High angle S-shaped and high displacement L-shaped well profiles are preferred now-a-days in Balimara field located in the northeast region of India. Main targets are the deep Clastic reservoirs of Oligocene age. Major events reported are while drilling against dipping formations with differential stuck pipe situations with variety of drilling complications in the unstable formations owing to shales in Tipam sandstone and thin sections of coal and shale alteration in oil bearing Barail sandstone formation. The substantial risk of wellbore instability in accessing the reservoirs with lateral variation in pore pressure threatened the commercial success of the project. This paper elaborates how geomechanical information along with BHA design and chemicals was integrated into the decision-making process during well design and drilling operations to avoid wellbore instability issues.
Wellbore stability analysis through Mechanical Earth Model was conducted using estimated state of stress and mechanical properties of the overburden and reservoirs. The model incorporated data from several sources including geophysical logs, leak-off tests, advanced sonic far field profile and drilling records collected from the earlier wells. Examination of the deviated well bore profiles suggested occurrence of ledges due to lower mud weight and improper drilling parameters while drilling alternate layers of sand, shale and coal in Barail formation. Horizontal stress contrast increases in Barail formation supporting the need of higher mud weight with increased well deviation towards specific azimuth.
The integrated geomechanical analysis provided key information: The 9 5/8" casing shoe should be set at shale layer of Tipam Bottom to isolate upper differential sticking prone sandstone layers with Barail Argillaceous sequence. This will help to drill 12.25-inch hole with 9.6 ppg-9.8 ppg only. Shale layers at Tipam bottom require 10.0-10.5 ppg, while Barail shale requires 10.5 ppg-11.0 ppg for vertical well. When the well deviation increases up to 30deg, mud weight requirement rises to 11.2 ppg-11.8 ppg. Based on analysis, the mud weight at the start of 8.5inch section was raised sufficiently to 10.5 ppg to avoid the hole collapse experienced in the earlier lower angle wells. Later, continuous review of torque and drag along with cutting analysis helped to raise mud weight up to 11.0 ppg till well TD. As a result, lower UCS shale and coal layers are drilled with minimal shear failure and improved hole condition. However, changes to the mud system were needed to limit fluid loss and avoid differential sticking across the sandstone. For deviated section, rotary BHA has been used to improve hole trajectory vs. planned with lesser ledges. Downhole hydraulics has been maintained with proper flow rate and rpm to main hole cleaning. The new well engineered with the integrated geomechanics information has been drilled from surface to extended TD while saving 15 rig days.