As a part of an appraisal campaign within a sour gas and condensate field in Abu Dhabi, an extensive coring, logging and testing program was planned for the target reservoir. One of the challenges was to design and implement a suitable water-based polymeric reservoir drill-in fluid (WB-RDF). Optimum lubricity and rheological properties were essential in this 8–1/2" section being drilled through the reservoir at approx. 45° inclination. Another key element of the design process was to ensure that the fluid remained stable during extended periods of coring and logging while being exposed to high levels of H2S and bottom hole temperatures of 288 degF.

Extensive laboratory testing was undertaken where the behaviour of the RDF was analysed after extended exposure to temperatures and pressures representative of the bottom hole conditions in the well. The mud formulation consisted of polymeric additives, a polymeric alkaline temperature stabiliser and an ammonium bisulfite oxygen and triazine based H2S scavenger. A graded calcium carbonate was included for bridging purposes, aiming to minimse the fluid invasion into the formation. The rheological and fluid loss parameters and stability of RDF were verified during extended periods of static conditions.

Specific fluid management procedures were implemented to ensure that the appropriate concentrations of H2S scavenger and temperature stabilizer were maintained in the mud system at all times. The Garrett Gas Train and its testing protocol was used to monitor H2S levels which, converts the soluble sulfides, bisulfides, H2S into gases which, then seperates the gas from the liquid, thereby eliminating effects of the liquid on the drager detection tube. It must be noted that this test converts all soluble sulfides to H2S and is therefore not specific to H2S alone and this test is a quantative analysis of sulfides. The monitoring process applied was during circulation. The GGT was ran frequently on bottoms up samples and specifically during the periods of circulation where the fluid had remained static due to extended logging.

Other fluid parameters, pH and alkalinity measurements were also monitored with basic mass balance and volumetric evaluations taken into consideration.

One of the key processes was the spotting of specifically formulated pills across the open hole prior to tripping. The risk of polymer degredation is increased during extended periods without circulation and the consequent elevation of bottom hole temperature.

This paper has been prepared to summarise the upfront fluid design and associated laboratory evaluation work performed to ensure fluid stability was maintained in challenging bottom hole conditions. An overview is provided of the fluids management procedures implemented during drilling, coring and logging to ensure a safe and successful operation.

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