The deep carbonate reservoir formation on this field has proven to be an extreme High-temperature (HT) environment for downhole equipment. While drilling the 5000 − 6500 ft 5-7/8" slim long laterals across this formation, very high bottom-hole circulating temperatures is encountered (310-340 degF) which exceeds the operating limitation for the downhole drilling/formation evaluation tools. This resulted in multiple temperature-related failures, unplanned trips and long non-productive-time. It became necessary to provide solution to reduce the BHCT-related failures.
Performed offset-wells-analysis to identify the BHT regime across the field, create a heat-map and correlate/compare actual formation-temperatures with the formation-temperature-gradient provided by the operator (1.4-1.8 degF/100-ft). Drilling reports/MWD/LWD/wireline logs were reviewed/analyzed. Discovered the tools had a maximum-temperature-rating of 300-302 degF and were run outside-technical-limits. Temperature-related-failures were predominant in long slim-laterals, which indicated that some of the heat was generated by high flow rate/RPM and solids in the system. Tried drilling with low-RPM/FR, without meaningful-temperature-reduction. After detailed risk-assessment and analysis on other contributing factors in the drilling process, opted to incorporate mud-chiller into the surface circulating-system to cool-down the drilling mud.
Upon implementation of the mud chiller system, observed up to 40 degF reduction in surface temperature (i.e. temperature-difference between the mud entering/leaving mud chiller). This was achieved because the unit was set-up to process at least twice the rate that was pumped downhole. Also observed reduction in the bottomhole circulating temperature to below 300 degF, thus ensuring the drilling environment met the tool specifications. The temperature-related tools failure got eliminated. On some of the previous wells, wireline logging tools have been damaged due to high encountered downhole temperature as circulation was not possible prior-to or during logging operation. The implementation of the mud-chiller system has made it possible for innovative logging through-the-bit logging application to be implemented. This allows circulation of cool mud across the entire open hole prior to deployment of tools to perform logging operation. This has made it possible for same logging tool to be used for multiple jobs without fear of tool electronic-components failure die to exposure to extreme temperatures.
The long non-productive time due to temperature-related tool failures got eliminated. The numerous stuck pipes events due to hole deterioration resulting from multiple round trips also got eliminated. Overall drilling operations became more efficient.
The paper will describe the drilling challenges, the systematic approach implemented to arrive at optimized solution. It will show how good understanding of drilling challenges and tailored-solutions delivers great gains. The authors will show how this system was used to provide a true step-change in performance in this challenging environment.