Abstract

After experiencing massive lost circulation in an exploratory well in Colombia, it became necessary to drill without returns and stop the job upon various occasions of waiting for water. Upon completion of the job, water uptake limits were exceeded and various community relation issues were encountered, increasing both operational costs and nonproductive time (NPT). By the next well, the operator decided to develop a strategic plan to drill the well with the same scenario in the same location, but using a comprehensive strategy to help reduce the volume of water uptake while managing community relations and associated costs. The operator achieved a drill section in the well from the surface to 2,800 total ft, without additional water uptake, in less time. The logistical plan was executed in the field successfully, complying with the allowable uptake water permitted by the licensure without exceeding uptake limits. No NPT or health, safety, or environmental (HSE) incidents occurred during operations. No penalties or breaches of licensure were committed. No damage to the environment occurred. The community felt fulfilled that operational management protected its resources and the operator achieved a savings of nearly USD one million compared to the previous well. This strategy allowed analyzing a drilling fluid system alternative involving the use of aerated fluids to improve the operation and minimize the necessity to uptake water. The logistical plan developed helped build structures that currently support the operations of nearby wells, providing operational savings to execute drilling operations in the same area. Using the lessons learned from this operation, the operator successfully drilled two additional wells in the same area, implementing similar strategies (use of aerated fluids system) and complying with outlined environmental regulations. This helped the operator reduce operational costs. All personnel involved during operations were mindful of environmental impact and the importance of compliance with outlined environmental regulations.

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