Two hole sections (12-1/4″ x 14-3/4″ and 10-5/8″ x 12-1/4″) were planned to be drilled through sequences of unstable shale and depleted sand packages with no drilling windows, which are defined by the shale Wellbore Stability Gradient (WBSG) delimited by the "intact wellbore wall zero failure degree" and the depleted sand fracture gradient criteria. Historically, significant non-productive time (NPT) associated with wellbore instability and lost circulation had resulted in sidetracks and other costly remediation in both hole sections. The operator and the service provider have identified the Constant Bottomhole Pressure (CBHP) variant of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) and wellbore strengthening as the necessary technology approach to safely drill through both challenging hole sections. Dynamic and static wellbore strengthening were applied to increase the near wellbore stresses across the depleted sands to create a drilling window, whilst the MPD CBHP was used to mitigate bottom hole pressure fluctuations and cyclic stress across the shale packages.

The MPD well evaluated in this paper had just four hours of non-productive time related with downhole problems and wellbore stability, a minimal fraction when compared to the 980 hours lost in the previous conventional offset well. The MPD well did not require any back reaming operation, whereas the offset well in the area required 7 back-reaming events to get a good quality wellbore. A total of 533 hours were required to drill the 2 hole sections in MPD compared to the 2,410 hours required to drill the same sections conventionally in a previous offset well in the area.

This paper summarizes the key MPD planning, engineering, results obtained and lessons learned that delivered a successful campaign of producer wells.

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