Hank is a recognized industry expert in the design and deployment of cementing casing equipment. With 65 patents granted, 20 more pending, and the author of more than 50 technical papers, Hank brings years of experience and unmatched credibility to the Citadel leadership team.
Down Range Fundamentals – Where to Begin
As a seasoned (i.e. old) oilfield professional with a heavy background in product development related to well construction and abandonment, I have had a few encounters that made me scratch my head. Whether deploying a new product or working through an irregular job associated with a mainstay product, I have been faced with questions or reactions that make me think, “if only!” If only the person on the receiving end of my advice, explanation, or justification knew what I knew, they would understand. Though I would never presume to know everything by any means, I, more often than not, was intimately knowledgeable about the topic being discussed at that time.
As I start a new company this past year, I have been encouraged to share a few tidbits of information learned over the more than three decades of working in this industry. When considering sharing such insights, I wondered where to begin in introducing and sharing my experiences. Now here we are. Down Range Fundamentals is a series of short articles on specific topics of interest that might be informative to those working in the well-construction and/or abandonment phases of the oil industry. Before we get to useful fundamentals, let’s start with a deep dive into what Down Range Fundamentals mean to me.
Imagine a hunter looking for game or an outdoorsman shooting target practice, the term “Down Range” refers to a direction away from where one is standing. Focusing on target practice at a shooting range, Down Range is the area between the shooter and the target. Simply stated, the goal is to hit the target with every shot fired. However, spending any time at a range reveals that few people hit the bull’s eye every time as planned despite their best efforts. Given the same target, rifle, and range on any given day, some people will miss the target while others will hit the target. Is this due to a lack of experience? Possibly. Is it because the gun, ammo or target perform differently under varying conditions? Do those who hit the target know something those who miss the target don’t? Maybe how to account for wind, humidity, gravity, ammunition/load, etc. On a calm day, a skilled shooter will aim at a different point than he would on a windy day even when shooting the same target at the same range. To a shooter, Down Range Fundamentals matter. Hitting the target matters. To become an expert, a shooter must understand his firearm, ammunition, range, target and all other aspects necessary to make the projectile hit the target. He must not focus exclusively on the target, rather, he must consider the ocean of air between himself and the target through which the bullet must travel. Only after the distance between is considered will the shooter achieve repeatable success.
Now, for a drilling engineer, drilling the hole is but the first major hurdle in successfully running and cementing the production string. Understanding the wellbore trajectory/hazards, downhole dynamics, and tools is essential to minimizing the risk of potential hazards associated with any operation performed below the rotary table. Down Range Fundamentals is a series on lessons learned over a lifetime of experience. In this series, I will endeavor to convey some of these lessons in a short, clear, and concise way. The goal for this series is to give you a snap shot of “The Way I See It” on how to plan and execute any job.