The developments in advanced managed pressure drilling technologies offers significantly improved safety aspects when drilling highly sour reservoirs. Drilling with a closed well bore system allows enhanced kick detection systems to be deployed on deep sour wells. Kick detection systems capable of detecting and automatically controlling a 2 bbl influx significantly increases the safety aspects of drilling highly sour reservoirs.

With these modern MPD systems it now possible to drill wells with the minimum overbalanced, which increases penetration rates in the sour reservoirs. Less drilling time and fewer trips enhance the safety aspects of sour operations. Drilling with closed systems that allow advanced and automatic kick detection systems further enhances the safety aspects of drilling sour wells. Combining these MPD systems with the vast underbalanced drilling experience gained in drilling highly sour reservoirs in Canada and North America allows small kicks to be safely handled.

This paper provides an overview of the new MPD systems and the kick detection capabilities. The paper then discusses the equipment up that can now be deployed to deal with any sour gas encountered during the drilling operations. This paper highlights the potential use of these MPD techniques for the sour gas developments in Central and Western China.

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