Our experience at Horwell
The affiliate sold well engineering, drilling programs and onsite assistance. We designed and helped drill BP’s first horizontal well, Beckingham 36, in Sherwood Forest in England. Then we went to Denmark, to help Maersk Oil in the Dan field. After that came India, where we conducted the studies for national oil company ONGC’s first horizontal well. I remember the endless meetings in Bombay, face to face with around 50 Indian engineers bombarding us with questions. From beginning to end, the experience was exciting and enriching, taking us around the world to meet all kinds of people and tackle all sorts of technical challenges. Although, we should mention that at the time, not everyone agreed that Horwell was a good idea. Some people thought that Elf Aquitaine was ‘giving away’ its know-how and that our managers were making poor choices.
And it’s true that our ‘clients’ quickly spread their wings and in some cases overtook us. It was BP, not Elf Aquitaine, that set the record for horizontal drilling in the United Kingdom. It was Maersk Oil that set the world record for horizontal drilling in Qatar in 2012. Less than ten years after it was founded, Horwell ran out of clients. Horizontal drilling had become the industry standard. The affiliate was bought by a drilling company and refocused on killing oil well fires in Kuwait.
Extract from the book Horizontal Drilling, the story of an industrial revolution (2016).
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