Drilling advances

Portraying the back-to-back Austin Chalk wells in East Texas as having a few issues is like saying Mr. Einstein may have known a thing or two about physics. First off, there was the double-whammy of high temperatures effectively cutting the mud weight required to hold back an early 14,000-psi reservoir pressure. Then, there were the chronic fractures that generated well integrity risks with practically every foot drilled. “It was very problematic,” said Bobby Elmore, senior engineer with Signa Engineering Corp, in the ultimate understatement, when describing the myriad pitfalls encountered in the first of consecutive HPHT wells drilled in the field. “We had a real rodeo on that first one.”

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