Drilling horizontal gas wells at an average TVD of 12,500 ft in Saudi Arabia has always been very challenging owing to harsh drilling conditions. These wells are drilled in southern Ghawar field. Subject formations include bands of Lower and Middle Triassic and Upper Permian, composed of dolomite, shale, silt stone, and anhydrite formations. The main challenges in drilling these formations are slower penetration rates and difficulty in sliding with conventional motors in both the build and lateral sections.

This paper describes a step change in drilling performance using powered rotary steerable systems (PRSS) technology that led to record directional runs through difficult Khuff sections.

With the PRSS assembly, the company was able to drill both vertical and curve sections in one run, maximize ROP, and increase footage per bit run while meeting directional requirements. PRSS successfully kicked off from vertical and improved ROP up to 192% compared to conventional motor ROP in deep gas drilling. Significant improvements in ROP resulted in saving multiple bit trips in 12-in., 8 3/8-in., and 5 7/8-in. hole sections.

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