After a series of successful tests conducted at a research facility for a vertical well using full scale equipment, the Micro-Flux Control (MFC) equipment was taken to its first field applications to begin exploring the performance of the system under actual drilling conditions. These conditions include the presence of cuttings in the return fluid and effects of pipe movement; neither of which could be tested at the research facility.

The accuracy of the MFC had been demonstrated for both WBM and OBM at the research facility, detecting influxes and losses at very low volumes. The first two field wells drilled confirmed the accurate measurement capabilities and showed additional and unique information in terms of flow and pressure.

This paper describes the first two wells drilled with the system. The first was a shallow exploratory well for Petrobras in Brazil using WBM (1824 ft drilled and 3018 ft TD). The second well, drilled for Chevron in Texas using OBM was a development well in a challenging area with ROP approaching 300 ft/hr (2587 ft drilled and 13,000 ft TD).

The system proved to be capable of being used on a wide variety of rigs; whether conventional, without any automation or sophisticated controls and employing a kelly; or latest generations, with fully automated controls and employing a top drive.

The results to be presented include the summary of the planning, the challenges and problems targeted, preparation of the wells, rig up of the equipment, and the results. Among data disclosed is the influence of pipe movement, accuracy of the flow measurements under various conditions, and identification of drilling related problems using the various parameters collected. Several influxes were detected along the well and positively confirmed when gas reached surface. The influx detection data was analogous to the mud logging data.

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