Industry Article: Pinnacle Carbonate Drilling Challenges PETRONAS Engineers

Implementation of PMCD technique enables safe drilling in high-loss carbonates offshore Sarawak

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Publication: E&P
Publication Date: 07/01/2013

Carbonate reservoirs typically present drilling challenges due to their heterogeneous nature. Within the same well it is common to encounter tight formations, highly fractured rocks, and vugular or karstified textures. It is difficult to predict when or if these karsts will be encountered, and the results can be disastrous. High-conductivity fractures can drain drilling fluid, leading to loss of circulation, which can precede loss of well control. PETRONAS Carigali has recently implemented a pressurized mud-cap drilling (PMCD) solution on 11 wells offshore Sarawak, Malaysia, six of which experienced total losses. Once total losses are encountered, a series of procedures are executed that result in converting the well from a conventional drilling operation to a PMCD operation. Evaluation loss rate, determining formation pressure, and testing formation injectivity are all vital steps that must be carried out prior to initiating a PMCD operation.

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