A recent multi-well program in central Texas illustrates that conventional intent can produce unconventional opportunity. The aforementioned drilling campaign was in its second year of using solid expandable technology to attain a slimmer well profile in a series of high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) gas wells. The wellbore design included in a 6 x 7-5/8 in. solid openhole liner expanded across the Upper Bossier formation that enabled 14-3/4 in. surface casing while still reaching TD at ~15,000 ft with 4-1/2 in. casing.

This design improved the rate of penetration resulting in reduced overall drilling costs and in turn a savings of approximately $1M per well. Over 40 openhole systems had been successfully expanded by way of conventional installation when a process modification enhanced the already significant benefits of using solid expandable tubulars. Conventional installation usually requires underreaming or hole enlargement to expand and cement the liner. The hard rock formation and the swellable elastomers employed on the openhole system eliminated the need for underreaming or cementing. Zonal isolation was achieved by setting the elastomers at the shoe of the expandable liner. The operator estimated that by dispensing with these steps an additional four to six days of rig time was saved.

The current and future need for hydrocarbons has not diminished. This global demand is a main driver to develop more comprehensive downhole solutions. Every technical advantage is needed to help bring unconventional oil and gas plays within practical and economic reach. This paper explains how solid expandable tubulars have provided operators with a valuable tool to enhance drilling operations and mitigate wellbore challenges. This paper outlines the increasing and potential application realm of solid expandable tubulars and describes how incorporating these systems into the initial well design optimize the possibilities and potential of the technology.

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