The southern part of the North Sea continental shelf is known for large intervals of hard, compact, cretaceous chalk formations that historically have proven to be challenging to drill through in one run. In recent years technology has been developed to drill specifically through these types of sedimentary successions as effectively as possible to be durable and competitive in similarly challenging drilling settings. Formations that previously would require multiple bit runs are now being drilled in one. The exploration well 2/9-6 S Eidsvoll, operated by MOL Norge AS, was drilled in this area of the North Sea continental shelf, with this specific type of chalk being drilled in the 12 ¼-in. section.

Because the 12 ¼-in. section consisted of several different lithologies, it was vital to design the bottom hole assembly (BHA) to handle the diversity of rock formations to be drilled. Lithologies ranging from soft, swelling clay to hard compact chalk with an Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS) as great as 20,000 psi were expected. In addition to managing the challenging drilling environment, determining the casing setting depth was of the highest priority because a pressure ramp was expected near the planned setting depth. This pressure ramp is located in the Base Cretaceous Unconformity (BCU), which is a well-known seismic reflector in the area. The top of this reflector had an uncertainty of ±75 m, which is not ideal following a decision to set the 9 ⅞-in. casing as near as possible to the reservoir. Seismic-while-drilling technology was applied to reduce this uncertainty and better tie-in the acoustic velocities to the pre-drilling seismic model. In addition, a geomechanics team was tasked with creating and updating the prognosed pore pressure estimation model. This information was important in making the mud-weight decision when drilling the 8 ½-in. section.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.