When operators face complex pressure regimes that make conventional drilling in horizontal applications difficult, the implementation of managed pressure drilling (MPD) techniques has proven successful in achieving planned well objectives while minimizing non-productive time (NPT) from pressure and stability related events. When properly planned and executed, MPD techniques can ultimately reduce overall time and cost of even the most complex wells by managing the challenges from narrow pressure profiles. MPD, where a constant bottomhole pressure (BHP) dynamic target is at, or just above, reservoir/pore pressure for drilling, during connections and tripping, and also while running casing and during cementing operations, offers solutions for many of today's challenges in horizontal applications.

This dynamic target BHP for horizontal applications, whether controlling at the curve, the heel, or the toe (an exclusive technology), can be dialed into ?on demand? according to current conditions and situations encountered using these automated techniques. The challenges discussed in this paper that these automated techniques solve include the following:

  1. Accessing mature reservoirs.

    • More solutions for managing depleted zone challenges.

    • Better equivalent circulating density (ECD) control for extended-reach drilling (ERD).

  2. Navigating through narrow pressure margins.

    • Provides instantaneous, accurate, and precise BHP adjustments, as well as equivalent mud weight (EMW).

  3. Operating in fragile formations.

    1. Minimizes pressure cycling.

    2. EMW on demand to improve borehole stability and control collapse issues.

  4. Improving zonal isolation.

    • Dynamic BHP control during cementing operations.

  5. Minimizing fluid infiltration into reservoir.

    • BHP maintained at, or just above, reservoir/pore pressure.

  6. Rate of penetration (ROP) enhancement.

    1. Ability to lighten mud weight but maintain a range of instantaneous EMW ?ON DEMAND.?

This paper discusses how operators have used automated MPD techniques in horizontal applications, including unconventional shale plays, to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve recovery. To achieve the results demanded by today's cost-driven operations, NPT must be kept to a minimum. MPD is proving itself day in and day out to be a value-added service.

URTeC 1593055

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