Successful Use of Directional Casing While Drilling

Penot, Steve (TOTAL) | Segui, Emmanuel (TOTAL) | Pickup, Duncan (SCHLUMBERGER)



This paper provides technical feedback of a successful use of Directional Casing While Drilling (D-CwD), a technique allowing to simultaneously drill and case the hole while following the directional plan. It highlights how substantial gains were realized on Badamyar project in Myanmar, having benefited from the D-CwD technique to optimize the architecture.

The Badamyar development campaign involved the drilling of four horizontal gas wells in conventional offshore environment in Myanmar. Other regional wells had already experienced wellbore issues to get the 13 3/8″ casing vertically to 450m. On Badamyar, drilling directly with the casing allowed to minimize operational exposure to losses and wellbore instability, and to achieve the challenge to get the 13 3/8″ to 800m and 45deg inclination, avoiding the requirement for an additional surface casing.

All four 13 3/8" sections were successfully directionally casing-drilled and cemented in fourteen days within budget duration, which, despite the additional complexity, is comparable to the best performance in the block in the last twenty years. The average Rate of Penetration was 30 m/hr, same as fastest conventional case in the field, without mentioning the huge advantage that when reaching the required depth, the casing is already in the hole. Indeed, once the casing has reached the required depth, drill pipe is run inside the casing to unlatch and recover the directional BHA, and pull it back to surface, leaving the casing in place ready for the cement job. While conventionally, casing still needs to be run with associated time and risks (losses, wellbore stability, stuck casing, accidental side-track, etc…).

This Directional-CwD was a new concept to most of the teams involved: Operator, Rig contractor and Tubular Running Services. It required changing the "hundred and thirty years of conventional drill-pipe drilling" mindset. This paper describes the decision making process to switch from conventional to casing-drilling, the preparation phase where risks were identified and mitigated, as well as the excellent operational results.

This paper, by presenting a successful first implementation within a major O&G company, brings to the drilling industry an additional case that the system works, is technically fit-for purpose, cost effective, and has the tremendous potential to replace conventional drilling in several applications. It also highlights some potential limits and opportunities for optimization which should be considered for further development (trajectory constraints, fatigue life and well control).