The Operator planned and conducted Underbalanced Coiled Tubing Drilling (UBCTD), operations on 3 wells in Operator Onshore fields targeting tight sour gas carbonate reservoirs. The objectives of these operations were to evaluate the applicability of the technology in these fields, to understand requirements and methods of the technology and to evaluate the benefits of drilling the target formations in an underbalanced mode.

As a preliminary step, the Operator conducted a feasibility study that flagged potential limitations to deploying UBCTD operations in existing wells, due to limitations on the completion design and other factors. All of this resulted in the plan to drill fit-for-purpose wells to the top of the reservoir to facilitate the deployment of the technique. These wells were completed with 5.5/4.5 in. Tubing and 7 in. Liner and left with a 100ft open hole interval from where CT drilling operations would later continue. The results of the feasibility study notwithstanding, additional detailed engineering work was performed in all aspects of the design by the operations team to ensure the success of the trial, including a review and validation of the available data and the feasibility to deliver the stated objectives (lateral length, underbalanced conditions, minimal flaring operations, drilling fluid re-circulation, etc.).

As a result of this approach, all three wells were successfully drilled in underbalanced conditions and to the target lateral length of 4,000 ft. Well placement was facilitated using Biosteering techniques and continuous monitoring of the well performance vs. drilled footage, allowing steering decisions to be made in real-time to maximize the production of each lateral, resulting in outstanding production results of 3x the productivity of similar wells drilled conventionally, (after stimulation).

This paper will detail the design process highlighting key engineering decisions and assumptions taken during the design process and comparing them to the actual behavior of the well and the impact of real-life constraints on the operational parameters. The base design and lessons learned from the project will serve as a launching pad for planning and efficiency gains for future UBCTD operations.

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