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Managed-Pressure-Drilling Technology Succeeds in the Harding Field

This paper presents a case history of a North Sea well in which managed-pressure drilling (MPD) was used as the enabling technology to drill, case, and cement the well, with particular focus on the planning process, design methodology, and execution particulars. A novel fluid-pressure-transmission pill (FPTP), composed of a crosslinked polymer, was also used to maintain hydrostatic pressure while tripping bottomhole assemblies (BHAs) and during deployment of the liner and sand-control equipment.

Background and Drilling Challenges

The Harding field is a mature North Sea platform development upon which an infill-drilling project has been initiated to access the remaining oil. This oil tends to lie in more-distant, hard-to-reach targets, including those in the far north of the field and a new field located south of the platform. These would be accessed by extended-reach-drilling (ERD) wells. A combination of reservoir depletion and weak interbedded sands and shales has resulted in a further reduction in the already narrow mud-weight (MW) window between fracture and formation-collapse pressures. The window had decreased from 2 to 0.7 lbm/gal, equivalent to a 200‑psi bottomhole-pressure (BHP) window. ERD to access the oil accumulations most distant from the platform would generate equivalent circulating densities that are 50% greater than the available MW window, so these wells are not conventionally drillable.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 166170, “Managed-Pressure Drilling, Casing, and Cementing Enable Success in Conventionally Undrillable Wells in the Harding Field,” by Mohamed A. Mashaal, Tom Fuller, Chris J. Brown, and Robert Paterson, BP, prepared for the 2013 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, 30 September–2 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Managed-Pressure-Drilling Technology Succeeds in the Harding Field

01 May 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 5

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