Santa Fe TechServ (N. Sea) Ltd.

ERD Well Guidelines

26/11/2012

EXTENDED REACH DRILLING RECOMMENDATIONS.

(A GUIDE FOR RIG SITE SUPERVISION)

Originator : Thomas (Frank) Walsh, Santa Fe TechServ (N.Sea) Ltd.

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Contents
1. 1.1 Introduction. “Best Drilling Practice in ERD wells” Summary of Recommendations. 1.1.1 Summary of ERD well Hole Cleaning Recommendations. 1.1.2. Summary of ERD well Tripping Recommendations. 1.1.3. Summary of ERD well Drilling Recommendations. 1.1.4. Summary of ERD well Casing Running Recommendations. “Best Drilling Practice in ERD wells” Detailed explanation per topic. Hole Cleaning in ERD wells. 2.1.1. Annular Mud Flow Rate - Annular velocity. 2.1.2. Mud Rheology - mud type / properties. 2.1.3. Well bore geometry - shape / size of the well. 2.1.4. Time spent circulating. Tripping in an ERD Well. ERD well Drilling 2.3.1. Hole Cleaning - maximise rotary drilling to maximise hole cleaning. 2.3.2. Well path corrections - more difficult as well is extended. 2.3.3. Torque and drag limitations. 2.3.4. Computer models - update regularly to maximise the value. 2.3.5. Casing wear - use appropriate DP hard banding. Monitor metal recovery. Running casing in an ERD well. 2.4.1. Logistics - very long casing strings and large mud volumes. 2.4.2. Casing Running - difficulties in running csg in high angle well.

2. 2.1

2.2 2.3

2.4

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1. Introduction The drilling of extended reach wells (ERD) from existing Platforms has become far more frequent over the past few years and they have become notorious as “Problem Wells” in which it is not uncommon to have to side track the well once or even twice past stuck pipe. The most common sticking mechanisms in these wells are hole packing off, becoming mechanically stuck when tripping, or a combination of both. There are a number of schools of thought as to the best drilling practices when drilling such a well. These schools of thought can be broadly categorised as - “Those who favour pumping / back reaming out of the hole” and “Those who favour cleaning the hole prior to pulling out of the hole”. Now whilst there are arguments for both methods, it should be realised that those who favour the “Pump-Out” route have generally drilled their ERD wells from greatly upgraded rigs which have such features as three large capacity mud pumps, an abundance of rig power, top drive systems and pipe handling systems. On the other hand those who favour the “Circulate clean and pull” route have generally drilled their ERD wells from far less optimised rigs, i.e: two or three smaller capacity mud pumps, barely adequate rig power, retro-fitted top drive systems, little or no pipe handling systems. Now since the majority of the Santa Fe Platform rigs fall into the “Less Optimised” category, it is the intention of this report to concentrate on this rig type and to specify and explain the “Best Drilling Practices” which, if adopted, will help to minimise ERD well drilling problems. There follows a summary of “Best Drilling Practice” recommendations, following which the main body of the report discusses each topic and explains it in greater depth. It should be noted, however, that these recommendations may be at odds with the Operator’s drilling guidelines, consequently areas of conflicting advice should be clearly identified and discussed.

