In 2020, A Major Offshore Operating Company in UAE faced a high differential pressure stuck event. This took place, during the execution of formation evaluation with a conveyed pipe sampling BHA. It is well known that after a differentially stuck pipe event happens, the success ratio will be time dependent (i.e. the less time a pipe remains stuck, the more chances there will be for it to become released) and the chances of releasing the BHA are always limited to the logging tools tensile limitations.
One of the most common and successful methods to release differentially stuck BHA's specifically in limestone formations is by pumping and soaking acid pills. However, under such a high differential pressure environment, the use of acid may induce losses in the so called "thief zones", causing worse problems. The standard release procedure started by working the string within the tensile limits, followed by pumping acid pills (using the available volume mobilized before spudding each drilling section). During the first acid pills pumped to attempt to release the stuck pipe, loss volume pump rates, acid pill position(s) and coverage in the annulus was assessed and evaluated. Based on the results it was observed that the thief zone was in direct contact with the Pipe Conveyed circulation port, at the latching assembly. This then created a situation whereby, the acid pills were lost immediately after the acid came into contact with the formation. Utilizing low acid concentration pills also had the same effect.
The solution was to pump an Obturating pill made-up of a weighting agent as a spacer behind the high volume, low concentration acid pill with crosslinking divergent chemicals, pumped at a high flow rate. This solution reduced the acid losses across the thief zone and once the Obturating pill came into contact with the loss zone, it facilitated the seal and cured the losses, by allowing the acid to move up the annulus until it reached the differentially stuck point and soaked across the problematic area. Once the acid pill was successfully placed at the required location using this method, the string was worked and successfully released. This combination of low concentration acid along with crosslinking divergent chemicals coupled with the Obturating pill behind the acid helped a major offshore operating company to pump the acid pill under partial losses only, to regain full circulation after only 10 bbl. of Obturating pill had entered inside the annulus. It allowed the acid pill to react across the stuck point, while keeping the string under low torque and compression. The operator was able to release the sampling BHA and bring it back to surface avoiding a lost in hole cost of around 4 MM$. The Obturating pill combined with low concentration CDC acid pill is proven to be a successful method in drilling operations when trying to release differentially stuck BHA's within a wellbore.