Don graduated with a BS in engineering physics from Oklahoma University, and has 43 years of drilling and project experience, including 35 years internationally in South America, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Don is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Association of Service Contractors, and the American Association of Drilling Engineers. Over three years Don has provided Drilling Engineering consulting services for land and offshore drilling operations for 20 clients in the SE Asia area. He specializes in planning and execution of drilling, completion, workover, and abandonment of wells, as well as providing HSE services both in the planning and execution of the projects.
Don worked as the senior field engineer and specialist engineer for Schlumberger, where he was in charge of high pressure perforating, production logging, and cased hole logging services in Duncan, Oklahoma. During this time he serviced all of Andarako basin, Eastern Oklahoma, and Northern Texas. He pioneered repetitive pass TDT logging to increase the accuracy of monitoring of secondary recovery sweep efficiency, and originated the graphic interpretation technique to calculate gas volumes from temperature logs in flowing gas wells. He also introduced computerized acquisition of down-hole data to cased hole logging services. His time with Schlumberger lead him to work in many locations around the world, including: Trinidad, Surenco, Wisconsin, Peru, and New Orleans.
Don participated in a hands-on training program to increase his knowledge of the oil and gas industry, which involved working as a workover foreman and drilling foreman. As a workover foreman he supervised workover operations from company-owned workover rigs in offshore Kalimantan, Indonesia. These operations consisted of cleaning out oil wells with dual string multiple hydraulic packers, and treating zones for sand control with resin or completing with gravel packs. As a drilling foreman for Unocal in Thailand, he supervised offshore drilling operations for large gas developments. These wells were directional, with over-pressured gas and highly reactive shales.
Working in Colombia as the drilling manager for Unocal, Don established and managed the drilling of a 16,000 ft rank wildcat well. As this area was controlled by several Militant organizations operations were extremely dangerous and difficult. Don finished this project well within budget at $650/ft, and offset wells were running over $1000/ft. The drilling techniques used on this well were later used by Exxon to reduce their drilling cost for deep exploratory wells in their concession immediately to the north.
As the drilling manager for Unocal, in Egypt, Don managed the drilling of a 12,500 ft wildcat well offshore in the Gulf of Suez. This well was drilled along a huge fault, with the lower half of the well being limestone formations. Don was advised by the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) that similar wells had been attempted but had never been completed, due to the severe loss of circulation from the stress cracking of the limestone near the fault plane. To overcome this problem, Don implemented a floating mud cap drilling technique and open hole cement plugs. The well was successful, and was drilled within budget at $600/ft.
Don also worked on a team to develop Overall Development Plans (ODP’s) for new business ventures. Major projects included Caspian Sea Asperon Trend, East China Sea Xihu Trough Trend, Cambodia Palin Trough Development, Bangladesh upper plateau and Vietnam SE Gulf of Thailand Trend (Block B). Partly due to these efforts, Unocal secured an interest in the Caspian Sea development, Bangladesh, and the Vietnam Block “B” concession. Don then managed drilling, completion, workover, and well repair operations for Unocal in central California. Here he managed the drilling of 8 exploratory wells and 33 development wells, approved and monitored 220 workover operations, reduced drilling costs by 8%, and increased workover work by 100% with the same staff. He also managed the transfer of Unocal’s drilling work in all of California to Torch Energy after the sale of the company in late 1995. From there, he managed the drilling and completion of horizontal wells in Lake Maricaibo, Venezuela, and reduced the average overall cost by 28%.
Don went on to establish Harrods to perform exploratory drilling operations in the Gulf of Thailand, where he negotiated and implemented all contracts. With his company he drilled 22 directional exploratory wells averaging $96 USD/ft, and conducted 45 DST’s and plugged and abandoned all wells. The program was completed over a two year period in 240 days, at about 40% of budget time and at 34% of budget cost. He then put together a PAA and field development planfor Jasmine Field, that he then supervised and implemented. He was able to put Jasmine Field on production 14 months after commitment, ahead of plan and under budget. Following that success, he then put the PAA and field development plan together for Songkha and Bua Ban Fields, andset up the infrastructure while supervizing the logistics, facilities construction, and drilling activities. He also managed the construction of a wellhead and process platform, and established the MOPU concept currently being used. As a result of Don’s constant successes with production schedules and budget adherence, Harrods was named the most efficient company drilling in south-east Asia by Rushmore & Associates.
Don also worked as foreman on the Scan Queen Drillship (exploration drilling) and Glomar Tender III (development drilling), and as such supervised a team of support engineers for the Thailand development. He introduced many innovations during this time, including low toxic oil base mud, top drive rotary systems, PDC bits, MWD services, drilling top hole with sea water, turbodrills, straight hole mud motor drilling, casing size reduction, alloy tubing, and stab-thru multi-packer completions. These innovations reduced overall well cost by more than 60%. As a foreman for these companies he managed the drilling of over 200 exploratory and development wells offshore in the Gulf of Thailand, and supervised the workover and repair of 50 wells. He also reduced development drilling costs from $320/ft to $180/ft and exploratory drilling costs from $305/ft to $240/ft.
During his time as a drilling engineer he has introduced the simplified tie-back system, steerable drilling systems, incentive service contracts, bit-turn prediction programs, 3-D well bores, and a drilling efficiency tracking system. One of his his biggest challenges was setting up and managing the drilling of a 13,000 ft rank wildcat well on top of a 1500 ft mountain in the north-east corner of Syria. Air and foam drilling was used to install the protection strings to 5000 ft, but the lower rocks were very hard, drilling at 2 to 5 ft per hour using rotary bits. Diamond bits were then introduced to increase ROP to 10 ft/ht. Despite the trials of this well it was still drilled within budget at $700/ft. Another challenge was setting up and managing the drilling of 14,800 ft and 6,500 ft rank wildcat wells offshore Senegal, West Africa. The difficulties of these wells were logistic related, as there was no drilling infrastructure within 2,000 miles of Senegal. To combat this difficulty Don had to be carefully plan the well’s drilling in order to minimize the transport, storage and handling expense of materials. Don’s careful planning paid off, and the first well was drilled within budget at $707/ft.