After analyzing the historical data of neighboring wells adjacent to the drilling site, 11 bit trips were required due to the low mechanical performance of the bottom hole assembly elements. This observation is based on maximum circulation hours and low helical bucking values that make it uneconomic to drill the sections with a positive displacement motor drive system. A redesign the bottom hole assembly was proposed to achieve an improved mechanical performance which allowed the section to be drilled with a single assembly.

With a focus on increasing the mechanical limitations of the downhole elements, the use of 4 ¾" equipment is considered instead of the 3 ½" standard equipment used in this hole size. One of the biggest challenges was modifying the 4 ¾" positive displacement motor (PDM) to fit into the 5 ½" hole given that the mud motor has a maximum unmodified diameter of 5 ½".

Using the force analysis module of a State-of-the-art BHA modelling software suite, multiple iterations were performed to simulate and validate an alternative PDM design and accompanying directional assembly. This new design featured modifications to an existing 4 ¾" PDM deploying a long gauge bit in combination with a fit for purpose measurement while drilling system.

After numerous runs using this assembly design, it was found that there was no additional or unexpected wear of the modified Mud Motor components or associated elements of the downhole equipment. These observations act to validate the pre-job engineering force analysis.

With the improved mechanical specifications of the 4 ¾" Bottom Hole Assembly (BHA) components, circulating hours were increased from 100 hours to 250+ hours in a stepwise process. This enabled drilling of the entire 5 ½" section with a single BHA, comparing favorably to the legacy approach with an average of eleven bit runs.

The modified 4 ¾" PDM coupled with long gauge bit technology enabled a reduction in the oriented to rotate drilling ratio and an associated increase in the overall rate of penetration (ROP).

It can be concluded that the substitution of 4 ¾" drilling equipment for 3 ½" in the 5 ½" hole section, increased the drilling efficiency between 30-50% according to field data obtained in Ukraine.

The modified 4 ¾" PDM combined with long gauge bit technology has the potential to improve 5 ½" hole drilling performance in other locations. Following a structured planning process using State-of-the-art BHA modelling software suite enabling the evaluation of the significant forces that act in the drilling assembly and so significantly reducing the risks associated with exceeding the original design limits of the assembly. By improving the mechanical performance of the drilling assembly in a 5 ½" hole, new territory for drilling engineers and design engineers is now available to increase the drilling performance in slim wellbores.

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