Challenge: Improve drilling time and cost efficiency while drilling the 6-in lateral section in a formation with an influx of thick, heavy paraffin that led to high pump pressures, high equivalent circulating density (ECD), and very slow rate of penetration (ROP).
Solution: Apply managed pressure drilling with HydraGlyde high-performance water-base drilling fluid system to improve ROP and wellbore stability while eliminating the environmental impact and drilling costs associated with oil-base mud (OBM).
Extended-reach wells in the Rocky Mountains present many drilling challenges, including reactive shale, heavy paraffin influx, and elevated drilling fluid rheology. To overcome excessive torque and drag, the Newfield Exploration historically used OBM in the lateral section. However, with ROP in the range of just 50 to 70 ft/h, the operator wanted to improve drilling efficiency by switching to a high-performance water-base mud.
M-I SWACO recommended managed pressure drilling with the HydraGlyde high-performance water-base drilling fluid system—specially designed for shale plays—along with a different BHA. The drilling fluid system consisted of an unviscosified sodium chloride base treated with the HydraSpeed ROP-enhancing primary lubricant, HydraHib shale inhibitor, and the HydraCap encapsulating additive. These main components deliver penetration rates and wellbore stability similar to an oil-base mud while providing the cost savings of water-base systems.
During previous drilling campaigns, the average time to drill laterals was 16 to 25 days. Using the unviscosified HydraGlyde system in combination with managed pressure drilling and a different BHA, the operator drilled the 9,847-ft lateral section at an ROP of up to 250 ft/h, reaching TD in just 10 days—a new area record. In addition to mitigating torque issues and environmental impact, the HydraGlyde system eliminated transportation, dilution, and disposal costs associated with oil-base mud, significantly increasing the cost efficiency of extended-reach drilling in the Rocky Mountain region.
Download: Newfield Exploration Uses HydraGlyde Fluid System to Nearly Triple ROP and Reach TD in Record Time (0.12 MB PDF)