Automated drilling pressure control in deepwater GOM fields ///

Shell E&P, Signa Engineering and At Balance Americas have been deploying Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) for several years. The initial success in the GOM was at Mars Field in 2004.1 The lessons learned there were later applied at Auger Field, where similar problems occurred. Mars and Auger are in the deepwater GOM in 2,800-3,000 ft of water, southeast and southwest of New Orleans, respectively. Reservoir depletion in these mature fields caused drilling problems from rock stress redistribution. Hole stability still requires high mud weights, but fracture gradients are reduced in reservoir and non-reservoir rock at these locations. This article will review both projects to show how deployment and training efficiencies have improved the technology’s application. WHY MPD? Redevelopment drilling can maintain production rates, while adding reserves from unique drainage points.

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