Technical Paper: Drilling the First Ultra Deepwater Wells Offshore Malaysia

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 79807
Presentation Date: 2003
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This paper will address all of the planning and logistical issues involved with drilling the first ultra deepwater wells off the coast of Malaysia. Murphy Sabah Oil recently contracted the Diamond Offshore Ocean Baroness to drill wells in water depths ranging from 1300 m to 2000 m of water. Since a moored rig was used for the project long range planning and engineering was required to moor the rig in world record mooring depths without any boats or contractors in the area with ultra deepwater mooring experience.

Well design and strategy required the initial string of conductor casing to be placed at depths exceeding 750 m below the mudline. Due to possible high pore pressures, the riserless section was designed to be drilled with water based mud. The paper will address the logistical and planning issues involved with transporting mud volumes offshore in excess of 15000 bbls in an area without deepwater logistical support. The selection and procurement of proper "deepwater" cement will also be discussed. Synthetic based mud was also a part of the drilling strategy. Since synthetic fluids had never been used before in this area, the planning phase for this fluid requirement will offer several lessons learned for industry.

Well design was further complicated by an abnormally high temperature profile that brought on several well design and strategy issues. The well was also the initial project for a recently upgraded rig, which added to the complexity of the mobilization along with commissioning requirements. The rig had minimal downtime during the project.

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