Abstract

Mitigating down time, while curing losses, is a critical part of designing and executing a good well plan. Even when anticipated, the loss of drilling fluids to depleted formations is a costly event resulting in excessive down time for the entire rig as well additional costs in replacing costly drilling fluids.

The search for new hydrocarbon reserves increasingly sends us back to proven fields where drilling through depleted zones as become an increasing liability to daily operations. The costly time required to pump multiple activation and deactivation balls down the string makes operating conventional tools tedious and time consuming. A more efficient tool for the placement of lost circulation materials (LCM) that does not require the exorbitant lost time and complicated cycling methods of the current technology has not been available for over a decade.

Today, a new tool, utilizing innovative shifting technology, provides unlimited open / close cycles. With this technology, drillers can shift an unlimited number of times and in as little as 5% of the time required by conventional tools. These capabilities result in direct reduction of lost time operating the tool as well as a quantifiable reduction in fluids lost while operating the tool. Simplified operation also makes the tool uniquely easy to operate reducing the potential for user errors that frequently plague existing technology.

This paper details how the use of this innovative circulating technology has assisted a major service company in reducing downtime and excessive costs during lost circulation events. The design has proven simpler to operate and has effectively reduced the non-productive time and lost fluid versus operation of conventional circulating subs. Supporting case studies are included to detail the increase in efficiency and reduction in costs.

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