Integrating Managed-Pressure Drilling Into HP/HT-Well Planning
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 82 - 83
- 2017. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4 in the last 30 days
- 61 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 188335, “Integrating Managed-Pressure Drilling Into HP/HT-Well Planning,” by Michael Cadd, Lewis Steven, and Robert Graham, Shell; Fedderik van der Bos, Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij; Craig Leggett, Blade Energy Partners; and Emil Stoian, Weatherford, prepared for the 2017 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, 13–16 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Managed-pressure drilling (MPD) is an increasingly common technique in narrow-margin high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) wells. However, MPD is sometimes viewed as a bolt-on technology, only added after much of the planning work has been carried out and all other alternatives have been exhausted. The decision to use MPD should be made at the earliest stage of well planning. An early commitment to integrate MPD into an HP/HT drilling operation can make MPD more than just an enabling tool and turn it into a performance tool that offers significant operational benefits.
Project 1. For an HP/HT field redevelopment in the UK North Sea, seven side-track wells were drilled from a jack-up over an existing platform. MPD was used from the beginning, but the full benefits of MPD were not realized until later in the project. MPD was initially included to hold surface backpressure (SBP) across two connections to mitigate borehole-stability risk in an un stable shale. However, once the system was operational, further benefits continued to be identified and the scope of MPD operations grew significantly. At the same time, more knowledge of the subsurface was being gained, and it became clear that some of the planned wells would not be drillable without MPD because of a significantly reduced drilling window in the overburden. MPD became a key part of the design philosophy for later wells, where managed-pressure techniques were used to set and cement casings significantly deeper than would have been possible conventionally. MPD successfully mitigated classical HP/HT issues so that problems with losses and gains, handling of elevated gas levels, and mud-weight-selection issues were all virtually eliminated.
Project 2. For a standalone HP/HT exploration well drilled from a jack-up offshore the Netherlands, MPD was initially selected because of the extremely narrow margins between the pore and fracture pressures in the 8½- and 6-in. sections. Conventional drilling would not have been possible without inducing losses and spending significant time circulating to adjust mud weights, as seen in a key offset well. Taking advantage of the learnings from Project 1, MPD was selected at an early stage of the planning process and was fully integrated into the well design and operations. Mud weight, drilling parameters, and bottomhole-assembly design were all tailored to suit MPD operations. Integrated HP/HT and MPD procedures were developed on the basis of traditional HP/HT techniques but were modified to make full use of the additional functionality provided by MPD. A combined HP/HT and MPD training course was developed, and key personnel were trained in HP/HT and MPD techniques. Rig modifications were made well in advance, and MPD was implemented one hole section earlier than required to familiarize all crews with the new equipment and procedures. The result was a potentially extremely challenging well that was drilled without any of the conventional HP/HT problems observed in the offset wells.
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