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Innovating While Drilling

Studies confirm performance of salt-free non-aqueous drilling fluid, bioremediation potential of cuttings

Figure 1 depicts the growth of plants in varying ratios of top soil to salt-free NAF cuttings blend. From left are: 100% top soil, 5:1, 3:1, 1:1 and 100% cuttings blend.

Disposal of cuttings from nonaqueous drilling fluids (NAF) can be a significant expense and logistical issue for the operator of a drilling rig. NAFs typically contain high levels of salts, commonly calcium chloride or sodium chloride, in the internal phase of the emulsion. These salts are beneficial for wellbore stabilization but pose issues for cuttings disposal because the salts don’t biodegrade and can accumulate in high concentrations in soil. A salt-free NAF has been developed and field-validated in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta, Canada. The system uses a biodegradable organic to provide an internal phase with equivalent water activity to traditional salt-containing systems. This results in a fluid system with the performance and benefits of a conventional NAF while potentially allowing for greater cuttings disposal options. Depending on local regulations, the system has the potential to reduce environmental and long-term liability concerns by being able to land-farm drilled cuttings without hindering plant growth.

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Dual cutting structure on hybrid roller cone bit increases efficiency of bridge, frac plug drill-outs

SlipStream-Bit-v1.0

Drilling out bridge and frac plugs is a regular and inefficient task in multi-zone completions. The job is commonly done using a variety of standard drill bits. However, removing between 15 and 40 plugs comprised of hard outer slips surrounded by ductile composites and elastomer materials presents several challenges to bit performance. Like drilling operations, the completion objective is to efficiently drill as much as possible before having to pull out of hole to replace the bit. The plug’s hard outer slips can quickly wear steel tooth cutting structures so that the bit is increasingly less effective with each plug it drills. It is also difficult to achieve small cuttings across the various plug materials in use, which can limit hole-cleaning efficiency. In addition, the fluid pressure behind isolated completion zones can result in pressure spikes that reduce bearing life.

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IADC UBO/MPD Committee update: Additional RPs, RCD testing standards under way

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Promoting the safe and efficient execution of underbalanced operations (UBO) and managed pressure drilling (MPD) continues to be the primary objective of the IADC UBO/MPD Committee. Committee Chairman Per Cato Berg, Leading MPD Advisor for Statoil, provided an update on the committee’s work over the past year...

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Hand-picked components enable Marathon, ConocoPhillips to build fit-for-purpose MPD system for GOM project

MPD champions must continue to promote the technology’s benefits, as well as find ways to make it more economic, Kelly McHugh, General Manager of Drilling and Completions at Chevron, said at the SPE/IADC MPD and UBO Conference in Galveston, Texas, on 12 April.

In 2013, Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips decided to retrofit the Maersk Valiant drillship for managed pressure drilling (MPD). Installation of the MPD equipment began in 2014, while the drillship made its way to the US Gulf of Mexico from the shipyard in South Korea.

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