As conventional drilling learning curves mature from drilling simple vertical wells to deviated wells to complex multi-lateral horizontal wells, the boundaries needed to be broken to reach much deeper depths rather than consuming the time in drilling multiple shorter laterals.

Horizontal ERD wells in Qarn Alam cluster were planned to be drilled in four sections where the 17.5-in section is drilled vertically followed by a deviated 12.25-in section and continued by landing in 8.5-in section and finally the 6.125-in horizontal lateral.

Many attempts of performance improvement initiatives were executed over many years however there were always flaws and inconsistency in drilling performance delivery. As the need of ERD grew, a detailed offset wells analysis had to be performed where all the deficiencies and issues had to be pin pointed, RCA (Root Cause Analysis) had to be performed and plans for success had to be laid out.

From challenges achieving required dog legs in the top sections with increased risks of axial and lateral vibrations, to the difficulties faced in the landing section drilling through unconsolidated and reactive shales, to the difficulties transferring weight to the bit at deeper depths in the horizontal laterals drilling highly porous zones of sticky limestones resulting in severe torsional vibrations. A new approach of drilling had to be executed with a renovated set of drilling parameters envelopes, revised trajectory designs, re-engineered BHA designs, right choice of fit for purpose bits and effective real-time performance monitoring.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.