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1.1.1. Hole Cleaning Recommendations. (a) HYDRAULICS. Annular Mud Flow Rate is the PRIMARY HOLE CLEANING PARAMETER and every effort should be made to maintain the programmed flow rate. The larger hole sizes are the most critical with regards to hole cleaning since flow rates (and consequently mud annular velocities) are relatively lower in these sections. This is particularly the case on rigs with limited pump capacity. Circulating the hole clean in an ERD well will take Considerably Longer than on a conventional well. Use the BP “Lag Time - v - Hole Angle” model (refer to section 2.1.4) for deciding the circulation volume required to clean the hole prior to tripping or at any other time. If the time is taken to circulate the hole genuinely clean, then the resulting trips are then trouble free. MUD PROPERTIES. Maintaining the correct MUD RHEOLOGY is essential in ERD drilling due to the additional demands placed on the system. In general the key mud properties should be as follows:(a) (b) (c) Mud weight should be maintained within the range specified in the Bore Hole Stability model. The Plastic viscosity (PV) and Yield Point (YP) of the mud system should be maintained within the range +/-45 (PV) and +/-25 (YP). The 6 RPM FANN viscometer reading should be at least 1.2 times the hole diameter. REMOVAL OF CUTTINGS BEDS. The removal of Cuttings Beds is achieved with Drill String Rotation. Experience has shown that with optimum flow rates, adequate hole cleaning is observed with 120 RPM pipe rotation. However when flow rates are suboptimal, pipe rotation speeds of 150 - 200 RPM may be required. Make periodic use of Lo Vis / Hi Vis (weighted) COMBO PILLS to confirm the effectiveness of the conventional systems. Use with caution, however, since the over use of such pills can quickly affect the rheology of the main mud system. Once the pills have been pumped, then do not stop the pumps until they have returned at the shakers. Shaker header boxes should be cleaned out before the pills return at surface. Monitor and record the shape / size / volume of cuttings returned to assess the effectiveness of hole cleaning and bore hole condition. The use of MWD Drilling Dynamics Measurement systems can take much of the “guess work” out of hole cleaning and can be a very powerful tool, if used correctly by the rig team.

(b)

(a)

(b)

(c) (d)

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1.1.2. Tripping Recommendations. (a) (b) Circulate the hole CLEAN BEFORE tripping the drill string. After the hole is clean trip out in the elevator. Should there be a break down on an item of rig equipment (i.e: mud pumps) and considerable repair time is expected, DO NOT attempt to trip back to the shoe unless the hole has been ADEQUATELY CLEANED. This applies whether the repairs take 2 hours or 2 days! It is recommended that the drill string be worked slowly whilst maintaining best possible circulation rate, allow cuttings beds to form and do not attempt to trip until sufficient power / pumps available to fully clean the hole. DO NOT PUMP / BACKREAM OUT OF THE HOLE. To pump / backream out of a fully clean hole is a waste of rig time and energy. To pump / backream out of a dirty hole is to risk hole pack-off and stuck drill string because no matter how long circulation is continued after the stand has been lifted, cuttings will settle out once the pumps are shut down for the connection, consequently there is an inherent risk of “Packing Off” during the trip. In addition pumping / backreaming will also tend to mask the onset of potentially serious hole problems which would be identified at a much earlier stage on a conventional trip. Prior to tripping the Rig Team should establish a LIMIT to the OVERPULL which will be allowed during the trip before remedial action is taken. This OVERPULL LIMIT should take into account such factors as overpulls experienced on previous trips, hole geometry, BHA configuration, computer Drag Chart models, etc. As a starting point, however, it is suggested that overpulls be limited to 30Klbs. In a fully clean hole it is unlikely that this overpull limit will be exceeded, however should this occur then the drill string should be tripped back at least 2 stands, break circulation SLOWLY and work the string. Circulate the hole CLEAN at this point before resuming the trip. Tripping speeds should be limited to those values established in the well planning computer model to avoid Swabbing / Surging the well. If any there are any doubts as to the thoroughness of the hole cleaning, consideration should be given to circulating clean at the shoe, or periodically on the way out of the open hole. When breaking circulation after a round trip, start the rotary first since this will assist in breaking the mud gels and there by help to minimise the risk of inducing losses.

(c)

(d)

(e) (f)

(g)

