Mi SWACO applies new technologies in the Mediterranean

Mi SWACO Branch in Egypt is registered as M-I Overseas Limited, Egypt Branch and is independently operating under the law 43 of 1976 for Free Zone companies. The Branch of Egypt is the head quarter of the Middle East operations. Egypt Branch Supplies full range of Drilling Fluids additives, Drilling Fluids Engineering Services, Bulk Operations Services, Liquid Oil Mud and Brine mixing and storage facilities.  This is in addition to solids control equipment, environmental solutions, well bore assurance and production chemicals. MI is present in the Egyptian market for the last 35years and shared success with almost all operators worked and currently working in Egypt.
With Five different research and training centers in Egypt and worldwide, MI SWACO is continuously delivering new technologies and best practices to the market, here in some of the success stories that we shared with our customers in Egypt for the last 2 years.

Mediterranean Deepwater Project
Mi SWACO Egypt branch was involved in drilling series of wells for an operator working in ultra deep water project in the Mediterranean area. The project goals were to drill the wells with LTOBM and then perform testing using the same mud and run ESS expandable screens.
The drilling fluids, liquid mud plant and the rig were modified to serve these criteria of having low solids (less than 40 micron) and flat gels to work in cold water temperatures.
The mud was mixed and sheared in base using cement pump to give the required differential pressure for shearing in order to decrease the shearing / circulating time on the rig.  Also special Organophilic clays & products were used to achieve the flat gel rheology. Marble (SAFECARB) system loading was calculated using Mi SWACO OPTI-BRIDGE software that gives the correct blend in terms of good formation bridging and passes the expandable screen at the same time.

The wells were drilled efficiently with the LTOBM system and the strategy while drilling was to keep the mud clean all the time using fine mesh size screens on shakers and this process was tested by production screen tester that defines the ability of running expandable screens in the well for testing without plugging.
In parallel mode Mi SWACO installed its advanced clean cut blower on the rig to enable cutting movement from  the shaker area to a fully automated skip loading station with capability of filling four skips, the usage of this system  minimized the lifting operations by 70 percent and during drilling the different section no limitation for the ROP was required. Also MI Vacuum system (portable) was installed for pit cleaning and any possible spills.

An additional fourth well was drilled with high profile casing design (10 intervals) in semi HPHT environment. On the design phase it was noted that the amount of cuttings generated from large hole sections (22”, 20”& 17.5”) will be too huge logistically for skip & ship operations, this brought the idea of using high performance water base mud (Ultradril).
The Ultradril mud was mixed in the base as a spike fluid with double concentration and sent to the rig to be diluted with water. The mud selection was very good and achieved the operator goal of having super inhibitive fluid that drilled kafer el sheikh, pre salt, and sub salt formations (with the ability to be converted to salt saturated fluid prior to entering the salt). The fluid properties were stable and the mud weight reached 14.7 ppg before displacing the hole to LTOBM in the last interval for temperature and pressure un-certainty.

MI SWACO virtual hydraulics software played a vital role in drilling this well especially in the large hole sections, as the cutting size vary with the hole conditions – temperatures, the software was able to estimate the suitable GPM to be used for hole cleaning and to calculate the ECD’s in the tight deep water leak off values.

Mediterranean HPHT
In the past, the only fluid available for drilling in high temperature high pressure wells was oil-base systems because of its ability to stand the rigors of such temperatures. Recent Lab testing and field trials have proven that water  base drilling fluid can be applied for such high profile wells of Temperatures reaching 550° F and mud weights exceeds 18 PPG (on our last drilled well total depth was 17,000 ft).
These researches and trials were driven due Oil base mud limitations and the fact that this kind of mud is not the solution for all cases. These limitations are:

  • Lost circulation & its logistical impact.
  • Gas kicks detection due to gas solubility in the mud system.
  • Barite stripping as gases decrease viscosity of the fluid causing barite to strip or settle resulting in costly remedial jobs, especially in completion phase.
  • Mud weight variation due to the compressibility of oil.
  • Environmental impact due to disposal and handling of cuttings generated.

Mi SWACO focused on the issue and released its new HPHT water base mud DURATHERM to overcome these oil base mud issues. The DURATHERM system is designed for use in bottom-hole temperatures up to 550°F (287°C). The Mud system weight can reach 20 lb/gal (2.4 SG) and its formulation is similar to packer fluids design where long-term rheological stability is necessary. The low-colloid DURATHERME system is stable in the presence of contamination from acid gases, cement and salts.
In our case, the system was chosen as a candidate for drilling an exploratory gas field in the Mediterranean, where oil base mud was used and failed due to almost all the above oil base mud limitations. The system was proposed to the operator after performing the lab testing to achieve the suitable formulation that can accomplish the job successfully. The mud weight reached 18.7 PPG and hole was E-logged for 4 days without any sign of barite settling or hole in-stability.
The stability of the hole was proven at the end by running the 9 5/8”casing in 10 5/8”hole which is considered to be very tight clearance condition.

Form A Squeeze Plug application
Mi SWACO recently presented its “Form A Squeeze” plug to the Mediterranean area as a solution for complete loss situations where the plug can be pumped through the drill sting, BHA and down hole tools. The plug was used in kick control condition where increasing the mud weight to control a gas kick resulted in complete loss of circulation and static loss exceeded 200 bbl per hour. After pumping the plug, the losses stopped completely and normal operations were carried out.


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