Realizing the potential benefits automation brings, many operators have turned to managed pressure drilling (MPD) techniques as a technical and cost-reward solution to hard-to-reach assets, an approach which not only saves time but also enhances the safety capabilities of the operation. The evolving industry shift toward MPD-ready rigs demonstrates the significant need for a reliable software system to interact with the equipment and simultaneously deliver enhanced models able to precisely control annular pressure in geological complexities where drilling windows are narrow.

Several studies have demonstrated the operational benefits of MPD through the application of the constant bottom hole pressure (CBHP) method, imbedded automated kick detection, and control capabilities. MPD technology relies substantially on applying surface back pressure (SBP) using automated chokes to precisely control the annular pressure profile in a closed loop circulation system. During drilling, CBHP connections, mud displacements and fluid anomaly incidents, the SBP is dynamically adjusted in response to operational changes that yield annular pressure changes; such as circulation rate, top drive speed, and rate of penetration to name a few.

The integrated MPD drilling software platform is used in combination with interactive models and surface and downhole data measurement in a unified computing system to enhance real-time analysis of drilling performance. By employing real-time models such as hydraulics, well control, pore and fracture pressure estimation, surge and swab, and drilling optimization torque and drag, the system quantifies the boundaries and aid in understanding the real operational limits. Additional software platform applications deliver the common integration baseline that enables both operations within the pre-drilling, while drilling and post analysis. The current automated MPD software has been successfully used in several onshore and offshore wells with narrow drilling windows. This paper discusses the applications and the newest developments in the MPD integrated software to automatically and precisely manage wellbore pressure. The results to be presented include the summary of planning, while drilling analysis, and post drilling analysis of an offshore case study where a detailed parametric analysis of measured and estimated data are compared.

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