Basic Drilling, Completions and Workover Operations

This program will be delivered virtually through PetroAcademy™ providing participants with the knowledge they need at their convenience. All learning activities are self-paced and can be completed at any time. PetroAcademy™ FAQ


LEVEL: Basic

DURATION: Approximately 40 hours of self-paced work


DESIGNED FOR:  Technical, field, service, support, and supervisory personnel desiring to gain an awareness of wellbore operations. Excellent for cross-training of other technical disciplines such as reservoir and facility engineers, geoscientists, supervisors, service personnel, and anyone who interacts with drilling, completion or workover engineers.

ABOUT THIS COURSE: This course presents the basics of drilling and completion operations, plus post-completion enhancement (workovers). Participants will learn to visualize what is happening downhole, discover what can be accomplished, and learn how drilling and completion can alter reservoir performance. Learn to communicate with drilling and production personnel.

This course is comprised of the following skill modules (approx. 3 hours each)


This module is appropriate for those who need to achieve a context and understanding of E&P technologies, or the role of technical departments in oil and gas operations, and/or be able to understand and use the language of the oilfield.



  • The advantages and disadvantages of early and modern types of drilling styles
  • Rig type classification and selection for onshore and offshore drilling
  • Types of platforms and techniques used for offshore rigs
  • The purpose and function of non-vertical drilling, including directional and horizontal drilling
  • The components of a drilling system
  • The components of a drilling rig
  • The drilling systems of a rig
  • The purpose and function of the rotating system
  • Drilling fluid properties and function
  •  Purpose and function of blowout preventers
  • Purpose of casing and cementing
  • Purpose and function of the wellhead
  • Overview of different types of well completions
  • Formation damage
  • Methods of well perforation
  • Sand production problems and control strategies in reservoirs
  • Common well stimulation strategies

This module provides an overview of how various well objectives contribute to the understanding of the asset. Key stakeholders and the activities that impact the well plan are discussed. Also explained in this module are why well objectives change over the life of the asset and the commonly used key performance metrics for the drilling discipline.




  • Identify stakeholders in an effort to define well objectives
  • Explain how various well objectives contribute to understanding of the asset
  • Identify activities focused on achieving well objectives and how they may impact the well plan
  • Explain why well objectives change over the life of the asset
  • Identify commonly employed performance metrics for the drilling discipline


This module addresses roller cone and fixed cutter bit design features and their associated hydraulics programs at a core level.




  • Identify design features and selection criteria for roller cone bit types
  • Explain failure modes for roller cone bits and how this information can be used to improve performance
  • Identify design features and selection criteria for fixed cutter bit types
  • Explain failure modes for fixed cutter bits and how this information can be used to improve performance
  • Explain tool system options which allow wellbore enlargement to a diameter greater than the internal drift diameter of a previously installed casing string
  • Discuss situations where this may be required
  • Explain rotary coring bit options
  • Explain the relationship between cost per foot of a bit run and the cost of a bit, its rate of penetration, footage drilled, and the cost of the drilling operation
  • Determine optimum time to pull a used bit based upon its cost per foot trend
  • Balance competing objectives for the drilling hydraulics system
  • Maintain ECD below fracture pressure of open hole
  • Select nozzle sizes for adequate bit hydraulics
  • Maintain operating pressure and total pump power demands within rig capabilities

This module explains the various drill string components and their purpose. The module also explains the performance properties of drill strings, how to diagnose drill string mechanisms and steps to prevent drill string failures.




  • Identify drill string components and their suppliers
  • Explain the purposes of the various drill string components
  • Determine drill string performance properties
  • Diagnose drill string mechanisms
  • Identify steps to prevent drill string failures

Drilling fluids impact all aspects of the drilling operation, including drilling the formations, maintaining a clean and stable wellbore, gathering data from the wellbore, and maximizing productivity of the hydrocarbon resource. Proper selection of a drilling fluid can allow optimum performance in each of these areas. Fluid processing solids control allows cost-effective maintenance of fluid properties. This module addresses these topics at a core level.




