Surface Applied Back Pressure Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) systems provide a potentially game changing technology for Deepwater Gulf of Mexico drilling applications by means of annular pressure manipulation for drilling through narrow margins, cementing across potential loss zones, assisting in running completions, and mitigating nonproductive time. The technology however, is not without cost and the challenge remains to build the business case to utilize MPD in Deepwater applications. Recently several wells were successfully drilled using this technology to the planned target depth accessing reserves that would not have been possible otherwise. This type of scenario where using MPD to stay within a narrow margin has been the means to justify the upfront costs to get a rig outfitted with MPD and the operating costs of the system during use. Once a rig is outfitted with MPD, the economics for a project shift, however, justifying the business case purely based on NPT savings is still not typically viable. This paper will provide the operator's perspective of the cost-benefit analysis for MPD use and provide business case examples for the use in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The impact of lessons learned on an ongoing campaign and the savings viable for this and other implementation scenarios will also be discussed to develop a robust case for MPD adoption.
Shayegi, Sara (Shell) | Kabir, C. Shah (Hess Corporation) | If, Flemming (Hess Corporation) | Christensen, Soren (Hess Corporation) | Ken, Kosco (Hess Corporation) | Casasus-Bribian, Jaime (Hess Corporation) | Hasan, ABM K. (Hess Corporation) | Moos, Daniel (Dong E&P)
Shayegi, Sara (Hess Corp.) | Kabir, C. Shah (Hess Corp.) | If, Flemming (COWI) | Christiansen, Soren (Hess Corporation) | Kosco, Ken (Hess Corporation) | Casasus-Bribian, Jaime (Hess Corporation) | Hasan, Abm Khalid (Blade Energy Partners) | Moos, Hasse (DONG Energy E&P)
Al-Matar, Bader Suilaman (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-Atroshi, Kamal (Kuwait Oil Company) | Chetri, Hom B. (Kuwait Oil Company) | El-Aziz, Sabry Abd (Kuwait Oil Company) | Kabir, Mir Md. Rezaul (Kuwait Oil Company) | Shayegi, Sara (Halliburton Co.) | Ibrahim, Emad Bakri (Halliburton Energy Services Group)
Underbalanced drilling technology (UBD) has increased production potential from many oil and gas reservoirs worldwide. Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) decided to pilot this technology in Kuwaiti reservoirs to assess the viability of this technique and its capability to optimize production and development of their reservoirs. To maximize the potential for successful implementation, a scientifically rigorous process was implemented to evaluate the reservoir candidates.
The reservoirs include Upper Burgan, Mauddud, Tayarat, and Radhuma. Since there is a high degree of variation in reservoir quality, hydrocarbon properties, formation pressures and other properties depending on location, candidates from different locations were examined. In the first phase, a high order qualitative ranking of the candidates was performed. The basis of comparison included an examination of the reservoir and fluid properties, production data, review of the core, log and geological/geophysical data, drilling and operational information.
The ranking of the candidates was based on production potential, drilling benefits, potential for instability, early water break through, and other operational, reservoir and drilling considerations. The top-ranked candidates were examined determining the range of potential reservoir behavior during UBD and the corresponding wellbore hydraulics (drilling the well on paper) was performed.
It was concluded that UBD technology was suited for several of the reservoirs but that some of the candidates might not realize as much improvement as others to justify implementation in the first implementation stage. If UBD proves successful on the candidates chosen for the pilot study, the candidates showing a lesser degree of potential will again be considered.
This paper describes the screening methodology used and discusses the results from the candidate evaluation process.
The Margham gas field, discovered in the Emirate of Dubai (U.A.E.) in 1982, was heralded as a major discovery of its time, and to this day, still remains the largest onshore gas field in Dubai. This reservoir is characterized by a relatively low-porosity, over-pressured, highly fractured, and faulted carbonate. Production of the native retrograde gas condensate occurs primarily from three major formations: Shuaiba, Kharaib and Lekhwair in the Thamama limestone.
Commercial production from the field commenced in late 1984 with good performance being attributed to the highly developed and connected fracture network. The original reservoir pressure was in the range of +/- 7300 psi; however, the past decade has seen a marked decline in both pressure and associated production, with today's reservoir pressure averaging in the range of +/- 1800 psi.
With such a marked reduction in reservoir pressure coupled with complex geology, intricate vertical and deviated fracture networks, undefined faulting regimes, and retrograde fluid-phase behavior, the task of optimizing production is particularly difficult. All these factors, coupled with the relatively conventional well geometries, have made this field an ideal candidate for underbalanced directional technology. In early 2006, an underbalanced coiled-tubing campaign was commenced to optimize productivity.
This paper discusses the reservoir results generated by the implementation of underbalanced technology. Past reservoir performance of wells drilled overbalanced will be compared with current results for this field case. Recovery and potential reserve gains will also be discussed. Specific production targets and metrics that were set to evaluate success were completely fulfilled in the first few wells in this multi-well campaign.
