In the North West Shelf, a region of growing importance in oil and gas production in Australia, drilling delays and suspension of wells prior to reaching the targets due to wellbore instability have occurred frequently. As a result, economic benefits through the use of new drilling technologies are significantly reduced due to high additional drilling costs. In order to improve drilling efficiency and minimise drilling costs, it is crucial to develop and apply a practical approach to optimise wellbore instability management.

This paper initially presents guidelines, in the form of design charts, for efficient wellbore stability analysis and wellbore profile design. A comprehensive practical approach of using the design charts for wellbore profile design is subsequently described. The application of the design charts is demonstrated through field case studies for a range of in-situ stress regimes.

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