  • Identify functions of drilling fluids
  • Explain fluid types and their selection criteria
  • Identify fluid properties, how they are measured, and additives used to control them
  • Explain benefits of solids control, solids control equipment function, and system configuration

Directional drilling may be considered the "intentional, controlled deflection of a wellbore to intersect pre-determined targets." In the early days when wooden derricks were erected so close that they touched each other, wellbores that were believed to be vertical occasionally intersected nearby wellbores, proving that the wells were in fact deviating from vertical. This was not directional drilling because this behavior was neither intentional nor controlled. Modern directional drilling is based on an understanding of the reservoir and how the wellbore should be constructed for its proper placement in the reservoir for optimum productivity.




  • Describe the objectives of directional drilling
  • Recognize trajectory design options and selection criteria for given surface and downhole requirements
  • Clarify trajectory measurement and wellbore position calculation techniques and limitations

Casing is pipe that goes into the wellbore and stays in the well because the outside of the casing is cemented to the earth which provides wellbore integrity. In other words, casing’s primary purpose is to keep the wellbore from caving in or fracturing, to keep unwanted fluids from entering the wellbore, and to keep the desired fluids (hydrocarbons) from leaving the borehole at undesirable places.


In this module, you will study five topics:

  • The Drilling Process: This topic introduces the process of drilling an oil well, showing how casing, mud, and cement are used
  • API/ISO Standards: This topic overviews the naming conventions for casing. It explains how to identify casing by its properties
  • The Casing Manufacturing Processes: This topic introduces the two major methods of making casing, Seamless and Electric Resistance Weld (ERW). It explains the processes by which both types of casing are made, from generating the steel to the formation of the finished casing products
  • Casing Properties and Dimensions: This topic provides an in-depth explanation of each casing property. It describes, in detail, each dimension listed in the API/ISO naming convention
  • Casing Strings: This topic overviews the four casing strings—conductor, surface, intermediate, and production—and how these casing strings work together in an oil field well




  • Describe the purpose of casing in an oilfield well
  • State how joints of casing are connected together
  • Recognize the steps in the process for drilling and cementing casing in an oil/gas well
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the API/ISO casing naming convention
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to casing produced with seamless and ERW properties
  • Identify casing descriptions and dimensions and, when appropriate, describe the correlation between them
  • Identify where the four different casing applications are in a wellbore schematic

This module presents an overview of the planning and execution required to achieve the quality primary cementing of well casing strings to successfully isolate a wellbore’s geological column, including the well’s productive zone(s). Equipment and cement displacement practices are illustrated and described as well as methods to assess the resultant cement sheath surrounding casing following a cementing job. Preliminary lab work to formulate primary cement blends is described. And, various methods are presented in the remedial repair of poorly cemented zones which can lead to life of the well production problems. Several different cement squeeze techniques are explained and recommended practices are described.




  • The manufacturing processes to blend composite materials that make up oilfield cement
  • The various uses of additives to modify cement properties
  • The cementing tools at the surface and downhole and the related cement displacement process to achieve a quality primary cement job to isolate a casing string
  • The casing cement evaluation tools and methods to assess cement job quality
  • The various practices that comprise options to attempt repair of primary cementing jobs that are referred to as cement squeeze operations
  • How to calculate typical casing string cement volume requirements
  • How to evaluate a cement bond log and make recommendations


This module describes the major tools, techniques, and processes for completing wells in conventional situations.


YOU WILL LEARN (for conventional plays in onshore situations)

  • The purpose and basic operational aspects of wellhead, flow control equipment, and the major components used in a basic well completion in conventional plays
  • The impact that drilling practices may have on reservoir productivity
  • Specify the production target of a well, and describe the type of completion or workover design components required to achieve the target
  • Describe the basic properties and function of tubing
  • Describe which fluid systems are the most important for implementing successful completions and workovers in wells in conventional plays
  • Describe the most common equipment components used in conventional wells and what they are used for
  • Describe the most relevant steps for implementing completion procedures in wells in conventional resources plays and the proper interaction with all parties involved required
  • Describe the most relevant aspects of HSE in completion operations
  • Describe how a well flows, the impact of well control on fluid flow, and the most common control and monitoring devices
  • Describe the basic requirements to abandon conventional wells
  • Specify the production target of a horizontal well, and describe how this differs from a typical vertical well.