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1.1.3 Drilling Operations Recommendations. (a) HOLE CLEANING IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE. TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE HOLE CLEANING, MINIMISE THE AMOUNT OF ORIENTED DRILLING. Should there be any doubts as to the effectiveness of hole cleaning, at any time, stop drilling and circulate the well clean. SHOULD A MAJOR ITEM OF DRILLING EQUIPMENT FAIL WHILST DRILLING, DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO TRIP OUT OF THE HOLE, UNLESS ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT THE WELL IS CLEAN. TORQUE / DRAG FIGURES (both surface and down hole - via MWD systems) SHOULD BE CLOSELY MONITORED THROUGHOUT THE WELL AND USED TO UPDATE THE COMPUTER MODEL. These computer models should be used on site to generate Swab / Surge data, torque / drag predictions, casing running predictions, etc. TORQUE / DRAG FIGURES SHOULD BE KEPT AS LOW AS IS PRACTICAL BY USE OF HOLE CLEANING, DRILL STRING STABILISATION AND INCREASED MUD LUBRICITY. Since drilling torque’s will be high, due care should be taken to ensure that the drill string components are made-up to the optimum value. Stands of pipe should be “Trip Broken” regularly. All torque (and Line Pull) gauges should be regularly checked for accuracy - the Top Drive torque gauge is particularly important. MONITOR CASING WEAR. To minimise casing wear, ensure all drill pipe has smooth hard banding (ARNCO 200XT). Plot up casing wear as metal recovery on a daily basis of total revolutions v. total metal recovered. Slope gives grams / 1000 RPM. MINIMISE THE RISK OF DIFFERENTIALLY STUCK PIPE, KEEP THE STRING MOVING. Keep MWD surveys to a minimum, consider stopping surveying once past the target. A MIXED SIZE DRILL STRING WILL BE USED, ALLOWABLE PULL FIGURES SHOULD ALWAYS BE KNOWN. It is inadvisable to use different grades of the same pipe size - they will almost always end up in the wrong place in the string! Extreme care should be taken when using MWD drill pipe screens in a mixed size drill string. The lengths of each pipe size should be determined by the depth of the previous casing shoe - it is inadvisable to be changing out the Top Drive Saver Sub with the string in open hole. BIT AND BHA SELECTION SHOULD BE BASED ON EXPECTED LONGEVITY RATHER THAN ON ROP. Since round trips on ERD wells are high risk and time consuming, it make most operational sense to drill the well with the minimum of trips.

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)

(f)

(g)

(h)

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1.1.4 Casing Running Recommendations. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) A “Logistics Management Plan” should be developed early in the project. This plan should be developed by a COMBINED On Shore / Off Shore team. THE WELL BORE SHOULD BE GENUINELY CLEAN BEFORE ANY ATTEMPT IS MADE TO RUN CASING. The casing running operation should be modelled on the computer well before the actual operation to identify any potential problem areas. Run casing at the lowering speed obtained from the up-dated computer model. The number of casing centralizers run should be kept to a minimum in order to minimise drag. Connection times should be kept to a minimum. Should there be a delay in casing running (i.e: off loading boats, waiting on cranes, etc.) it is recommended that circulation be broken as in (h) below, circulation should continue until the hole has been verified clean before continuing to run casing. Should the casing start to pick up additional drag or stand-up whilst running in, pull back at least 1 full joint before breaking circulation. DO NOT START WASHING DOWN UNTIL THE HOLE HAS BEEN VERIFIED CLEAN AS OUTLINED IN (h) BELOW. Break circulation slowly and DO NOT EXCEED THE DRILLING ANNULAR VELOCITY until, at least, BOTTOMS-UP has been circulated - DO NOT STOP THE PUMPS DURING THIS PHASE. Thereafter increase pump rate slowly until cementing pump rate has been achieved, continue to circulate at maximum rate until hole has cleaned up. Work the casing slowly during circulating, bear in mind Swab / Surge effects. Once casing is on bottom, circulate the hole clean as outlined in (h) above. DO NOT RIG UP CEMENTING EQUIPMENT (HEADS, LINE, ETC.) UNTIL THE HOLE HAS BEEN VERIFIED AS CLEAN.

(g)

(h)

(i)

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2.1

Hole Cleaning in ERD wells.

Hole Cleaning is an issue which is important in all wells, however in Extended Reach Drilling hole cleaning is an issue which cannot be over emphasised since it is often the deciding factor between the success or failure of the well. It is a historical fact that most, if not all, stuck pipe incidents on extended reach wells can be attributed to POOR HOLE CLEANING Hole cleaning in extended reach wells is complicated by such factors as: - Extended length of the larger hole sections. - Mud pump limitations. - High hole angles for extended lengths of hole. - Time the hole is left open All of these factors impose considerable demands on the rig equipment and personnel and it requires careful management to ensure that shortcuts are not taken which could jeopardise the well. The ability to clean the well bore is dictated by the following: 2.1.1. 2.1.2. 2.1.3. 2.1.4. Annular Mud Flow Rate - Annular velocity. Mud Rheology - mud type / properties. Well bore geometry - shape / size of the well. Time spent circulating.

