Abstract

MudCap Drilling (MCD), a major variation of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD), is a key drilling technology that can help drill zones with total lost circulation otherwise not drillable using conventional methods.

Multiple variations of MCD have evolved, including: a) Floating MudCap Drilling (FMCD), b) Pressurized MudCap Drilling (PMCD), and c) Dynamic MudCap Drilling (DMCD). Case histories serve as a guide to understand the variations and their application during drilling. Drivers and limitations for each of the MCD variants are addressed, as are engineering, planning and training needs associated with each variant.

Additionally, an in-depth case history of a recent five-well MCD program in the Texas panhandle Granite Wash formation is presented, describing the process the operator employed to investigate, select, design and deploy Dynamic (constant injection) MudCap Drilling. The case history describes the pros and cons and the criteria justifying MCD as the preferred solution, including the prerequisites to successful deployment of MCD. The paper describes the design process and equipment deployed, highlights the integration of conventional services with the unconventional, and presents challenges, highlights and lessons learned from these drilling activities.

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