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  • Careful BHA selection, adaptive practices help drill difficult salt


    S. Okewunmi, M. Oesterberg, G. Heisig and J. Hood

    A recent well in the Green Canyon area of the deepwater GOM required drilling through more than 15,000 ft of salt formations. Offset wells with BHAs, including hole opening devices, were challenged by excessive vibrations that resulted in drillstring twist-offs and fishing. In addition, episodes of low ROP were observed. This article describes the well planning, BHA selection and lessons learned while drilling. Green Canyon area is south-southwest of New Orleans, Fig. 1. Several deepwater discoveries have been found, with appraisal, development and more exploratory wells underway. The deepwater prospect blocks in Green Canyon area hold anticlinal structures with trapped salt formations, some clean and others with inclusions. Salt depth ranges from 10,000-ft to 17,000-ft TVD, depending on sedimentation and formation dip. The area has produced significant quantities of oil and gas from Miocene and Oligocene sands. The industry’s move into deeper waters has provided new opportunities for petroleum production . . .

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