An increasing number of deviated wells are being drilled to maximize production and hydrocarbon recovery in the mature reservoirs of the Gulf of Suez (GoS). Successfully drilling a high-angle well in a tectonically disturbed and structurally complex area like the GoS is very challenging, especially in depleted reservoirs. Selecting the optimal mud weight is absolutely essential. Stress orientation and magnitude also have a major impact on wellbore stability.

The region poses significant drilling challenges that vary widely from reactive shale and salt creep to stress-related instability. From the findings of multiple wellbore stability projects we conducted in the GoS, we review the dominant mechanisms of wellbore instability in the GoS. We provide a summary of the failure mitigation measures and an overview of stress magnitude and orientation in the region, demonstrating how it impacts the knowledge of the most stable drilling direction.

Understanding the main causes of rock failure in the GoS resulted in improved drilling efficiency and reduced drilling costs. We show an example, where a new, nearly horizontal (86º) well was successfully drilled through the Asl formation with less than half a day of non productive time during the entire drilling process.

We conclude that acquisition of new, high-quality data would considerably reduce the uncertainty surrounding drilling complex wells in the area and reduce their cost.

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