Drilling operations are highly professional tasks requiring special expertise and skills. Therefore, Principal Investigators (PIs) typically contract service companies to plan and execute scientific drilling. Accordingly, the PIs have the duty to oversee all operations as well as to control schedules and budget. In several projects supported by ICDP, these PIs´ tasks have been either entrusted to independent drilling consultants or to the OSG engineers. They perform as technical and managerial advisors or ‘company men’ at the drilling site and are supported by additional external experts when needed. This system allows PIs to focus on oversight issues and information to stakeholders and scientific community. In order to describe the operational and engineering tasks, this chapter summarizes some key aspects of drilling engineering and operations execution.
Professional planning and drilling engineering need to be performed for all deep and complex drilling operations. Examples of complex planning and engineering are provided in the following paragraphs. The OSG can provide assistance for ICDP projects in drilling engineering. Experts and consultants in drilling engineering usually prepare the complete well planning using modern software packages. The software is organized in modules or components that describe the well life cycle and planning phases. These well planning software solutions are most often delivered as single, unified applications with integrated multiple software components. A description of the modules associated with the planning steps to plan a well is provided in the following paragraphs.