The sustained and relatively high value of oil and natural gas has resulted in an unprecedented level of drilling activity and implementation of innovative methods to recover as much hydrocarbon as possible, and as quickly as possible. The resulting demand for conventional drilling rigs for programs has forced the rates high and the availability low, making use of the units difficult to justify for use in declining fields with less significant amounts of recoverable product. The by-passed reserves remaining accessible in these depleted fields exist in volumes worthy of pursuit, but must be done economically.
In many fields, operators, either intentionally or unintentionally, bypass pay zones during initial development by focusing only on the best zones. Accessing bypassed thinly laminated formations can be economically attractive but poses several challenges, especially due to aged platforms and completion string in place, also offshore environment is adding its own challenges.
Coiled Tubing Drilling (CTD) has yet to establish itself in an offshore environment. Numerous one-off projects have been tried, but commitment was never made to a number of wells to see through the learning curve and realize the potential of the application. Offshore South China Sea have a huge quantity of candidates on existing installations, installations that, due to water depths and sub sea conditions require large, expensive rigs to drill or re-enter wells. Technically the wells can be accessed with coiled tubing with drilling parameters seen regularly in other projects. The challenges for this pilot project will be equipment specification and set up, efficiently exiting the casing, and management of wellbore stability in open hole drilling and completion techniques.
The main objective of this pilot project is to bring proven technology to offshore environment to access small bypassed reserves economically and provide an alternative to conventional drilling. The well candidates were selected with strict work scope to avoid going beyond the regular CTD application to ensure learning curve and lessons learned can be implemented throughout the project and achieve the objective.
This paper will described the preparation, execution, achievement and lessons learned from this 4 wells pilot project in offshore South China Sea.