Teamwork Results in World-Record Length Casing String
- M.J. Jellison (Grant Prideco Inc.) | J.J. Eckroth (Burlington Resources) | Jim Fulton (Burlington Resources) | L.A. Ogren (Burlington Resources) | P.W. Moore (Grant Prideco Inc.) | Vance Barber (Halliburton Energy Services) | Don Vesely (Baroid Drilling Fluids Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- March 1999
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 50 - 56
- 1999. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 1.7.1 Underbalanced Drilling, 1.14.3 Cement Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.7.5 Well Control, 2 Well Completion, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 1.14.1 Casing Design, 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.14 Casing and Cementing
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On 12 April 1996 Louisiana Land and Exploration Company successfully ran andcemented a 14,510 ft string of 16-in. 146.2 lbf/ft (0.907-in. wall) P-110casing in their Big Horn 4-36 well located in Fremont County, Wyoming. Thestring had an air weight of over 2.1 million pounds and a hook load of over 1.8million pounds. This world record feat was the result of a concerted, teameffort involving Engineering, Purchasing, Suppliers, and Service Companies. The16-in. casing string played a critical role in drilling the well that had atotal depth of over 24,000 ft. The paper details the complementary roles andcontributions of each group involved in this challenging project. The overallwell design philosophy is discussed along with a review of the detailed 16-in.casing design structural load and von Mises triaxial stress analysis. Thespecialized casing material specifications and manufacturing procedures arepresented and related to casing string performance requirements. The paperoutlines the casing connector selection criteria and describes the premiumconnector used on the casing string to withstand the high axial forces andpressures encountered while running the casing and drilling the well. Theequipment and procedures used to safely and efficiently run the casing stringin a total of only 43 hr from rig up to tear down with 31 hr running time arealso described. The 14,510 ft casing string was cemented back to the surface ina single stage. The paper addresses the importance of the mud properties priorto cementing as well as the design and execution of the cement job. Both werecritical to successfully completing the job.
The Big Horn 4-36 is located in the Madden Deep Unit, a giant, prolific gasfield in the Wind River Basin approximately 75 miles west of Casper, Wyoming.The Madden Deep Unit is a 70,000 acre federal exploratory unit centered overone of the largest structural features in the state of Wyoming.
The Madden anticline is nearly 20 miles long and 10 miles wide. The fieldwas discovered in 1968 and is currently operated by Burlington Resources.Cumulative gas production is in excess of 450 Bcf.
The Big Horn 4-36 is the third well to penetrate the deep Madison formation.Monsanto Oil Company began drilling the Big Horn 1-5 well in 1983. BHPPetroleum spudded the second well, the Big Horn 2-3 in 1986. These first twowells commenced production in April 1995 to a newly completed gas plant. Thewells produce at plant capacity of approximately 55 MMcf/D. The Madisonformation contains highly corrosive gas at high temperatures. H2Scontent is 11.5%, CO2 content is 19.5%, and the bottom holetemperature is 430°F.1
Well Design Philosophy
Fig. 1 depicts the well design that incorporates 42-in. conductorpipe, 30-in. surface casing, 20- and 16-in. intermediate casing strings, an 117/8-in. drilling liner, 9 7/8-in., and 7 3/4-in. drilling/production liners,and a 5 in. nickel-base corrosion resistant alloy (CRA) production liner set attotal depth.
The completion design includes a string of 4 1/2-in.×4-in. nickel-base CRAproduction tubing landed into a 60 ft PBR at the top of the 5-in. productionliner.
The casing seats were fully determined by the pore pressures and the mudweights required to drill the well (Fig. 2). The unique pore pressureprofile with geopressured zones below the 16-in. casing and the 9 7/8-in.drilling liner followed by a depleted zone below the 11 7/8-in. drilling linerand a normal pressure zone below the 7 3/4-in. drilling liner complicated theoverall well design. Potentially intense collapse and burst loads require theuse of thick wall, heavy weight casing for the drilling casing strings. Due tothe large number of intermediate casing strings and drilling liners required tosafely drill the well to total depth, allowance for any contingency drillingcasing string or liner was essentially eliminated. Consequently, setting casingat the correct target depths was essential.
The 16-in. intermediate casing string was the single longest string in thewell other than the 10 3/4-in.×9 7/8-in. production tieback. Its primaryfunction was to protect the near normally pressured Lower Fort Union and Lanceformations while drilling the overpressured Mesaverde formation. After runningthe 9 7/8-in. drilling liner at 19,958 ft, the 10 3/4-in.×9 7/8-in. tieback wasset isolating the 16-in. casing string from the open well bore. Potentiallyextreme collapse loads approaching complete evacuation were possible if theCody interval exhibited the expected depletion. The 16-in. casing could not bedesigned to handle these potentially intense collapse loads withoutcompromising drift/bit size and significantly increasing the overall cost ofthe well.
Although the well contained H2S in quantities sufficient to makeit sour, the 16-in. casing was covered by the tieback prior to drilling intothe H2S bearing formations.
There are generally no particularly difficult or unusual drilling problemsassociated with drilling the Lower Fort Union and Lance sections. This well,though, did encounter a water flow. The water's source was a water disposalwell located a little more than a half mile from the well site. The mud weightrequired to prevent the water flow was approximately 2 lbm/gal over the normalmud weight required to drill this section of the well. This resulted in a lowerdifferential between the mud weight and fracture gradient complicating wellcontrol operations. In addition, the reduced differential between mud weightand formation fracture gradient made design of the cement job more difficultwith maintenance of a minimum equivalent circulating density during cementingcritical.
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