Hess Denmark Resolves Oil Well Challenges through Lean Processes
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Lean Processes Help Hess Denmark Resolve Oil Well Challenges at South Arne

Hess used lessons learned about hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken to improve drilling performance at South Arne field in the Danish North Sea.

It also relied on cross-team collaboration and the use of Lean — including the first kaizen in Denmark — to successfully adapt a completion system that had been from an onshore to offshore environment.

Specifically, Hess turned to a new completions technology: a ball drop, sliding sleeve activation system that allows for multiple frac stages to be isolated and simultaneously fractured.

The unique system allows operators to bring wells in tight formations on line much more quickly than other methods, resulting in cost savings and earlier production revenues.

The ball drop concept at South Arne was a game changer to the previous completions in the field. It also underscored the company's commitment to Lean during a complex redevelopment project called the Phase II expansion.

In 2010, Hess sanctioned a $1 billion (DKr 5 billion) project to maximize returns from the South Arne field, a mature asset that has been producing since 1999. This Phase III expansion — a northern extension of the field — it is expected to make the asset as much as 50 percent more productive.

The development includes drilling, completion and stimulation of 11 new wells (seven new producing wells supported by four water injection wells) in the tight chalk reservoir.

Hess, which has a 61.5 percent interest, operates the South Arne field in partnership with Dong (which has a 36.8 percent interest) and Danoil Exploration A/S (1.7 percent).

The Hess Denmark team used Lean to address challenges with transferring a technology from onshore use to offshore use. By relying on an eight-step problem-solving process, a critical element of Lean— Hess Denmark was able to develop and implement solutions with full alignment across the team.