In Vietnam, there was a need of a lean surface casing due to restricted drift inside diameter (ID). The 2nd slot of the splitter conductor only have 13-1/2" ID max pass through. The practical option is to drill with 12-1/4" bit and open to 14-1/2" hole to set 11-3/4" casing OD. Similar reasoning for the intermediate hole that will require to under ream the hole from 10-5/8" bit to 12-1/4" hole and set 9-5/8" casing OD. Although these under reaming operations are commonly practiced, the technical limitations are still inefficient and compromising. Conventional reamers still have limited activation/deactivation cycle for operational flexibility and long rathole of the reamer to bit depth for casing shoe placement.
The long awaited technology is now available with the presence of intelligent reamers that have unlimited activation & deactivation cycles and can be placed directly above the rotary steerable system for shortest possible rathole. The setup is to combine two intelligent reamers in a single BHA. The 1st reamer placed strategically on top of the MWD & LWD tools while the 2nd reamer is directly above the rotary steerable system tool. As both reamers can be both activated and deactivated through downlinking, the reamer has to be activated simultaneously to control the risks associated with hole opening and LWD data acquisition. The 1st intelligent reamer will be activated first while drilling the section formation and the 2nd intelligent reamer will then be activated at section TD to ream and shorten the rathole. For the purpose of cleaning the hole effectively, both reamers can be deactivated to execute high flow and RPM without creating new cuttings from the reamer blades and avoid making a bigger hole at the low side.
This enabled shoe to shoe drilling while under reaming and achieving less than 10m rathole. These operational capabilities saved at least 50% of the section rig time compared to having a 2 trip system. Combination of reduced casing shoe rathole and open hole exposure mitigated the well bore instability risks and helps in managing mud weight for both hole section intervals. The unlimited activation cycle provided flexibility in operations particularly in dealing with hole cleaning and wiper trips. Plus, the intelligent reamer provides realtime reamer diameter which gives confidence on the drilled hole size for casing running preparation and decisions.
Intelligent reamers have unique tool features that differentiate from the rest of current industry technologies. This feature helps to eliminate the risk of under-reamer balling, which improve the rate of penetration. The success of the operation has spread throughout operators in Vietnam, and now the intelligent reamer is considered as a game changer application in drilling lean casing profiles.