During the drilling and completion of the Huldra field in the North Sea, high temperature and high pressure conditions were expected and encountered in the reservoir section. The difference between the pore pressure and the fracturing pressure is small. Cesium formate had been evaluated as a potential drilling and completion fluid, but technical hurdles could not be completely addressed in time for the first well. As a result of well control problems occurring in the first well, with barite sag in the oil based drilling fluid as a contributing factor, it was necessary to use a drilling fluid with insignificant potential for sag. For the first time worldwide the cesium formate brine was chosen as a drilling fluid. This fluid could be delivered solids free with densities up to 2.2 s.g. The required down hole density in the well was 1.91 s.g. At the same time it was necessary to have as little contribution to the equivalent circulating density (ECD) from the flow as possible.
The paper describes how the cesium formate brine was used successfully as a drilling and completion fluid. The effect of the fluid on well control, hole cleaning, rate of penetration (ROP), torque/friction, ECD, formation damage, casing wear and hole stability are covered. The paper also describes actions required to minimize losses of this very expensive fluid. The challenges acquiring adequate formations logs while drilling are also described. Finally, the use of cesium formate brine during the completing of the wells with open hole sand screens is outlined.