This paper discusses the application of a new expandable liner hanger system in a deepwater, high-pressure, high-temperature (HP/HT) well in the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt. At the time of its application in early April 2007, it was the first expandable liner hanger set in Egypt and the industry's first, deepest set depth (4870 m) for the 7 5/8–in. liner hanger size.

A majority of the liners run in this area for this operator can be classified as drilling liners that allow the well to be "cased off" at key points in the drilling sequence so that drilling can progress safely to its target depth. This case history is about setting a liner across a weak (lost circulation) zone and a high-pressure kick (saltwater) zone drilled in the same hole section. The liner hanger operation was deemed critical especially after having had an issue in the last hole section in setting a conventional 9 7/8–in. liner hanger packer resulting in 2.1 days of NPT (nonproductive time). It was important to get proper isolation of both the formations and the liner lap and the placement of the liner in the desired position to avoid having issues drilling ahead.

The expandable liner hanger (ELH) offers a significant departure in design from a conventional system. The mechanics of the ELH system eliminates the potential of a premature set of the hanger. Moreover, it eliminates the normal operating procedures of testing conventional liner tops and "dressing" cement left on top of the liner—operations that require a substantial amount of time and money to accomplish before drilling ahead can resume.

This paper will discuss the expandable liner system in detail with an insight into its design, operating procedures, its simplicity, and the benefits it provides even in difficult well conditions such as this case history.

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