This article presents a unique case study where operating company, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), decided to make an attempt to perform open hole side-track through a very narrow side-track window along with other exiting conditions such as severe downhole losses and drill through very challenging formation. To deliver such project in first attempt requires very detailed planning, close coordination with various service partners such as directional drilling and cementing.

Placing a good side-track cement plug in such formation was a challenge, and 2nd challenge to get kicked off from this narrow window in first attempt which was the key. In case of failure, whip stock option has to be planned as a contingency, which possess new challenging of opening a depleted zone leading to commingling low/high pressure formation which could cause a complicated problem such as borehole stability, leads to stuck pipe problem. Failure to side-track from open hole could end of planning to drill extra hole which required extra casing string to run which will put this project well over AFE and heavily impact on well objective.

This open hole Side-track was planned because while drilling original hole (12 ¼" hole section) close to planned well TD, experienced complete losses. In attempt to cure the losses, LCM was pumped with no success. Performed thixotropic cement plug job for losses control. While performing thixotropic cement plug job, the cement flash set before finishing the displacement, leading to stuck string. After backing off string and fishing attempts, unable to recover the fish completely. Fish left in hole leading to only 68 ft of open hole window available to side-track where performing a cement job was impossible due to severe losses. Only way to secure the well is to try for open hole side-track. With existing sever loss situation for initiating open hole side-track was a serious challenge due to lack of side force and flow restriction to initiate the side-track.

Extensive pre-job planning, peer review and risk assessment was done in coordination with various service partners to deliver such challenging side-track. A hazard analysis decision tree was established to pinpoint the risks and appropriate mitigation measures along with contingency plan put in place. A detailed side-track guidelines was shared and review with the field crew.

The wellbore was successfully side-tracked through a challenging reactive shale formation in a first attempt using a customized kick-off BHA, which not only helped to avoid loss zone in side-tracked hole but also provide additional cost savings to the company. The good hole condition at the side-track point was important to enable smooth passing of the following directional BHA to achieve directional goals.

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