Casing while drilling and stage-tool cementing combined to mitigate downhole conditions ///

The gas fields of the western Piceance basin in northwestern Colorado present significant challenges to drilling and casing operations. The area has complex geology, with dipping formation beds that lead to “crooked-hole” drilling. Fractured formations cause problems, including lost circulation while drilling and failure to return cement to surface during primary cement jobs of the 9 5/8-in. casing. Sometimes casing cannot be run to total drilled depth. Operator SandRidge Energy in the region selected Weatherford's DwC (Drilling with Casing) service, combined with stage cementing of the surface casing, as an alternative that was expected to yield a significantly more effective surface-hole drilling and casing operation, reducing Non-Productive Time (NPT) and associated costs. BACKGROUND SandRidge Energy has been drilling in the gas fields of the Piceance basin since 2003. The operator has experienced difficulty drilling and casing the surface hole, which is typically targeted to about 3,100 ft MD. Problems are caused by dipping formation beds, rock stresses and lost-circulation intervals.

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