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Real-Time Measurements Improve Managed-Pressure Operations in HP/HT North Sea Well

This paper describes how new technology was implemented and deployed through a downhole acoustic network through a sequence of runs in complex North Sea wells under managed-pressure conditions. The authors demonstrate how measurements and real-time solutions evolved over the course of the wells to exceed the originally perceived value of top-of-fluid under severe losses. As a result of this deployment and the lessons learned, the acoustic telemetry network will now be used on upcoming, equally challenging wells, and its range of operations will be expanded to include drilling, tripping, and liner-cementing operations.

Introduction

Several mature fields in the North Sea experience significant challenges relating to high pressures and temperatures, accompanied by the infill drilling challenge of very narrow margins between pore and fracture pressures. To navigate these narrow mud-weight windows, understanding the bottomhole pressure (BHP) is critical. However, in instances of fractured formations above the target zones, severe losses can be encountered during drilling and cementing operations, often leading to the inability to maintain a full mud column at all times and even threatening the ability to reach total depth (TD).

To address these issues, the operator investigated an acoustic telemetry system that could provide internal and external pressure measurements, along with other downhole measurements, independently of traditional mud-pulse telemetry in the drilling assembly, to provide real-time distributed pressure data essential to understanding the downhole conditions regardless of circulation, even under severe losses or during tripping and cementing operations.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Judy Feder, contains highlights of paper SPE 195767, “Using Real-Time Downhole and Along-String Measurements During Drilling and Cementing Operations To Improve Managed-Pressure Operations in a Complex High-Pressure/High-Temperature North Sea Well,” by Tom Brian, Total, and Andy Hawthorn and Duncan Groves, Baker Hughes, prepared for the 2019 SPE Offshore Europe Conference and Exhibition held in Aberdeen, 3–6 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Real-Time Measurements Improve Managed-Pressure Operations in HP/HT North Sea Well

01 February 2020

Volume: 72 | Issue: 2

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