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One of the major challenges of drilling and completion of oil and gas wells is the uncertainty in the formation fracture gradient and the fracture pressure. It is not uncommon that many drilling companies have spent money, resources and time in drilling and completing wells that should have been simply and optimally done. Fracture gradient evaluation constitutes one of the essential parameters in the pre-design stage of drilling operations, reservoir exploitations and stimulations. Several calculation methods and computer models have been presented in the literature for different regions of the world. Most of these techniques were based on either parametric or empirical correlations, which required a prior knowledge of the functional forms or the use of empirical charts which were not very accurate.
This paper presents an innovative method of predicting formation fracture gradient for Gulf of Guinea region. A combination of "Mathew and Kelly?? correlation, "Hubbert and Willis?? correlation and Ben Eaton mathematical models were used in developing the simplified technique based on field data from the Gulf of Guinea. The model compared favorably with the existing fracture gradient results in the Gulf of Guinea with less than 1 % deviation from other correlations thereby saving the rigors and time in using tables, charts and other long techniques. Although the method was developed specifically for the Gulf of Guinea, it should be reliable for other similar areas provided that the variables reflect the conditions in the specific area being considered.
It is very important to design a stable mud system for any detailed drilling programs. Application of the best practices and well planned engineering field execution is critical in drilling and completing HPHT wells in a cost effective manner and minimal operational problems. Conventional mud designs and test equipment fell short of addressing the inherent problems associated with HPHT wells. In this study, the conventional practices in mud design were reviewed and advances in design for best practices developed for Mafia field. Many of the conventional practices were actually found to be inadequate for HPHT drilling. This paper present techniques on determining and applying mud properties at HPHT deep wells through a rigorous laboratory test and mathematical equations to generate detailed engineering guidelines for HPHT drilling fluids .Water based mud were formulated with special additives at temperature between 250-500oF and 5,000-10,000 psi to check for its stability under such elevated temperature and pressure. A standard temperature concept used for controlling the surface mud weight was defined. With the actual field results from the Mafia field, model equations were developed and the sensitivity analysis done to show the relative influence of pressure and temperature on the drilling fluids using the spider and tornado plots . The model equations derived from the multiple regression analysis were used to predict and rank the best rheological properties for the field , thereby saving the time and rigors associated with laboratory experiments.