A major development with multiple rigs delivering extensive multi-laterals encountered a pervasive mud-window issue within the reservoir. The resulting severe mud losses, extensive NPT and formation-damage was also deteriorating with time due to depletion. Conventional approaches to stem losses had failed and adoption of an energized mud-system with acceptable Effective Circulating Density (ECD) was not considered cost effective, pragmatic nor safe. Instead a novel application using Hollow-Glass-Spheres (HGS) was trialled, that demonstrated an effective and highly successful outcome.

With 10 rigs drilling 60-70 wells per-year, each with 5,500 to 6,750m in the reservoir, quick resolution of the issue was required. For these reasons the Team at bp Russia looked carefully at alternatives that might fit the mud-window, but that offered a realistic approach for the environment and conditions in Eastern Siberia. The Team identified HGS as an approach to lighten the mud, often used for cementing ECD, application for drilling has been limited. For this approach we required an option with broad capabilities that could be scaled-up and exported to other development areas where such issues existed.

This paper will report on the planning, delivery, and execution of a pilot on the Sb. field at TYNGD, in Eastern Siberia. Initially deployed on three wells, including multi-laterals, the paper will walk through the engineering considerations, during the planning and execution phases. Reporting comprehensively on the data gathered and the many lessons learned during the incremental and stepwise deployment. Data will be provided that demonstrated loss-free drilling was achieved where this had not occurred before, with a dramatic reduction in NPT, FLA needs and costs. The paper will also report on the post drilling productivity and comparison with offset wells drilled with conventional mud systems and suffering severe losses. The results of this pilot have beaten all expectations, there have been many insights and the Team are now looking to set a timetable to scale-up across the NOJV. Much has been learned, waste HGS material has been demonstrated to be an effective FLA pill in other sections of the well and centralisation of mud process may offer additional cost savings and improvements. Further efficiencies are expected to be achieved and potential across the Company portfolio could be a major game changer.

HGS for cementing is well documented, application for drilling fluids has been less reported and almost exclusively applied to one-off sections/wells. The TYNGD application is novel as this is a major new development with 10 drilling rigs. Application is on multi-laterals and prior offset wells are available for direct comparison. The results of the approach demonstrate a new way of performing well construction in an effective manner for major Field Developments where losses are prevalent.

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