Drilling reservoir section in the oilfield located in Far North region is challenged with high risks of mud losses ranging from relatively minor losses to severe lost circulation. Numerous attempts to cure losses with traditional methods have been inefficient and unsuccessful. This paper describes implementation of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) and Managed Pressure Cementing (MPC) techniques to drill 6-1/8″ hole section, run and cement 5″ liner managing bottomhole pressure and overcoming wellbore construction challenges.
Application of MPD technique enabled drilling 6-1/8″ hole section with statically underbalanced mud holding constant bottom hole pressure both in static and dynamic conditions. The drilling window uncertainty made it difficult to plan for the correct mud weight (MW) to drill the section. The MW and MPD design were chosen after risk assessment and based on the decisions from drilling operator. Coriolis flowmeter proved to be essential in deciphering minor losses and allowed quick response to changing conditions. Upon reaching target depth, the well was displaced to heavier mud in MPD mode prior to open hole logging and MPC.
MPD techniques allowed the client to drill thru fractured formation without losses or gains in just a couple of days as compared to the months of drilling time the wells usually took to mitigate wellbore problems, such as total losses, kicks, differential sticking, etc. This job helped the client to save time and reduce well construction costs while optimizing drilling performance.
Conventional cementing was not feasible in previous wells because of risks of losses, which were eliminated with MPC technique: bottomhole pressure (BHP) was kept below expected loss zones that provided necessary height of cement and a good barrier required to complete and produce the well. Successful zonal isolation applying MPC technique was confirmed by cement bond log and casing integrity test.
Throughout the project, real-time data transmission was available to the client and engineering support team in town. This provided pro-active monitoring and real-time process optimization in response to wellbore changes.
MPD techniques helped the client to drill the well in record time with the lowest possible mud weight consequently reducing mud requirements. The MPD system allowed obtaining pertinent reservoir data, such as pore pressure and fracture pressure gradients in uncertain geological conditions.