There are no doubts that Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) technology is going to be applied in the near future as the conventional practice to drill what today are defined as un-drillable, hazardous and expensive wells. The several cases analyzed, applications and results obtained in the Middle East and North Africa region are clearly leading to this conclusion.
Managed Pressure Drilling, from the core concept point of view is a collection of drilling optimization techniques that correctly designed, planned and applied will improve the overall drilling performance, mitigate risks and reduce operating costs by proactively managing the hydraulic pressure profile and solving the problems associated with a high Non Productive Time (NPT) commonly experienced in conventional drilling practices. This simple concept is what promotes this technology to be the new standard and conventional drilling practice in the near future.
From the technical point of view, IADC defines MPD as an adaptive drilling process used to precisely control the annular pressure profile throughout the drilled wellbore. The objectives are to ascertain the downhole pressure environment limits and to manage the annular hydraulic pressure profile accordingly, avoiding continuous influx of formation fluids to the surface. Any influx will be early detected, managed and safely contained. MPD may include semi-automatic or full automatic control of annular backpressure, fluid density, fluid rheology, annular fluid level, circulating friction, hole geometry or combination thereof. MPD represents the ability to dynamically control annular pressures, optimizing the drilling process facilitating what might otherwise be economically unattainable prospects.
This paper summarizes the process used to visualize the ideal prospects, the conceptual development including re-engineering planning and design phases, the process to implement the technology and the results obtained, lessons learned and the range of opportunities this technology has created in the Middle East and North Africa region from year 2007 to early 2009.