2.1.1. Annular Mud Flow Rate - Annular Velocity. In all wells the primary mechanism to clean a well bore of drilled cuttings is annular mud flow rate, in other words:- annular velocity. That being the case it is logical to assume that an increase in annular velocity in any given hole will more effectively clean that hole. Based on past experience, the 17.1/2” and 12.1/4” hole sections in an ERD well are the most critical with regards to hole cleaning since flow rates (and consequently mud annular velocities) are relatively lower in these sections. This is particularly the case on rigs with limited pump capacity. Now since Annular Mud Flow Rate is the PRIMARY HOLE CLEANING parameter, every effort should be made to maintain the programmed flow rate. This programmed flow rate will be given for each hole section and should be the result of a computer simulation programme for that section (i.e: Shell Oil’s CUTXPORT programme). The Annular Mud Flow Rate is dictated by three factors: - Pressure Losses in the System (pump pressure). - Pump Hydraulic Horse Power. - Annular Cross-Sectional Area. The Pressure drop in the system is the SUM of Surface pressure losses, Drill string pressure losses, Annulus pressure losses. Of the three, surface pressure losses are generally FIXED, whilst the other two can be altered by varying such things as bit nozzle size, drill string size and configuration, use (or not) of steerable mud motor systems. In general the bigger the bore of the drill string, then the lower the drill string pressure losses, however this should be off-set against the fact that a bigger drill string will result in higher annulus pressure losses. In an ERD well System Pressure Losses will be high, so any reduction in

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system pressure losses is a primary consideration and that is one of the reasons that large bore drill pipe is used. The Pump Hydraulic Horse power available is limited by what mud pump equipment is on the rig. For most older platform rigs the mud pumps available to drill an ERD well can, at best, be described as ADEQUATE and although mud pump limitations will have been taken into account at the well design stage, it should be realised that this well design must assume that the maximum mud pump capacity is available throughout the well. It is for that reason that every effort should be made to ensure that the maximum mud pump capacity is maintained throughout the well. The Annular Cross-Sectional Area is the area of the hole at a given point, minus the area of the drill string at that same point. It should be clear that by increasing the size of the drill pipe, then the smaller the annular cross-sectional area and consequently the higher the annular velocity. It is exactly for this reason that recent Extended Reach wells have been running an “UPSIDE DOWN” tapered drill string (i.e: 6.5/8” drill pipe on the bottom in the build-up and tangent sections and 5.1/2” drill pipe in the vertical section). At first glance this looks very odd, but it all makes very good sense if the dynamics of hole cleaning are considered. In general the hole cleaning ability of a given mud at a given annular velocity is very much better in a vertical hole than in a high inclination hole. This is due to a number of factors of which the mud flow regime is perhaps the most significant. In the “ideal” vertical well, the drill pipe is assumed to be central in the well bore, this gives a uniform annular cross-section and allows the mud to flow uniformly around the pipe. In turbulent and laminar flow, mud moving up the well bore travels slower against the drill pipe and against the bore hole wall due to friction, and travels fastest in the centre between the two. Drilled cuttings being transported up the hole by the faster mud stream have a tendency to “Roll Out” of this mud stream into the slower travelling mud at the hole wall or drill pipe. The cuttings will travel in the slower stream for a limited distance before being caught up in the faster mud stream once again. In this way drilled cuttings “move - slip, move - slip” up the hole. In a high angle hole however, the flow regime is significantly different. The drill string lays on the low side of the well bore, this results in a large annular area above the drill string and little to none around and below. Mud moving up the well bore travels preferentially in the large annular area above the drill string and travels much slower in the area around and below the drill string, this creates in effect a “Dead Zone” at the low side of the hole. Now drilled cuttings being transported up such a high angle hole may start off in the faster moving mud at the high side of the hole, however the effects of gravity soon start to have an effect and the cuttings gravitate towards the low side of the hole entering the mud “Dead Zone”. Once in this dead zone the cuttings settle out of the mud and lay on the low side of the hole to form “CUTTINGS BEDS”. The height or depth of a cuttings bed will depend to a large extent on the size of the mud flow dead zone and once formed, these cuttings beds can be very difficult to remove. The failure to remove these cuttings beds is the usual PRIMARY CAUSE of stuck pipe events in ERD wells. The size of the mud flow dead zone depends whether the main mud flow is in turbulent or laminar flow (turbulent flow = smaller dead zone, laminar flow =

