Interview with Dave Charles, DCT Well Engineer

Meet Dave Charles, our new Well Engineer.  We recently created Dave’s ‘Well Engineer’ role to optimise client project performance, with Dave’s knowledge enabling the expert design, construction and maintenance of wells. 

 Armed with extensive well and Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) knowledge derived from 34 years working in the energy sector, Dave will collaborate with well teams onsite, leading technical delivery to ensure optimal emissions savings, time savings and cost efficiencies.


What attracted you to this role at Deep Casing Tools?

As an ERD Drilling Engineer, I had always been aware of Deep Casing Tools’ presence in the market, mostly because of its innovative TurboCaser and TurboRunner reaming shoes.

DCT is bringing new solutions across the well lifecycle to the wider energy industry to increase efficiencies when delivering all types of complex and ERD wells, and that makes DCT an exciting company to work for.  

I’m proud to now be a part of the team and work for a highly innovative company, supporting clients on well delivery performance.  


Name your top three career highlights.  

I can think of many highlights, but the three that stand out are from during my time at Baker Hughes and ADNOC.

As a Measurement While Drilling (MWD) Coordinator for Baker Hughes’ INTEQ division, I was part of a team supporting Conoco UK in the 1990s. During this time, Conoco's drilling performance was increasing year on year by successfully adopting and applying new technologies. In this role I supported many major operators based in the North Sea including Mobil, Texaco, Oryx and Kerr McGee. 

Two years later I progressed to become a Project Manager, and I supported Esso Deepwater developments in in Luanda, where we saw the successful application of the latest rotary steerable drilling systems delivering deep water wells offshore. 

In 2012, I became an ERD Drilling Engineer for ADNOC, delivering Maximum Reservoir Contact (MRC) wells on the upper Zakum Field. I was involved in this major project from design and execution to running lower completions, integrating my knowledge of drilling systems and geoscience to add value to this exciting project.

These career highlights were boosted by working with an incredibly talented team to successfully apply the industry’s latest technologies. In all three positions, I was fortunate to have been part of teams with exceptional leadership.


You’ve seen the ERD landscape evolve over the years – what are the challenges today? And what are the challenges you predict in the future?

The greatest challenges revolve around ensuring projects have resilience to unplanned events and the volatile oil market to stay profitable.

Each ERD well has its own challenges. Economic success is about having the right balance of operational best practices and engineering excellence, along with contracts and procurement securing the right people and equipment in a timely manner.

I expect volatility in markets to increase going forward ,and that increases the need for innovative up-front engineering solutions to help manage potential risks efficiently.


When drilling ERD wells and planning projects, what key considerations do operators need to take into account?

Upfront planning to identify, quantify and mitigate the challenges each hole section presents is key to success when drilling ERD wells.

It can be necessary to manage multiple geological or formation integrity challenges in a single hole section, often walking a fine line between borehole stability and taking losses.

Equipment and implementation of the right operational practices is critical to a project’s economic success.


Wells are becoming longer and more extensive to drill, making it harder than ever to reach target depth in complex wells with torque and drag issues. How can DCT’s technologies help operators overcome these obstacles?

Well integrity is highly important to all wells. Ensuring casing is set at the right depth and successfully cemented can be especially challenging for ERD wells, as casing strings become longer or well profiles become increasingly complex.

In addition, running complex lower completions to the right depth undamaged, with all packers in the right place in the reservoir, is critical for economic success.

DCT's TurboCaser and TurboRunner powered reamer shoes, and its MechLOK Drill Pipe Swivel are key to ensuring tubular running is problem-free. These tools have been specifically designed to help operators overcome complex well issues, whilst still reducing project time, cost and most importantly, carbon footprint.


What is your outlook on the industry’s current appetite for drilling projects? Has this activity been impacted by the low oil price and global pandemic?

Drilling projects have always been, and will always be, impacted by estimates of future oil prices. The pandemic is currently the major factor, but only one of many that affect oil price volatility.

 Activity has been massively affected across the globe by the pandemic, however the world is still heavily dependent on hydrocarbons for the foreseeable future as oil and gas continues to be part of the future energy mix.

I expect to see a rapid increase in drilling activity over the next two quarters, even with some oil price volatility remaining. Alongside this, I expect oil companies to have the confidence to invest in new projects to sustain a global economy recovering from this downturn.


As oil and gas remains part of the future energy mix, how should well technologies adapt to play a role in the energy transition?

Well technologies that positively impact the overall lifecycle efficiency of ERD and complex wells are crucial, and will ensure a constant supply of reasonably priced energy to help economies recover from the pandemic for years to come.  

 In the longer term, as the energy mix transitions to lower carbon fuels, it will be important to ensure overall energy costs are kept reasonably stable to guard against future economic downturns.

Well technologies that minimise the uncertainty of well costs will be key as the oil and gas industry remains under pressure not only maximise oil reserves with less, but to also keep operational emissions to a minimum.  

Deep Casing Tools was founded on the philosophy of ‘Simple Innovation’. What does that mean to you?

Simple innovation is all about providing the energy industry with the solutions that solve the drilling challenges of today, and provide operators with confidence, even in complex well scenarios. This assurance from robust technologies remains critical to projects being successfully and predictably delivered.


Discover more about Dave's extensive well knowledge here.