Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) is a technology that accurately controls the annular pressure while drilling and completing wells. The intention of MPD is to avoid continuous influx of formation fluids to the surface. Any influx incidental to the operation will be controlled and circulated out and an overbalanced condition will be restored.
MPD can be used to reduce well construction times, which in today’s high cost rig market is appealing to any exploration, appraisal or field development team. The MPD technology can, to a certain degree reduce drilling fluid related formation impairment, and can through the reduction of the mud weight reduce the cost of mud losses as well as the related non productive time that is spend in curing losses.
MPD technology is now deployed extensively in the Asia-Pacific Region by many operators, to alleviate a range of pressure related drilling problems. The main applications for MPD include pressurized mud cap to deal with the kick/loss situations in fractured carbonates as well as constant bottom hole pressure systems in wells with narrow pore pressure fracture pressure windows or in depleted reservoirs.
This paper is intended to enhance the understanding of the value delivered through the use of MPD techniques, together with recommended equipment designs for each application. Some case studies will be used to quantify value delivery for a range of equipment designs and to better define the operational issues associated with MPD operations.