Evaluation of Experiment Program 2004: Natural Hydrate Exploration Campaign in the Nankai-Trough Offshore Japan
- M. Matsuzawa (Japan Drilling Co. Ltd.) | S. Umeza (Japan Drilling Co. Ltd.) | K. Yamamoto (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- IADC/SPE Drilling Conference, 21-23 February, Miami, Florida, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2006. IADC/SPE Drilling Conference
- 1.14.1 Casing Design, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 5.9.1 Gas Hydrates, 1.2.2 Geomechanics, 1.6.1 Drilling Operation Management, 1.14.4 Cement and Bond Evaluation, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.3.1 Hydrates, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3 Production and Well Operations, 1.12.1 Measurement While Drilling, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 1.12.2 Logging While Drilling, 5.6.11 Reservoir monitoring with permanent sensors, 5.5.11 Formation Testing (e.g., Wireline, LWD), 1.7 Pressure Management, 7.2.3 Decision-making Processes, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.5 Drill Bits, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.5.10 Remotely Operated Vehicles, 4.2.4 Risers, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials
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Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan has decided to carry out the 16 years research and development program of natural methane hydrate (MH) resources and set up the Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan (MH21) in 2001. 
In 2004, a multi-well exploration campaign in the Nankai-Trough was conducted as a national project led by METI. It was organized by Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) in collaboration with Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. (JAPEX) and Teikoku Oil Co., Ltd. (TOC) as drilling operators. All scheduled programs were performed with deepwater research vessel "JOIDES Resolution?? operated by Transocean. There were 30 wells drilled mainly for geological research purposes and 2 wells drilled for engineering experiment purposes during this campaign. 
The purpose of experiment was to obtain the engineering data and to verify technologies which would be required for the future possible production from the natural hydrate offshore of Japan. The following experiments, which were 1) Drilling fluids applicability for borehole stability, 2) Monitoring the downhole pressure and temperature while drilling, 3) Cementing, 4) Formation / fracture pressure measurements, 5) Capability to horizontally drill unconsolidated formations and hydrate layers in very shallow section below the seabed, was conducted by drilling 2 wells in 19 days. This experiment program was undertaken by Japan Drilling Co., Ltd. (JDC) under contract with JOGMEC for the planning and for the analysis of obtained data, and with JAPEX for the operation.
As a result of the experiment, effectiveness of the drilling fluids which were used to the borehole stability was confirmed. The specially designed cement slurry covered up the hydrate formations. The pressure measurement executed at several points including the hydrate formations by using Cased Hole Dynamics Tester (CHDT*) acquired effective data. The horizontal well was executed almost on the planned path and it was able to drill about 300m length of the hydrate layers including 100m length of horizontal section at 340mTVD below the seabed.
A further research and development is scheduled to be promoted with the method of completion of the production test well.
The Bottom Simulated Reflector (BSR) had been widely recognized offshore Japan by the 2D / 3D seismic survey and it means that a large amount of existence of methane hydrates (MH) is expected underneath the sea floor in the area.  The national project had been organized by METI for 5 years since 1995 for the initial R&D study of MH as one of the future natural resources. The exploration program "Nankai Trough?? which was the first exploratory wells for MH research in Japan had been executed at the location (Water depth = 945m) recognized the clear BSR on the seismic map. It had been established the MH bearing formations between 1135m and 1213mBMSL* by the results of LWD / WL (Logging While Drilling / Wire Line Logging) data and many scientific data had been collected for the analyses of MH characteristics, MH bearing layers, and sediments surrounded MH bearing layers from the wells. The fresh core samples which showed the MH filled in the pore space of sand sediments had been successfully recovered by the newly developed core sampler named "PTCS (Pressure and Temperature Core Sampler)??. Meanwhile, some operational troubles related to the WL and cementing had been induced as a result of abnormal borehole enlargement and the deterioration of borehole condition because of the extensional period as the open hole condition.
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