The Margham onshore gas field is a limestone reservoir that was first put on production in the early 1980's. Originally, it produced a high condensate yield along with the gas; however, as the reservoir pressure decreased, so did the condensate rates! Eventually, gas was the primary production from this field. Because of the depletion being noted, an infill drilling campaign was commenced to recover by-passed hydrocarbons. It was determined that underbalanced drilling would be the best technique to use to avoid lost circulation problems in these very depleted formations (as low as ~1200 psi at 11,000 ft in some areas), and to minimize formation damage so that the maximum production could be realized. Between 2006 and 2007, an 11-well, coiled-tubing (CTD) underbalanced drilling (UBD) campaign was initiated from a mother wellbore to drill multilaterals. The drilling plan was to be conducted through the production tubing to access the by-passed hydrocarbons.
The Thamama Limestone group is highly fractured with the troublesome overlying Nahr Umr shale cap rock, which has caused drilling problems in the past. The drilling conditions would require careful planning since downhole temperatures reached 289ºF, and there were depleted pressures along with H2S and CO2 in the reservoir. The through-tubing drilling campaign was chosen as the best option, because it would reduce risks and the costs associated with a new well or having to pull existing tubing. The equipment and methods to drill successfully have been described in an earlier paper.1 In the referenced paper, the basic concepts and procedures for proper design of an underbalanced coiled-tubing drilling procedure for a multilateral well are reviewed, and those design concepts were used to formulate the strategies for the project discussed in this paper.
Nine wells were drilled in this underbalanced (UBCTD) campaign using a 3-in. bottomhole assembly (BHA).
In an underbalanced drilling process, the wellbore pressure in the openhole section is kept lower than the reservoir pressure. Unlike conventional overbalanced drilling or managed-pressure drilling (MPD) with reduced overbalance margin, the underbalanced drilling environment provides a unique opportunity to gather data that have the potential to provide important information about the reservoirs encountered during drilling.
When the wellbore is kept in an underbalanced condition, formation fluids are allowed to flow into the wellbore during the drilling process. Proper instrumentation, data acquisition, and drilling procedures allow continuous acquisition of data that can be analyzed for the purpose of extracting reservoir information. This capability to continually access reservoir data is a critical factor for assuring that UBD operations will reap the full benefit to the reservoir influx from the formation while drilling.
Underbalanced drilling (UBD) and managed pressure drilling (MPD) are gaining in popularity as drilling methodologies to overcome some of the problems faced in conventional overbalanced drilling. These techniques are complimentary technologies rather than completely separate techniques, MPD techniques at one time having been classified under UBD. Therefore, with the current terminology and the many similarities they are often confused with one another. Underbalanced drilling is a tool both for reservoir
performance improvement and reservoir characterization as well as for addressing drilling problems. MPD, on the other hand, is primarily a solution for mitigating drilling related problems. Both result in a reduction of non-productive time (NPT). Sometimes a combination of both techniques may be required for the same well.
Different operators have chosen UBD and MPD with the goal of curtailing severe fluid losses and other drilling-related problems associated with conventional overbalanced drilling. Often times, while applying this technique to solve these drilling problems, the reservoir benefits have become apparent and have convinced the operators to go to full underbalance to realize the full reservoir production benefits without any period of overbalance throughout drilling, tripping, and completion operations. They have often found that when using UBD for reservoir production improvement, it is possible to perform comprehensive characterization of the
reservoir while drilling. In some cases, zones that were not seen as productive during overbalanced operations have come to light, and reservoir characterization has enabled appraisal of these formations. Reservoir information obtained during the drilling phase can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with gathering and analyzing "well test?? type data post-completion with conventional methods and these methods have been field tested and results compared to conventional well testing with favorable results.
Underbalanced drilling was initially adopted for resolving drilling problems, but it soon became evident that this technique could also minimize reservoir damage. As originally conceived, underbalanced drilling technology included techniques that were fully underbalanced with influx to the surface as well as methods called "low-head?? and "at-balance?? drilling, in which the bottomhole pressure was kept marginally above or approximately equal to the pore pressure. These techniques later became designated as part of a separate category called managed pressure drilling, which has been adopted by the IADC.
Many would agree that all drilling from conventional to air drilling might be considered as a form of "Managed Pressure Drilling,?? since for a drilling project to be conducted in the safest manner, the pressure must be controlled or managed. However, for purposes of this paper, managed pressure drilling will be considered as a discrete method, referring to applications that are considered as at balance or "low-head?? (marginally overbalanced).
This paper will describe normalized data results from UBD and MPD case histories. It will quantify the differences between the two techniques in terms of equipment requirements, reservoir characterization potential as well as quantifying the technical and economic benefits/limitations of each.
Copyright 2006, SPE/IADC Indian Drilling Technology Conference and Exhibition This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2006 SPE/IADC Indian Drilling Technology Conference and Exhibition held in Mumbai, India, 16-18 October 2006. This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE/IADC Program Committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers or International Association of Drilling Contractors and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the SPE, IADC, their officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and International Association of Drilling Contractors is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Abstract The industry is now becoming more knowledgeable concerning underbalanced drilling (UBD) and managed pressure drilling (MPD). These techniques are gaining popularity because of their capability to control severe fluid losses and other problems that are inherent to conventional overbalanced drilling. As a result, considerable increase in their usage has been noted; however, with these increases, it has become apparent that there is a great deal of confusion concerning the basic concepts of each technique and when each should be used. Generally speaking, UBD can be described as a reservoir performance improvement and characterization tool that also provides drilling benefits. Another advantage is that UBD can offer a unique well testing environment in which the properties of reservoir layers can be determined while drilling.