Abstract

A major operator in Malaysia planned to drill into a 6,000-ft horizontal thin-oil rim. The three-well campaign posed very challenging well deliveries for the operator due to potential losses to faults and karst zones, high uncertainty of reservoir productivity, long horizontal laterals, and openhole completions containing an Autonomous Inflow Control Device (AICD) with a low solids tolerance. An optimized drill-in fluid (DIF) and delayed filter-cake breaker were designed and tested to address the following challenges: reduced filtrate invasion, a targeted filter-cake breaking delay time, and high well production rates. In addition, there was a need for a mitigation strategy for total losses and the resulting impossibility of placing the delayed breaker across the entire reservoir section.

A customized NaCl-based 9.2 lb/gal DIF with an optimally sized ground marble bridging package was designed to facilitate filter-cake removal using a compatible delayed acid-release cake breaker. This was achieved through the addition of special additives in the DIF to increase the acid solubility of the filter cake. The DIF also included special additives proven to facilitate liftoff of filter cake at relatively low differential pressure, and for enhanced thermal stability of the polymers used.

Testing confirmed that the DIF filter cake was efficiently removed by the breaker within the customized delay time. Corrosion testing of the metallurgy used in the completion equipment demonstrated low corrosion rates at the expected 265°F bottomhole temperature (BHT) by both DIF and breaker systems.

Laboratory test results confirmed a high return permeability of 97.5% using the integrated DIF and breaker system. Three wells were drilled in the thin-oil rim reservoir and were completed using this system without losses. A relatively high ROP of 90 to 175 feet per hour without differential sticking issues maximized drilling efficiency and reduced the overall drilling costs. DIF density and properties were controlled through a dump-and-dilute technique. The wells were drilled to TD, and the completions run without incident. After the breaker was spotted, sufficient delay time was achieved with which to remove the wash pipe prior to closing the reservoir isolation valve. Approximately two months after spotting the first breaker, the wells were brought online, and the actual gas/oil production rates of the three wells were 50% above expectation.

This paper presents the design and successful application of an integrated DIF/breaker system for drilling and completing three of the most complex extended-reach wells drilled by the operator in Malaysia. The complementary designs of the DIF and breaker system components contributed to the successful drilling and production results of these three challenging wells.

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