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larger dead zone). Now for any given flow rate, the smaller the annular area (i.e: the bigger the OD of the drill string), then the higher the annular velocity and the more likely that the mud will be in turbulent flow. This in turn will result in a smaller mud flow dead zone and consequently much smaller cuttings beds (if any). That being the case it can be seen that it makes good “Hole Cleaning” sense to run the larger OD drill pipe in the critical high angle hole section and to run the smaller OD drill pipe in the less critical vertical section. Experience has shown that the removal of cuttings beds is best achieved when rotating the drill string. This will mechanically agitate the cuttings and throw them back into the faster flowing mud stream at the top of the hole. Experience has shown that with optimum flow rates (ie; those which will prevent the formation of cuttings beds), adequate hole cleaning is observed with 120 RPM pipe rotation. However when achievable flowrates are sub-optimal (ie; those at which cuttings beds will form), the beneficial hole cleaning effect of 150 - 200 RPM pipe rotation speeds has been clearly observed. 2.1.2. Mud Rheology - properties / mud weight / mud type. Maintaining the correct rheology is important for any drilling operation. For high angle extended reach wells it is essential. The Mud Rheology in an extended reach well takes on a special significance due to the many tasks which the mud will perform. Of primary concern is the ability of the mud to remove drilled cuttings from the well bore, in addition however the mud should ensure borehole stability for extended periods of time by means of an appropriate mud weight and also a non reactive chemical composition. Mud Properties The ability of the mud to remove drilled cuttings from the well bore will be dictated by cuttings carrying capacity of the mud. Drilled cuttings suspended in mud in the well bore will settle (gravitate) to the bottom of the hole (or to the low side of the hole). Now given that drilled cuttings are removed from the well bore when the annular velocity of the mud flow is greater than the rate with which the cuttings settle and the rate with which they settle will, to a large extent, depend on the viscosity of the mud - the more viscose (thicker) the mud, the more slowly the cuttings settle - then it should be clear that for any given flow rate, more cuttings will be removed by a thicker mud than a thinner mud. This last statement generally holds true and is the reason that more viscose (high rheology) mud systems are preferred in the larger hole sizes of high angle ERD wells. Off set against this, however, is the fact that a high rheology mud system will result in substantially higher pump pressures which in an ERD well can be critical and therefore the choice of mud type must be a compromise between the carrying capacity of the mud and it’s pumpability. The primary measures of the viscosity of a mud system are Plastic Viscosity and Yield Point. These are obtained from FANN viscometer readings and are closely related. Plastic Viscosity (PV) is that part of the mud’s resistance to flow caused by mechanical friction. The PV is a function of the amount of particles (ie; weighting material and low gravity solids) in the mud. Yield Point (YP) is that part of the mud’s resistance to flow caused by attractive forces between particles. The YP is a function of the type of solids and surface charge

