This paper describes technical studies undertaken at BP Exploration Technology Provision Centre and the application of these studies along with transfer of best practice and local knowledge to solve two specific problems encountered in drilling offshore Vietnam.

  1. Hole instability in shallow elastics : hole problems related to drilling shallow claystone sections with water based muds were being encountered; tight hole, bit balling, stabiliser balling, overgauge hole. This was causing lost time and increased costs. A technical audit involving the BPX Technology Provision Centre, Dowell IDF and BP Vietnam along with technology transfer from the North Sea Operations allowed the drilling fluid used on the problem section to be modified/optimised resulting in much improved drilling efficiency.

  2. Hole erosion in deeper elastics; the hole erosion encountered in deeper clastic sections of wells can lead to several problems, namely the failed attempts to secure adequate wellbore evaluation information in the reservoir section. Cores were available from problem formations and these were used in geomechanical and chemical analysis to ascertain the cause of the problem. Based on the findings it was possible to make recommendations to the drilling fluid programmes and drilling practices, which have lead to enhanced drilling efficiency and much improved wellbores.

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