Schlumberger

Technical Paper: Overcoming a Difficult Salt Drilling Environment in the Gulf of Mexico: A Case Study

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 128192
Presentation Date: 2010
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Abstract

Just a decade ago few companies intentionally penetrated and drilled the large salt sections in the Gulf of Mexico. Problems common to drilling in salt led to excessive NPT: hole instability, stuck pipe, tools lost in hole, among others.

Techniques are now available that enable successful drilling of many of these large salt structures, but there still are some formations with characteristics that make drilling challenging. The focus of this paper is one such ultradeep subsalt prospect and the strategies used to overcome the key issues of nonhomogeneous salt formations, shock and vibration, and salt inclusions. Application of new and emerging technologies and techniques for drilling in similar environments emphasized drilling parameter optimization, bottomhole assembly tendencies, and stuck-pipe analysis. The authors present comparisons of the results expected prior to optimization measures and the actual results.

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