With the Lower Tertiary trend continuing to gain prominence, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, associated issues related to the difficulty of drilling through salt layers have surfaced as well. During Wednesday morning’s Deepwater I technical session, Rias Israel of Schlumberger discussed challenges faced and lessons learned by two major deepwater GOM operators, BP and Chevron, in directional salt drilling. Schlumberger provided the directional service.
Salt drilling is problematic for many reasons, one being the salt’s ability to move, or “creep,” into newly drilled wellbore. Therefore, thorough well planning will be a key factor in successfully drilling directionally through difficult salt formations, Mr Israel said. Even the zone above the salt will demand caution. The area is typically stressed due to the way the salt has migrated over time. Risks of wellbore stability issues and losses are always present and must be carefully monitored, he said. Several challenges seen in previous GOM experiences, plus possible solutions, were given:Read More »