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associated with them, solids concentration and ionic concentration in the liquid phase. In general the type of mud flow regime for any given flowrate is, to a large extent, dictated by the relative values of PV and YP. For a turbulant flow regime then PVs / YPs are low. For a laminar flow regime then PVs / YPs are high. Historically both high (viscose) and low (thin) rheology mud systems have been used in ERD wells. Hole cleaning models indicate that successful hole cleaning could be achieved with YIELD POINTS either greater than 25 or less than 12 lb/100ft 2. This ensures either laminar or turbulent flow regimes and avoids transitional flow regimes where cuttings transport is least effective. Historically, however, most successful ERD wells have been drilled using a HIGH RHEOLOGY mud system in the larger hole sizes. In the smaller hole sizes, circumstances such as weak formations may require that a LOW RHEOLOGY mud system be used. The LOW END RHEOLOGY of a mud system is generally a reflection of the lower annular velocities associated with larger hole sizes. The measure of a mud system’s Low End Rheology is taken from the 6 and 3 RPM FANN viscometer readings. Experience has shown that the key to successful hole cleaning in the larger hole sizes has been to keep the 6 and 3 RPM FANN viscometer reading high (the 6 RPM figure should be around 1.2 times the hole diameter (inches) OR the 3 RPM figure should be equal to the hole diameter (inches)) and PV/YP of +/-45 / +/-25. This together with adequate flow rates has allowed the drilling of extensive 12.1/4” hole sections at 80+ O at high ROPs without the use of pills or backreaming. In the smaller hole sizes, however, hole cleaning can be problematic. Weak formations can cause lost circulation resulting in the need to use LOW RHEOLOGY mud systems to minimise the ECD and whilst the low rheology ensures turbulent flow, it would be unable to lift cuttings from the low side of the hole. As a result it should be expected that considerable time would be spent cleaning the hole were such a mud system used. It should be noted that a mud system with rheology as indicated above will be very sensitive and extreme care should be taken when treating / maintaining the system. As examples, over treatment of the low-end rheology (6 RPM FANN reading) will quickly drive up the PV / YP of the system and failure to control the low gravity solids (LGS) in the system will quickly drive up the PV. Mud weight In an extended reach well the ability of the mud system to maintain borehole stability is of major concern since the inclination at which the hole is drilled and the length of time the hole remains open is very much higher than in a conventional well. In general the two key requirements of a mud system to ensure bore hole stability are:1. Sufficient Mud weight to provide mechanical support for the formation. 2. Suitable mud chemistry to minimise reaction with the formation. When embarking on ERD wells, it is often difficult to forecast the mud weights required to maintain wellbore stability at the elevated hole inclinations. A combination of OFFSET data and theoretical models can provide guidance, but such forecasts can carry significant uncertainty. With all wellbore stability models, many input parameters will have to be estimated due to the lack of

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actual lithology characterisation. As a minimum the borehole stability model should provide an estimate of “In-Situ” stresses and the direction of the maximum horizontal stress. From this model the selection of the mud weight range would be based on the proposed hole inclination and azimuth. A general rule to be observed on all high angle wells is to avoid reducing mud weight during a section. Also, if a formation towards the end of a section requires a higher mud weight than the upper formations, the higher weight should be adopted well before encountering the less stable formation. This ensures that the upper formations are capable of supporting the higher weight, and if not then the highest permitted weight is at least established prior to entering the less stable zone. Reducing mud weight when close to stress balance can shock the formation and induce failure which may not have occurred had the wellbore never been subjected to the higher weight. It is exactly this type of “Induced Failure” that can occur if care is not taken during tripping. As the drill string is pulled out of the hole, the “Swab Effect” of raising the drill string will tend to lower the effective mud weight below the bit. The magnitude of this “Swab Effect” (effective mud weight reduction) will depend on the annular clearance of the drill string in the hole and the speed with which the pipe is raised - the smaller the annular clearance and the faster the tripping speed, then the greater will be the swab effect. Now if this swab effect was sufficiently large to drop the effective mud weight close to, or below the minimum recommended for borehole stability, then failure of the formation could occur. Similarly if the drill string was tripped in the hole at an uncontrolled rate, then the resulting “Surge Pressures” generated could be sufficient to break down the formation and cause losses. In order to avoid problems with drill string Swab and Surge, it is strongly recommended that accurate computer models be used on the rig site to establish the safe tripping speeds - accurate data entry is essential to ensure realistic information is generated. It should be noted that a review of recent ERD wells has shown that the Swab / Surge effects are NOT LIMITED TO THE OPEN HOLE SECTION and can result in the need to trip with care in the casing. Mud type Chemical interactions between mud and formation also affect borehole stability. It is well established that a Water Based mud system will always have a greater chemical reaction with shales and mudstones than an Oil Based mud system. This, combined with the fact that the formations will be exposed to the mud for an extended period of time, usually leads to the choice of Oil Based mud systems when drilling extended reach wells. In saying that, however, the effect of water phase salinity (WPS) should not be neglected. In addition to it’s inhibitive nature, the “Mud Lubricity” (ability to reduce torque) of Oil Based mud is very much better than that of Water based mud systems. That said, high torque’s can still cause occur, even when using low-weight OBM. Recent studies generally indicated that the addition of mud lubricants had little impact on the mud lubricity. Testing did demonstrate that the OIL / WATER RATIO (OWR) had a significant impact on lubricity. The metal-to-metal friction of a 90/10 OWR was 50% lower than a 68/38 OWR, and metal-to-sand friction was 40% lower. In practice, it was found that the higher OWR OBMs have reduced drilling torque’s.

