The giant Pinedale gas field, which is approximately 35 miles long and 6 miles wide, is the largest structural feature in the northern Green River Basin of Wyoming, with conservative estimates of in-place natural gas at 159 Tcf. The Pinedale field ranks as the third-largest gas field in the United States by proved reserves. Gas production is primarily from a 5,500 ft-thick "Lance Pool" on top of the Ericson Sandstone. The pay zone consists of Upper Cretaceous sandstones of the Lance Formation, the Upper Mesaverde Group, and a Paleocene "unnamed" unit. The reservoir is classified as tight gas due to its low porosity and micro-Darcy permeability. The lenticular sands and stratigraphic nature of this area make horizontal drilling impractical, and deviated well drilling is prevalent.
By 2010, the average drilling time was reduced to 15 days by application of automated vertical-seeking tools with limited availability and poor cost effectiveness. Design and reliability improvements to various downhole tools have further reduced the average drilling time to 12.8 days with a conventional adjustable kick-off sub (AKO) mud motor by 2012. However, due to the various downhole tools involved, a bottomhole assembly (BHA) result analysis is a key step to evaluate the effectiveness of each tool, improve BHA design, identify superior drilling strategy, and eventually optimize the overall drilling performance.
Several field cases are presented in this paper to conduct BHA result analysis, and several suggestions are promoted for future operations. These suggestions can reduce bit trip, improve oriented drilling efficiency, increase rotation rate of penetration (ROP) and save substantial financial resources for customers. The valuable information and lessons learned are crucial for Pinedale drilling operations, and they may be readily applied in other tight gas fields with similar characteristics to optimize drilling performance.