Problems and Proposed Solutions for Drilling and Completion of Salt Deposits at Gulf of Mexico and Brazil’s Offshore Cases

Cuevas Palencia, Cristian Fernando (Universidad Industrial de Santander) | Hernandez Forero, Laura Yesenia (Universidad Industrial de Santander)


SUMMARY: The objective of this work is to find and study the problems with the challenges that Mexico and Brazil have faced in order to obtain hydrocarbons from salt rock in the exploration, drilling and complete stages and the measures have taken for their solutions. Methodologies adopted to carry out this research include: reading papers, scientific journals, books, graduation projects, industry reports. Most of the information was collected at PUC-Rio and Petrobras, in Brazil. The research is focused on data acquisition, mud contamination, cementation, and the phenomenon known as affluence of salt. When taking seismic data from areas with high noise potential due to the presence of salt rock, it is recommended to use a WAZ technique in the first instance to avoid cost overruns. Concluding, a good characterization of the type of salt is very important, verify the composition and determine how clean or dirty saline rock is, because its behavior facing changes of temperature and pressure varies according to its chemical composition. This will allow the best measures to be taken in order to avoid potential problems such as inflow or increase in the rheological properties of the mud.


Due to the problems presented when drilling saline deposits and the belief of the absence of hydrocarbons under those structures, these formations were for a long time avoided and little studied. However, the decline in reserves and discoveries that were made in West Africa, North Sea, Mexico and Brazil, made this type of structures attractive. This is the case of Brazil, which after the great discovery of the pre-salt has developed new methods of data acquisition, new theories of formation and migration of salt, as well as innovation in techniques and equipment in order to reduce the uncertainty, risks and costs. This paper compiles a review of methods, techniques and possible solutions to problems that are faced daily by geologists and engineers in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil.