Indian Basin Field, Eddy County, New Mexico H2S Rich, Highly Fractured and Vugular Dolomite
Kerr McGee has drilled 20 wells in the field with 4 different drilling techniques to compare the efficacy of each.
Difficulty with loss circulation
Reservoir gas control
Drilling systems employed and compared:
1. Conventional Water Based Mud (water mud loaded with LCM)
2. Blind/Dry Drilling (drill to losses and employ water only afterwards)
3. Air Mist (drill to losses and use air foam (air, water and surfactant blend))
4. AphronICS? (drill from surface to total depth(TD) with AphronICS? system
Only the AphronICS? system showed ability to maintain returns on the value proposition. Gas entrainment was effective by maintaining hydrostatic pressure in the formation. Any H2S introduced in the system is scavenged by cations in the system or converted to soluble sulfides due to alkaline nature of the buffered pH. Operators were able to use designed cement slurry to have problem-free cementing operations without losses.
Although the Aphron System was most expensive of the 4 methods operator reported cost efficiency due to reduced/eliminated losses, reduced water costs, problem free cementing, post well clean-up, little/no stimulation, and faster production times and better rates.