Novel alternative fluid system helps reduce waste management cost for both onshore and offshore wells
For decades, wells targeting the Rotliegend reservoir in the Southern North Sea Basin have been drilled using conventional water-based mud (WBM) in the top hole section and oil-based mud (OBM) systems throughout the remaining sections of the well. The standard well design generated high waste disposal costs onshore and offshore, particularly with regard to OBM waste. This study evaluates alternative fluid systems to help reduce disposal costs for the operator.
As part of the operator’s environmental improvement strategy, the operator and fluids provider team identified potentially significant waste disposal cost savings for an onshore trial. Using a WBM system for drilling top holes as well as through the lower sections could result in cost savings through the reduction of top hole fluid dilution as well as a reduction in waste disposal costs.
A high-performance water-based mud (HPWBM) system with similar performance to an OBM system was proposed as part of a trial to demonstrate these potential savings in disposal costs for an onshore well.
The field trial was a great success compared to conventional fluid systems and methodologies. The well was drilled 11.6 days ahead of schedule and 20% under the planned budget. The time vs. depth curve was on par with what was expected when drilling with an OBM system.
The HPWBM system created a saving of >5% of the total well cost and it was 16% less expensive than conventional fluid systems. A further saving of 2.5% of the total well cost was identified for future onshore/offshore applications of the HPWBM system. It was also theorized that a further reduction in waste disposal costs could be realised in offshore operations.
The field trial was based on a basic onshore well trajectory as a proof of concept. Upon the success of using HPWBM in the basic well, more challenging onshore as well as offshore applications would be examined which have the potential to double the cost savings generated.
This novel approach of using an environmentally acceptable HPWBM system in the Southern North Sea Basin can offer significant cost saving opportunities with regard to waste management for both onshore and offshore wells compared to conventional WBM and OBM systems.
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Source: SPE Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition, 25-27 October, Perth, Australia
Authors: Ramy Mahrous (Halliburton) | Ronald Vader (Halliburton) | Enrique Larreal (Halliburton) | Raul Navarro (Halliburton) | Bjarne Salmelid (Halliburton) | Alastair Honey (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V.) | Malcolm Weir (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V.) | Gert Lammers (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V.) | Peter Rijnen (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V.)