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2.1.3. Well bore geometry - shape / size of the well. The well bore geometry of a typical ERD well involves a kick-off from vertical in the 17.1/2” section, a build-up to the required tangent inclination (usually between 75O and 80O) at which point the 13.3/8” casing is set. The extended 12.1/4” tangent section is drilled to the required casing setting depth and 9.5/8” casing is set. Thereafter 8.1/2” (and even 6”) hole sections are drilled and cased. A number of factors influence the choice of well path profile including such things as minimising drilling torque, casing running limitations, minimising casing wear, well path anti-collision considerations and target azimuth / inclination in the reservoir. The net result is a well profile which is difficult to clean. In the 17.1/2” section the hole angle is built-up, this can often involve substantial sections of oriented drilling with a steerable system during which the drill string is not rotated. As discussed previously pipe rotation is an important factor in hole cleaning and the lack of pipe rotation combined with barely adequate flowrates can result in sub-optimal hole cleaning during this hole section. In addition it has been well established that the most difficult holes to clean are in the range 40O to 60O of inclination since cuttings beds start to form over this range. These cuttings beds are particularly unstable and once formed the stationary cuttings beds have the tendency to slide down the hole and can even cause stuck pipe or packing-off. In the 12.1/4” hole the high inclination extended tangent section is drilled, this should be drilled predominantly in rotary mode. Despite this pipe rotation however, hole cleaning problems still occur as a result of the build-up of extensive cutting beds on the low side of the hole any time the pumps / rotary are stopped and this combined with barely adequate flowrates can result in suboptimal hole cleaning during this hole section. Effective hole cleaning in this section requires a large measure of patience on the part of the rig team. In the 8.1/2” and smaller hole sections the tangent section may be extended to TD or the hole built up to become horizontal, this should be drilled predominantly in rotary mode. In general, hole cleaning in these hole sections should not cause the same degree of problems as the larger hole sizes since flowrate limitations generally do not apply in these sections. However well specific criteria such as weak formations (need to modify the mud rheology / flowrates) or substantial azimuth / inclination changes (oriented drilling mode with no pipe rotation) may result in sub-optimal hole cleaning during this hole section. It should be realised that any mistake in these hole sections will more often than not result in stuck pipe! 2.1.4. Time spent circulating. From all of the above then it should be clear that the time spent circulating the hole clean in an ERD well will be substantially more than in a conventional well. Regardless of flowrate and mud rheology, extended high angle wells require

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more circulations to clean. The old methods of circulating bottoms up or even circulating a high vis pill around are not enough in an ERD well. In earlier ERD wells, the tripping / hole cleaning philosophy adopted was generally to circulate the hole once around and then to Pump and Backream out of the hole, in some cases this was successful, however in a great number of cases severe problems were experienced during the trip (i.e: high overpulls, hole packing off, lost circulation), in some cases drill string were stuck resulting in the need to side-track the well. More recent experience has shown that the long high angle 12.1/4” hole sections often require up to 4 times bottoms up circulations before the drill string can be pulled, but trips are then trouble free. The circulating time can appear long, but it is time well spent. It cannot be emphasised enough that prior to tripping out of the hole, circulation must be continued until the return of cuttings has genuinely reduced to a minimal level since failure to allow sufficient circulation can lead to serious tripping problems. “Lag Time - v - Hole Angle” Model. To assist in calculating the circulation time required prior to tripping, BP developed the following “Lag Time - v - Hole Angle” model to calculate the optimum circulation prior to tripping. 1. Divide the well into sections as per the hole size / inclination intervals in the table below. 2. For each section multiply it’s length by the appropriate section length factor from the table to obtain the effective length of the well. 3. The Number of Circulations = Total Effective Length of the well Measured length of the well 4. Volume Required = (Number of Circulations x Bottoms-Up volume)

