This paper presents a customized water-based drilling fluids design for drilling challengig sections through varying formations. The offset wells were reviewed to identify the issues while drilling the trajectory through troublesome reactive and depleted formations that showed wellbore stability issues, stuck pipe incidents, and induced severe losses.

Additional problems experienced while drilling include shale dispersion, resulting in fine solids buildup in the drilling fluid, and the adherence of shale to the drill pipe and bit, reducing penetration rates. The customized drilling and completions fluids system was designed for different intervals. The system was developed with the following objectives in mind: improved hole stability through reactive formations; enhanced hole-cleaning efficiency at critical angles; minimized risk of stuck pipe across depleted formations with high porosity and permeability; minimized or non-induced losses to formation utilizing a unique wellbore strengthening technique; and improved rate of penetration to optimize drilling efficiency.

This paper describes the customized high-performance water-based mud (HPWBM) design and performance. A comprehensive engineered approach addressed the challenges of drilling horizontal wells by using a high-performance aluminum complex and polyamine chemistry to improve wellbore stability.

This approach for drilling fluid chemistry provides an alternative replacement for previously used nonaqueous drilling fluids. Three wells were drilled successfully, and the lessons learned on these wells were incorporated in drilling subsequent wells to continue improving drilling performance.

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