Evaluation of drilling parameters in gas hydrate exploration wells
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CitationMerey, Ş. (2018). Evaluation of drilling parameters in gas hydrate exploration wells. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 172, pp. 855-877.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2018.08.079
Gas hydrates are crystalline ice-like structures formed from water and gas molecules at high pressure and low temperature conditions. They are considered as near-future energy resources. Recently, there have been many drilling activities in gas hydrates in both permafrost regions (mainly Mallik wells, Canada; Ignik Sikumi #1 well, Alaska; Mount Elbert #1, Alaska) and marine sediments (the wells drilled in Gulf of Mexico and India drilling expeditions). In this study, it is aimed to evaluate and analyze logging-while drilling data (LWD) and other drilling data of these drilling activities. Initially, all drilling parameters (i.e. rate of penetration, weight on bit, torques, mud logs, etc.) of these wells were collected and drawn to see the change in parameters with depths. In order to indicate the changes in drilling parameters in the sediments containing gas hydrates, gas hydrate saturations were estimated from resistivity logs and NMR logs in this study. High resistivity log values and methane peaks in drilling fluid were good indicators of gas hydrate existence. During the drilling of permafrost formations and gas hydrates deposited in coarse sands as pore filling, the rate of penetration generally decreased. Differently, there was not almost any change in the rate of penetration during the drilling of fracture-filling gas hydrates within silts/clay in India. Borehole enlargements (washouts) were commonly seen in the wells drilled in marine sediments (Gulf of Mexico and Indian expeditions). However, this effect was minimum during the drilling of the wells in permafrost regions. This difference is due to the loose sediments in marine environment. Furthermore, gamma and density logs were seriously affected by washouts, mainly in marine sediments. It was observed that pore-filling gas hydrates affect the rate of penetration and keep the sediments stable because well collapses mainly occurred in the sediments without any gas hydrates. However, the temperature of drilling fluid should be close to the temperature of gas hydrate zones to reduce the effect of drilling on gas hydrate dissociation for the wells both in permafrost and marine sediments. In Gulf Mexico and Indian drilling expeditions, riser and wellhead equipment were not used. However, the usage of surface casing might decrease the risk of borehole collapses due to very loose sediments close to sea floor. Another important outcome of this study is that the pressure gradient follows hydrostatic pressure gradients according to the pressure analysis within gas hydrate stability zones of marine sediments. Finally, the analyses of drilling parameters revealed that drilling through gas hydrate bearing strata is not as risky as it might have been considered. The key is hidden in appropriate drilling design.
SourceJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
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