The reality is that the industry began fracking conventional gas wells in 1947 in the Hugoton Field in southwest Kansas. What is relatively new is the technology and tools which allow us to place multiple hydraulic fracture stimulations along a single lateral in a horizontally drilled unconventional well.


The hydraulic fracturing course covers basic rock mechanics, stimulation design considerations, and optimum fracture length at the core level. It covers both fracture acidizing and propped hydraulic stimulations. It reviews propped hydraulic fracturing for both the conventional sandstone reservoirs and unconventional shale reservoirs and explains why the techniques are different.




  • Describe the significance of rock mechanics in all relevant production engineering operations
  • Describe the most common non-chemical stimulation methods, their objectives and limitations in conventional resources plays
  • Describe the most common non-chemical stimulation methods, their objectives and limitations in unconventional resources plays
  • Describe the basic principles of hydraulic fracturing in conventional plays, the difference between acid and proppant treatments, and how to select optimum stimulation candidates
  • Describe the basic principles of hydraulic fracturing in unconventional resource plays, the difference between slickwater and cross-linked treatments, and how to select optimum stimulation candidates

This module clarifies from the outset that an unexpected loss of production following initial completion or a well intervention job is not always due to the same set of circumstances. Production not achieved when placing a new well on production may be a result of the original depositional environment that occurred. Or, it may be a result of drilling damage, dirty completion fluids or other phenomena that the engineer must properly identify to correct the production shortfall anomaly, if possible. Matrix acidizing chemistry is explained and the different steps taken when acidizing a limestone compared to a sandstone are explained. Related acidizing topics like diverting agents and their function, corrosion inhibitors, and well acidizing candidate selection are addressed.




  • The basic causes of oilfield formation damage and how they are recognized
  • The concept of “True Formation Damage” and the principles of formation remediation once it has been correctly identified as being the cause of lost production
  • How “pseudo” damage and differs from True Formation Damage
  • The principles of limestone matrix acidizing and the chemistry and reactions involved
  • The principles of sandstone matrix acidizing and the chemistry and reactions involved
  • Formation damage identification and the positive results achieved by successfully conducting matrix acidizing jobs

This module illustrates various causes of sand production and its related effect upon producing systems. Alternatives that range from simply tolerating minimal sand production volumes to complex downhole and surface equipment and practices to mitigate the negative effects of sand production are presented. Basic gravel pack design is discussed and a design problem is presented. Expandable sand screens are illustrated.




  • Identify the need for sand control
  • Recognize the causes of sand movement
  • Define what consolidated sand is, and what it is not
  • Identify both non-mechanical and mechanical methods of sand control
  • Recognize that rate restriction is a valid practice to manage sand production
  • Recognize that minor sand volume produced may be tolerated
  • Identify various screen types for sand control
  • Outline aspects of pre-packed screens for sand control
  • Describe the principles of sand control screen and gravel completions
  • Identify the three steps comprising a gravel pack completion design
  • Describe various fluid options for pumping gravel slurry into a gravel pack completion
  • Outline the function of a gravel pack “crossover tool”
  • Outline the function of a gravel pack “shunt tube”
  • Describe the function of a frac pack completion
  • Outline the frac pack completion well performance results
  • Outline the function of an expandable sand screen completion
  • Identify the components of an expandable screen and possible benefits resulting from the use of expandables

This module describes the operating capabilities of the main types of intervention techniques, including bullheading, slickline, electric line, coiled tubing, hydraulic workover units, and workover rigs. The general relative costs of each type of method will be discussed as well as the main operational abilities of circulating, rotating, pushing/pulling, and entering a "live" well.




  • Describe the main components of slickline, braided wireline, electric line, conventional workover (completion), snubbing (hydraulic workover), and coiled tubing units
  • Compare the critical operational benefit and/or constraints of each of these methods


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