The challenging environment in the Kvitebjørn field offshore Norway comprises high-temperature wells, long drilling hours, low rate of penetration (ROP), managed pressure drilling (MPD), and mud additive requirements, all of which are very detrimental for operations and reliability of the positive displacement motor (PDM) power section. In fact, until now, no one has successfully drilled the 5 ¾-in. section in a single run due primarily to motor failures such as elastomer chunking and debonding.

This paper presents the steps used for optimizing the selection of a PDM section to achieve a single-run drilling operation with improved ROP. The method includes understanding the drilling environment, type of wells, rig capabilities, formations, temperatures, MPD, and drilling fluid requirements. Furthermore, the usual motor and bottomhole assembly requirements must be evaluated and the mud compatibility with the elastomer must be scrutinized. All of these variables were then input into a modeling engineering workflow to simulate and analyze the power output, the elastomer fatigue life, the hysteresis heating, and the debonding stress to select the best possible PDM candidate for the drilling job.

A new long-life elastomer and the drilling parameters recommended by the mud motor modeling resulted in drilling this section in a single run for the first time in the field. Simultaneously, it was possible to drill to the deepest total depth without any need to set the section total depth shallower, as occurred in previous wells due to motor failures. The motor drilled through a very thick cemented sandstone stringer with no stall incidents. This motor set new records for drilling the 5 ¾-in. section with a total run length 60% longer than the previous longest run and a total pumping time 67% greater than the previous record.

The combined new technologies of the modeling and the new long-life elastomer were applied for the first time in the anticipated challenging drilling conditions. The successful results demonstrated that with thorough analysis and proper planning, one can achieve a step change in performance and reliability without additional costs. The scope of the operation is even broader than the mud motor application.

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