Project Portfolio – Oil Production Problem

Canadian Occidental Petroleum 1999


The first well in a highly prospective new field was producing 2 bbl. [spell out] of water for every bbl. of oil, making the well, and possibly the field, uneconomic. The water production could have many causes: incorrect logging of the drill stem, severe coning of the hole, formation damage, collapse of the lateral section(s), oil / water contact higher than expected, others. Identification of the real cause of the problem was essential in determining whether to drill more wells in this field, but there was no agreement on what the problem was, on the cause, or on how to move forward.

Fall Line’s Role

CanOxy assembled a team of eight experts in geology, reservoir and production with knowledge of the field in question, directional drilling, and well bore problems. Fall Line Systems guided the expert participants through a structured problem-solving process. We jointly built a precise definition of the problem, compared this to other similar wells, identified potential causes, selected the most likely causes and designed tests to definitively establish the real cause of the problem. In less than a day the group committed to a clear plan for moving ahead.


Within a day the team had identified the two most likely causes of the problem and inexpensive tests to determine the real cause. Within a month the tests were completed, leading to revision of the geological models for the field. Further development of the field in question was postponed.