Performance Report: IFE Drastically Reduces Drilling Time and Costs in Colombia

Challenge: An operator drilling in the foothills of Colombia selected the M‐I SWACO INTEGRATED FLUIDS ENGINEERING (IFE) program for a challenging well. The IFE project team was involved from the very beginning of the project, from helping design the site location, to preparing the environmental program and final disposition of waste. On the basis of local experience, the operator planned for 50 days to reach TD in the 11,000‐ft (3353‐m) well, with another 19 days estimated for site closure.

Solution: M‐I SWACO prepared a detailed IFE drilling‐fluid, solids‐control and waste‐management plan for the well. The M‐I SWACO team recommended a semi‐dispersed PHPA drilling fluid system based on its excellent hole inhibition, high penetration rates, and cost effectiveness. Early in the project, the IFE engineer stressed the importance of maintaining good flow propertiesand minimizing low‐gravity solids content to achieve high rates of penetration (ROP). Other important objectives were the need to minimize mud volumes and generated waste.

Result: By employing the M‐I SWACO IFE program, the operator dramatically reduced both the planned drilling time and the estimated site‐closure time. The well was drilled in only 30 days, which constituted a 40% reduction from the planned costs. Site closure was achieved in only 16 days, which was three days less than the plan (15.8% reduction in the planned costs). Based on an average daily operating cost of $78,454/day, the 20‐day savings translated into an aggregate $1.5‐million cost reduction for the operator. Although the amount of equipment and number of personnel increased, using the M‐I SWACO IFE approach resulted in a 39% reduction from the planned drilling‐fluid, solids‐control and waste‐management costs. Savings came from the reductions in drilling‐fluid volumes and dilution, waste‐volumes, and waste‐treatment costs.

Well Information
Location Colombia
Spud / Completion July 4, 1998/August 2, 1998
Total footage spilled 11,000 ft (3353 m)
Mud system Partially Hydrolyzed Poly Acrylamide (PHPA)

To achieve the goal of minimizing fluid volumes and waste generation while achieving the ROP goals, M-I SWACO created a complementary solids-control/waste-management plan to minimize dilution requirements, reduce waste generation, and facilitate recovery and recycling of the drilling fluid. To achieve maximum efficiency, the M-I SWACO ALS shakers were fitted with fine-mesh screens and used in conjunction with a mud cleaner and centrifuges to maintain solids content and reduce dilution volume.

M-I SWACO established an operating schedule for the equipment for each interval of the hole based on the interval size, anticipated drilling rate and efficiency of the rig solids-control equipment. Mud volumes that were normally dumped, such as sand-trap volumes, were processed and recycled.

During trips, the mud cleaner screens were used to remove sand, after which the mud was processed through the centrifuge and returned to the active mud system. The team used a similar process to recover mud from the cement-lined cuttings pits.

Fewer Days to TD Statistical Summary
CategoryPlannedActualPercentage Improvement
Days to drill 50 30 40
Days to close location 19 16 15.8
Total 69 46 33

Fluids and Solids‐Control Performance
CategoryPlannedActualPercentage Improvement
Solids control efficiency, % 80 90 12.5
Average dilution rate 11.75 4.02 65
Mud cost per foot drilled $39.02 $7.20 81

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