Boosting efficiencies for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with streamlined time and cost estimation

One of the major energy suppliers in the USA is presently overseeing numerous deepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

Drilling engineering software iQx plays a central role in aiding the Operator’s Drilling & Wells team to enhance efficiency in well planning and streamline drilling time and cost estimation for ongoing well projects.

We sat down to talk with the GoM Operator why they chose iQx PLANS for drilling cost estimation and to explore the value they’re experiencing with the iQx drilling software in their well delivery. 


How was drilling time and cost estimation managed prior to switching to PLANS?

Our well time and cost estimation process was largely managed through an advanced spreadsheet. The resulting data stemmed from individual engineers who used different starting points for duration and cost assumptions.  This process drove engineers to work in silos which resulted in a lack of consistency as well as a blind spots when those people left the organisation. 

The turning point? The revelation of the disparity between estimated and actual costs when comparing what we anticipated the operation would cost to the actual expenditures. Despite the rig performing well, inconsistencies emerged.

After implementing drilling engineering software PLANS and transitioning to a more standardized time and cost estimation approach, where data insertion format was predefined to the needs of our operational team, the accuracy in time and cost estimation during well planning improved significantly. Finally, the estimated vs. actual time and cost curves aligned closely.

Which functionalities do you like especially in PLANS? 

The flexibility to refine data from historical well operations for new well planning has been very useful for delivering successful drilling operations. The software makes it very easy to compare the plan with actual results; this data can then be used to refine future projects so that we are constantly improving. 

PLANS enables to efficiently plan new wells based on the previous ones. We can easily leverage repetitive vendor processes or cherry-pick elements - this saves time. Moreover, the capability to compare estimated versus actuals at the conclusion of prior operations, while planning a new well, aids in making adjustments for future endeavours. 

How has PLANS changed/improved the drilling time and cost estimation process at your Gulf of Mexico D&W teams?

The introduction of PLANS software coincided with the restructuring of our internal well planning process, streamlining the identification of required inputs from various functions to compile time and cost estimates. Standardization became more achievable, resulting in the gratifying realisation of closely aligned estimated and actual curves in real-life scenarios.

Since Q4/2022, all Gulf of Mexico operations managed and operated so far, spanning offshore drilling exploration, production, workover, intervention, and completion, have been planned using P1/PLANS.

The engineer's burden of handling cost estimates and seeking out costs was alleviated, allowing them to focus more on engineering tasks.


Boosting efficiencies for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with streamlined time and cost estimation


- Enhanced Accuracy: PLANS/P1, and an aligned time and cost creation process, significantly improved time and cost estimation accuracy.

- Operational Flexibility: Minimal effort required to plan new wells, leveraging successes from previous time and cost models

- Sustainability Focus: Compare estimated vs. actuals to make adjustments, enhancing performance and results in this space.

- Empowerment: PLANS liberated engineers from the burden of cost guessing, allowing them to channel their focus on engineering tasks.


Try PLANS? Contact our Sales team.