The Gulf of Mexico (GoM) presents an array of complex challenges for developing, testing, and introducing next-generation technologies and facilities that drive efficiencies in global deepwater and ultra-deepwater operations. Characteristics of these wells include water depths ranging from conventional deepwater depths of 1,000 ft (305 m) to ultra-deepwater depths above 10,000 ft (3,048 m), in a narrow pressure window environment. As operations transition towards ultra-deepwater, the distances and operational challenges encountered increase in complexity, requiring a fully integrated approach to fluid systems and the supply chain. This paper highlights the development and use of innovative drilling and reservoir fluids, supported from modern, fully automated offshore supply bases. Operations on this ultra-deepwater campaign in the western GoM were conducted from an ultra-deepwater, dual-activity drill ship and in water depths below 8,000 ft (2,438 m). This paper will also discuss a newly developed low-ECD, flat-rheology, non-aqueous fluid (FR-NAF), designed for narrow margin drilling applications. This innovative fluid is designed with newly developed chemistry and includes the targeted use of a low-dose, high-performance organo-clay (LD-HPOC). Operational efficiencies derived from use of this fluid include equivalent circulating density (ECD) management, hole cleaning performance, reduction in downhole losses, increased rates-of-penetration (ROP) and the elimination of non-productive time (NPT). Additionally, the use a newly developed high-performance water-based mud (HPWBM) was successfully employed to reduce operational steps and overall project cost. Operations in this campaign employed open hole gravel-pack completions, with the reservoir asset drilled utilizing a newly developed reservoir drill-in fluids (RDF), designed for use in open hole, gravel pack completions at hole angles upwards to 90°. The geographic expanse of the GoM is roughly 930 miles (1,500 km), which presents significant challenges in terms of distribution and logistics required to supply ultra-deepwater operations, particularly in the Western GoM. Timely supply and delivery of drilling and completion fluid solution are integral elements of GoM deepwater supply, logistics and distribution programs. The design, development, and field testing of these unique fluid solutions for GoM deepwater wells was coupled with the commissioning of next-generation offshore supply bases.

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