Drilling the First Horizontal Well in the Gulf of Mexico: A Case History of East Cameron Block 278 Well B-12
- E.K. Fisher (Texaco Inc.) | M.R. French (Texaco Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling Engineering
- Publication Date
- June 1992
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 86 - 92
- 1992. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.4 Drillstring Design, 2.7.1 Completion Fluids, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 1.8 Formation Damage, 1.1 Well Planning, 1.14.3 Cement Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.6.1 Drilling Operation Management, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 1.12.1 Measurement While Drilling, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 1.5 Drill Bits, 2.2.2 Perforating
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East Cameron Block 278 Well B-12 was the first horizontal well drilled in the Gulf of Mexico. This well, located in the Texaco Inc. operated East Cameron 265 field, was drilled and completed in May 1990. The objective formation was a high-permeability, shallow, unconsolidated gas sand located about 1,450 ft below the mudline (BML). The success of this well proved that horizontal wells are viable alternatives to extended-reach development wells from offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The cost to drill and complete this horizontal well was less than comparable extended-reach development wells drilled in the same field. A minimal increase in drilling costs accompanied by considerable savings in completion costs resulted in favorable economics for the project. Drilling a shallow horizontal well in the Gulf of Mexico presented several challenges. This paper discusses prewell planning, formulation of contingency plans, and implementation of a drilling/completion program designed to meet these challenges.
The East Cameron 265 field covers East Cameron Blocks 265, 278, and 283 in the Gulf of Mexico (Fig. 1). The development drilling in this field was performed from Platform A, located in Block 265, and Platforms B and C, located in Block 278. Platform B is set in 250 ft of water on the northern end of the block bordering the flanks of a shallow-gas bright spot. The platform is strategically located to develop the multiple gas reservoirs located in East Cameron Blocks 265 and 278 (Fig. 2).
The gas-bearing sands developed from Platform B range from 1,700 to 10,600 ft true vertical depth (TVD). The field, in the area of Platform H, contains three shallow gas sands located at 1,700, 2,800, and 3,200 ft TVD. The platform location eliminates the hazard of drilling through these shallow gas sands to the deeper horizons. Platform placement forced the use of extended-reach directional wells to develop the shallow horizons properly.
East Cameron 265 Well B-11 was drilled as an S-shaped directional to prove and develop reserves in the three shallow gas sands in the northern fault block. This well reached a maximum angle of 82° and was completed successfully in the 3,200-ft sand. The success of this high-angle well bestowed confidence that a shallow horizontal well was possible for development of the 1, 700-ft sand.
The 1,700-ft sand is a high-permeability, unconsolidated, Pliocene sandstone. This sand logged 65 ft of gas over 110 ft of water in Well 4 located in the southern fault block (Fig. 3). This sand also logged 42 ft of gas over 120 ft of water in the high-angle Well B-11 (northern fault block). The sand appears to be a bifurcating channel deposit.
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