The SB Field is located in Block PM on the west side of the Malay Basin, Malaysia. It is notorious for its steeply rising pressure ramp, narrow drilling operation window and inter-bedded sand, coal, and shale formations.

Block PM is still at the exploration and appraisal stage with limited petrophysical information. Well SBD-2 was the second attempt to reach and cross the F & H sands of this basin. Despite using managed pressure drilling, the first attempt failed when an influx exceeded the fracture gradient, resulting in total fluid losses.

Due to the shallow pressure ramp and narrow window between pore pressure and fracture gradient, a repeat attempt was initially deemed "un-drillable". However, the design team felt the target could be reached using an automated managed pressure drilling technology. The team was able to maintain constant bottom hole pressure over three demanding hole sections and reach target total depth.

The 8-1/2" × 14-3/4" section required minimum overbalance to manage "wellbore breathing" and to control potential losses to weaker horizons. In the 10-1/2" × 12-1/4" section, the system was used to identify and react quickly to kicks in high pressure sands and also to eliminate wellbore breathing/ballooning. In the final 8-1/2" × 9-1/2" section, the objective was to maintain overbalance in the narrow pressure window between pore pressure and fracture gradient.

This paper will describe the design efforts employed while preparing to drill the SBD-2 well. The challenges and lessons learned, particularly managing pore pressure prediction with multiple techniques will be discussed. Lessons learned and recommended workflows for similar projects will also be outlined.

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