Novel Drilling Fluids Enable Record High-Temperature Well Offshore Malaysia

Topics: Drilling fluids HP/HT
Fig. 1: Comparison of HP/HT fluid properties in the 9½-in. interval (surface mud from an active well).

Despite hostile wellbore conditions, an operations team overcame challenges of drilling-fluid design and management to drill the first ultrahigh-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT), deep-gas well offshore Malay Peninsula. With a bottomhole temperature (BHT) of 488°F, the well reached the highest temperature ever recorded in Southeast Asia. Thorough planning and advanced drilling-fluid technology resulted in drilling fluids with extreme temperature stability. Designing, planning, and deploying a thermally stable drilling fluid for this high-temperature environment helped reduce the time required for circulating or conditioning, thus reducing rig time and mud treatment cost.


Because of extreme wellbore conditions, HP/HT drilling and exploration involve engineering expertise, competent well design, and enabling HP/HT technologies. Among enabling technologies, thermally stable drilling-fluid systems remain one of the key components for successful HP/HT drilling operations. As a result of fluid-engineering design and extensive testing, a suitable ultra-HP/HT drilling fluid was formulated with a maximum mud density of 18 lbm/gal and thermal stability of 455°F. The successful drilling of this first ultra-HP/HT gas well set a new benchmark for the operator in designing, planning, and managing drilling fluid. The effort underlines the importance of high-temperature drilling-fluid technology, which led to reduced cost and time in the operation.

Well Background and Operational Goal. The well was the operator’s first­ ­ultra-HP/HT, deep-gas exploration well in the south Malay basin. It was a straight-hole, vertical well with a water depth of 251 ft. The well was drilled to a total depth of 14,380 ft, where it reached a pressure of 14,282 psi and maximum bottomhole static temperature (BHST) of 488°F. The operational goal of the well was the evaluation of the hydrocarbon potential in the Group M sandstone, where the reservoir pressure and temperature are greater than 14,000 psi and 450°F, respectively.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 170557, “Novel Drilling Fluids Enable Record High-Temperature, Deep-Gas Exploration Well Offshore Peninsula of Malaysia,” by A. Witthayapanyanon, SPE, Baker Hughes; K.A. Nasrudin, F. Wahid, M.M. Pepple, SPE, and M. Abshar, Petronas; and A.B. Dollah, K. Chandramouleeswaran, A. Kongsawast, SPE, R.G. Bland, and D.K. Clapper, SPE, Baker Hughes, prepared for the 2014 SPE/IADC Asia Pacific Drilling Technology Conference and Exhibition, Bangkok, Thailand, 25–27 August. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Novel Drilling Fluids Enable Record High-Temperature Well Offshore Malaysia

01 November 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 11