The paper describes the first deployment of HGS in Eastern Siberia as a mud additive. The technology was utilized for reducing drilling fluid density for prevention and mitigation of losses; while drilling through a producing reservoir section with low pore pressure, unconsolidated and fractured sands. The engineering considerations, fundamentals of the approach and major risks involved were reviewed with application to the Sredneboutobinskoye Oilfield as a pilot field application for broader future plans.

Key planning, delivery and execution principles of the initial application will be reported in the paper. Initially deployed on three wells, including multi-laterals (Rylance et al., 2021), the paper will walk through the engineering considerations during the planning and execution phases. Key sections include the data gathered and the many lessons learned during the incremental and stepwise deployment. The paper will also report on post drilling productivity and comparisons with the offset wells drilled with conventional mud systems, which suffered severe losses.

The results of this pilot have exceeded expectations. There have been many insights and the Team are now looking to set a timetable to scale-up across the Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha (TYNGD). After many hours of laboratories study and preparation works, the general plan was to reduce the static density and ECD to mitigate fluid losses. However, the applied results showed additional effects from HGS. Data will be provided that demonstrated loss-free drilling was achieved where this had not been the case before, with a material reduction in NPT, lost circulation material (LCM) needs and costs. Much has been learned, recovered HGS material has been demonstrated to be an effective LCM pill and centralization of mud processing may offer additional cost savings and improvements. Further efficiencies are also expected to be achieved and future potential is considerable.

HGS for cementing is well documented, yet application for drilling fluids has been less well reported and almost exclusively related to single wells. The TYNGD application is innovative as this is a major development with 10 active drilling rigs. The application is on multi-laterals and 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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