Operators today face an ever increasing demand for locating commercial reserves and producing those reserves with attention to exploration and development costs. In addition to basic financial pressures, operators also strive to reduce the environmental impact of well construction and production operations. Extended-reach drilling technology allows operators to reach recoverable reserves that, in the past, were unreachable. Specifically, extended-reach drilling from a multi-pad wellsite allows significant portions of the well construction costs to be spread over multiple wells, rather than being carried by an individual wellbore. Also, the ability to drill multiple wells from a single pad helps reduce the environmental impact from the drilling operation.

Extending the wellbore reach from a given pad depends on the location of the target formation. Depth, horizontal distance, and production type significantly affect the type of drilling program as well as the casing running operation. In many wells, drag between the casing and wellbore prevents casing running operations from being performed. Casing flotation is a proven technology that has been deployed in multiple fields globally to extend the attainable lateral reach of the casing running operation.

This paper documents using flotation technology in combination with two-stage cementing tools in production wells where drag limits and subsequent casing lock up were averted to allow successful casing running operations to be performed. Detailed pre-job planning and computer simulations are provided to demonstrate the technical limits and step-out achieved with casing flotation.

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