MPD eliminates casing string, saves USD 6 million in GOM

Gulf of Mexico, North America, Offshore

@balance Control™ MPD systems enabled a deepwater Gulf of Mexico operator to overcome pressure-related issues—drilling the 12¼-in × 14⅕-in section in one run with just one casing string instead of two. The innovative managed pressure drilling (MPD) strategy improved daily drilling footage by 167%, saved more than 14 rig days, and mitigated 1,688 metric tons of CO2e.

An operator needed to keep its complex Gulf of Mexico prospect on track and on budget. However, the weak formation’s narrow drilling margin presented a major risk of pressure-related events, such as ballooning, lost circulation, and wellbore instability. Any one of these issues could lead to days—or even weeks—of costly nonproductive time. The operator wanted an MPD solution that would improve safety and efficiency while drilling its production section.

Working in close collaboration with the operator’s drilling engineers, SLB deployed the industry’s only complete integrated deepwater MPD solution, which provided all equipment, software, and systems in a single platform. The solution included the integrated MPD riser joint, below-tension-ring rotating control device (BTR RCD), sealed rotating systems, and @balance Control MPD systems.

With the integrated MPD solution in place, the operator was able to start with a lower mud weight and equivalent circulating density, maintaining the ability to adjust backpressure in response to changing conditions, such as fluid loss or kicks, while ensuring constant bottomhole pressure during static periods. In addition, the solution enabled the drilling team to detect flow deviations and identify potential hazards that could jeopardize the drilling plan.

Bar graph showing a 58% reduction in rig time using MPD.
The @balance Control MPD systems reduced rig time by 58% compared with offset runs using conventional drilling strategies.

The MPD solution from SLB enhanced drilling efficiency by simultaneously improving drilling speed, extending tool life, mitigating pressure-related issues, and reducing rig footprint. With MPD, the operator successfully drilled the entire interval in one run using only one casing string—with no fluid losses. The MPD drilling strategy avoided the use of lost-circulation materials, eliminated the 11⅞-in liner, increased average daily footage by 167%, and cut more than 14 rig days—saving USD 6 million in well construction costs compared with offset wells. These efficiencies contributed to a 58% reduction in rig time and prevented the generation of 1,688 metric tons of CO2e emissions.

Bar graph showing a 167% increase in daily drilling footage using MPD.
The MPD solution improved average daily drilling footage by 248 ft/d—an increase of 167% compared with offset wells.
Products Used