This paper describes the successful application of Managed Pressure Drilling on a deep exploration well drilled offshore Egypt in the Nile Delta. Building upon successful experience utilizing MPD on a HPHT jack-up well, the Operator transferred the experience across to a deepwater exploration project. This represented the first known use of MPD on a floating rig in this water depth and HPHT environment. Water depth was 1100 m, and the well was drilled to over 6000 m with BHP of 17,000 psi.
Extensive engineering, training and development of procedures were carried out prior to spud. MPD was utilized to drill four hole sections. Specific techniques were developed to handle floating drilling operations. The resulting benefits associated with MPD led to improvements in drilling performance, and eliminated many of the traditional problems faced on other HPHT wells in the area. MPD has now become an integral part of the well operating philosophy and has established new standards for drilling wells of this type.
The well was a rank wildcat with considerable pore pressure unknowns, coupled with narrow pore-fracture drilling window characteristic of HPHT conditions in the Nile Delta. MPD was able to minimize the problems faced on the well by enabling various techniques to be utilized. These techniques included the use of pressure build up analysis to quantify formation pressures, the application of dynamic flow checks, dynamic formation strength limits, and the application of constant bottom hole pressure during dynamic and static drilling fluid circulation conditions. The planning, development and execution phases of the MPD project are detailed in this technical paper.