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Wellbore Strengthening: The Mechanical Option

Photo courtesy of Weatherford International.
Workers on the rig floor prepare to deploy casing while drilling by using a drillable bit made of aluminum alloy. The method has been extensively used around the world to drill through depleted reservoirs and provide wellbore strengthening in other tough-to-drill areas.

Before many of the new chemical and nanoparticle technologies for wellbore strengthening arrived to the marketplace, casing while drilling (CWD) was used for more than a decade to mechanically achieve the same end. Weatherford International and other service companies have developed multiple technologies for CWD, as well as the similar method of liner drilling (LD). With CWD, the casing is the drillstring, and with LD, the liner is the drillstring.

CWD and LD technologies are building up a track record as operators encounter more difficult-to-drill frontier fields. Weatherford said it was contracted by a North Sea operator to use its LD technology in a field where three previous attempts resulted in two sidetracks and well suspension. The company said that with LD, the liner was set at the desired depth interval.

The primary applications of CWD and LD have so far been mainly offshore where operators are drilling through depleted zones to reach a deeper reservoir, which is becoming more common in the North Sea and US Gulf of Mexico, and in wells where operators are seeking to reduce time-consuming trips in and out of the well.

The technology is also being applied more in high-pressure/high-temperature wells where drilling windows are very narrow. “There is not much room between pore pressure and fracture gradient, so you need to get creative,” said Moji Karimi, Weatherford product line champion for CWD and LD technologies.

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Wellbore Strengthening: The Mechanical Option

Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

01 November 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 11

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