The objective of this paper is to provide a context for strategic use of fluid sampling while drilling (FSWD) in the deep-water environment. Our work is based on data collected from Gulf of Mexico wells over the last 7 years and we incorporate both operator and service company experience. In this paper we review the current FSWD technology and the quality of the fluid samples. We provide practical guidelines for executing the FSWD operation and review types of wells where FSWD has been most effective. We also discuss the role FSWD plays in the business of efficient well construction (drilling, evaluating, and completing).

Strategic use of FSWD can provide time savings and operational risk mitigation. FSWD has proven to provide high quality data and fluid samples, however, an awareness of the differences between conventional fluid sampling (wireline) and sampling while-drilling is important for maximizing benefits. Additionally, long term strategic commitment to FSWD is likely to provide the largest benefits to operators.

FSWD has been around for about 10 years, but how, and where, to apply the technology has not been clear to many operators. The broader industry can benefit by learning from experiences accumulated through consistent and extensive FSWD use in deep-water wells showing how the technology has progressed, and how it is used to achieve business benefits.

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