Sampling While Drilling has undergone significant changes since its advent early this decade. The continuum of applications has primarily been due to the ability to access highly deviated wellbores, to collect PVT quality and volume of formation fluids. The increased confidence is also a result of numerous applications with varied time-on-wall without ever being stuck. This paper demonstrates the contribution of this technology for reservoir fluid mapping that proved critical to update the resource assessment in a brown field through three infill wells that were a step-out to drill unpenetrated blocks and confirm their isolation from the main block of the field.

As a part of the delineation plan, the objective was to confirm the current pressure regime and reservoir fluid type when drilling the S-profile appraisal wells with 75 degrees inclination. Certain sand layers were prone to sanding as evidenced from the field's long production history. Due to the proven record of this technology in such challenges, locally and globally, pipe-conveyed wireline was ruled out. During pre-job planning, there were concerns about sanding, plugging and time-on-wall and stuck tools. Empirical modeling was performed to provide realistic estimates to secure representative fluid samples. The large surface area pad was selected, due to its suitability in highly permeable yet unconsolidated formations.

For the first well operation, the cleanup for confirming formation oil began with a cautious approach considering possible sanding. An insurance sample was collected after three hours. For the next target, drawing on the results of the first sampling, the pump rate was increased early in time, and a sample was collected in half the time. Similar steps were followed for the remaining two wells, where water samples were collected. Oil, water, and gas gradients were calculated. Lessons learnt and inputs from Geomechanics were used in aligning the probe face and reference to the critical drawdown pressure (CDP).

A total of 4,821 feet (1,469 meters) was drilled. 58 pressures were acquired, with six formation fluid samples and five cleanup cycles for fluid identification purpose. The pad seal efficiency was 95%. The data provided useful insights into the current pressure regime and fault connectivity, enabling timely decisions for well completion. The sampling while drilling deployment was successful in the highly deviated S-profile wells and unconsolidated sand, with no nonproductive time. Because of the continuous circulation, no event of pipe sticking occurred, thereby increasing the confidence, especially in the drilling teams.

The sampling while drilling operations were subsequent, due to batch drilling, with minimal time in between the jobs for turning the tools around. The technology used the latest generation sensors, algorithms, computations and was a first in Malaysia. The campaign re-instituted the clear value of information in the given environment and saving cost.

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