting all geological targets with the shortest possible well trajectories. After refining the surface location the software algorithm will re-calculate well trajectories. In this example, there is close to a 30 % reduction in the combined total drilling length (MD) of the 10 wells. An in-app video of the procedure can be found below:


Automatic Casing Design Workflow

This workflow allows for automatic casing and tubing design based on a pre-defined “Rule Set” which includes the criteria for selecting casing setting depth, casing design loads calculations (Burst, Collapse, and Axial Loads), Design Factors, and tubular availability (string priority).

A “Rule Set” can be created for a specific field (geographical area) or well architecture (large-bore, reduced-bore, lean profile, etc). Then, any user can call the “Rule Set” from the software library to apply it to any design project, and the software will automatically execute full casing design, generate resulting charts and tables, and calculate the safety factors.

Once the automatic casing design is selected, the “Rule Set” tab appears and the desired rule set is chosen from the software library, and a validation view of the chosen rule set is requested. Then, at a mere click of a mouse, the software will automatically choose the casing setting depths, mud weights, and calculate kick tolerances. Subsequently it will simulate the casing loads for the different pipes' weights and grades, and calculate the final safety factors. The in-app video below shows inspecting the rule set before selecting, adjusting,  and running it. The results show which string options fall within the criteria for safety factors, and after the design choice is made the kick tolerance and other results are inspected.


Improved Workflow

The table below compares relevant workflow processes between the traditional legacy software with separated workflows and the modern integrated cloud application used in the mentioned proof of concept project.


Workflow Legacy software Integrated cloud software


Collection of input data (G&G, PPFG reservoir, targets, lithology etc.)

Manual input after export from G&G/Reservoir software (Excel, text,..) Open API communication enables seamless data import from other software and databases


Drillability study (Iterate multiple surface locations, trajectories, and designs)

Drilling engineers design each well trajectory separately, and iterate designs many times with different template surface location positions

Automated well trajectories and optimized selection of surface location based on rule set criteria (MD, TVD, DLS, etc.) 


Casing & Tubing Design

Manual casing design in stand-alone software and calculators. Seperate software for casing design and temperature simulations (tubing) Automated casing design based on rule set criteria (MD/TVD, PPFG, material specification, load calculations, safety factors etc.)


Wellbore engineering, drilling mechanics. Torque & drag, hydraulics, surge & swab) Calculators and simulators in seperate software All calculations and simulations integrated in the same software


Blowout and kill simulations Not available Stochastic blowout and dynamic kill (PVT support and transient multi-phase flow simulations) integrated in the software


Carbon, capture and storage (CCS/CCUS) Not available Ability to simulate  CO2 injection wells


User experience Classic desktop software interface, old design choices often requiring experienced user to use all the functionality. Local installation (on server or computer) of all the different software packages required  Web browser based and user friendly interface. Intuitive and circular workflow between design modules. No installation required and all modules, calculators and simulators available in one single interface


Work time in software Between one and two weeks to perform a full well design Potential savings measured at           60-80 % on time spent in the software. A full design can be performed in less than a day


The proof of concept project was performed with dummy data using Oliasoft WellDesign built upon JavaScript, React, and nodeJS running on MS Azure cloud services. Our drilling engineering teams used the software for well engineering design applications across trajectory planning, anti-collision analysis, borehole surveying, casing design, torque and drag, hydraulics, and tubular design.

The following observations were made:

  • All calculations are automatically updated upon changing subsurface data
  • Cost savings by performing blowout and kill calculations as an integrated part of the calculation chain
  • Integration & connectivity with other applications through Application Programming Interfaces (APls)
  • The capability of CO2 injection wells simulations

The following improvement opportunities were highlighted to be added in the future:

  • A coordinate reference system can be made specific to any geographical region
  • Option to swap surface location coordinates with landing point or TD
  • Options to limit the area for surface location coordinates selection in automated trajectories workflow
  • Option for anti-collision scanning radius and filter offset wells by a distance range

The software provides novel and differential value through the following:

  • CO2 injection simulations
  • Integration & connectivity with other applications through Application Programming Interfaces (API's)
  • Automated trajectory design for multiple wells and optimum surface location selection
  • Capability for automated "rule-based" casing design
  • Potential saving of 60-80 % of the work time in the software
  • The first iteration well design performed in minutes instead of hours

Overall, the objectives and success criteria for the project were met and a recommendation to proceed to a full-scale technology piloting agreement using company data.

Read the abstract of our SPE Paper "1-Click Automatic Well Design Using Integrated Cloud Software" presented at OTC in May 2022, which deals with a similar case.