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Inclination of well (Degrees) 0 - 10 10 - 30 30 - 60 60 - 90

Section 17.1/2” 1.5 1.7 2.5 3.0

Length 12.1/4” 1.3 1.4 1.8 2.0

Factor 8.1/2” 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.7 6” 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6

Note: The above outlined guideline is only applicable if the hole has been properly cleaned whilst drilling. If the shakers are still loaded after the calculated time, keep circulating until the shakers are clean. “Lag Time - v - Hole Angle” Example. Consider the following well. The assembly is about to be pulled from 7500ft AHBDF. Calculate the circulation required before pulling out.

1. Divide the well into sections according to inclination in the diagram. 2. Multiply each section by the correct section length factor from the table (Note: the same factors are used for inside the previous casing string). Add all the effective lengths together to give the Total Effective Length.

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Total Effective length = (2500 x 1.5) + (1000 x 1.7) + (1200 x 2.5) + (2800 x 3.0) = 16850ft. 3. Number of circulations = 16850 / 7500 = 2.2 circulations 4. Circulation Required = 2.2 times Bottoms-Up Volume. The above method has been used with great success in the most recent ERD wells and it is strongly recommended that full use be made of this “Lag Time - v - Hole Angle” model for deciding the circulation volume required to clean the hole prior to tripping or at any other time. MWD Measurement Systems A very effective means of confirming the effectiveness of hole cleaning is the use of Down Hole Dynamics Measurement Systems run in the MWD package. These systems can provide such information as Down-Hole Weight On Bit, Down-Hole Torque At Bit and Down-Hole Annular Pressure. All of these measurements, when correctly interpreted, can assist the rig team in determining the effectiveness of both primary hole cleaning and the remedial actions of wiper trips, reaming, circulating and pumping sweeps. The system is run immediately below the standard MWD package. Axial, torsional and pressure stain gauge data is translated into force, torque and pressure, and then communicated to surface via mud pulse telemetry. Surface computations are then carried out to establish a rotating friction factor, a drag coefficient and the ECD on a foot by foot basis, using surface and downhole data. These calculated parameters can then be displayed alongside primary drilling parameters in order to diagnose deteriorating hole cleaning trends. It is strongly recommended that Down-Hole Dynamics systems be used when drilling an ERD well. Shape / Size of cuttings Whilst the volume of cuttings being returned over the shale shakers is commonly used as a measure of the effectiveness of hole cleaning, an often overlooked method is to observe the shape and size of the cuttings being returned. In general the following observations can be made about the shape / size / volume of returned cuttings:1. 2. 3. A low cuttings return rate for the penetration rate indicates that cuttings beds are forming or have already formed. Erratic cuttings returns indicates that cuttings beds are forming or have already formed. A high volume of fine cuttings returns indicates that cuttings beds have formed and cuttings are being mechanically broken up (this is most often associated with an increase in PV due to increasing LGS in the mud). Rounded and reground cuttings returns indicates that cuttings beds have formed and cuttings are remaining in the hole for some time.

4.

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5.

Large angular cuttings are, more often than not, bore hole cavings and indicate that the well bore is becoming unstable.

COMBO Pills As another means of confirming the effectiveness of hole cleaning, periodic use should be made of Low Viscosity / High Viscosity (High Weight) COMBINATION (or TANDEM) PILLS. The principal behind these pills is that the Low Vis pill, which is in turbulent flow, agitates and lifts cuttings from the low side of the hole. These cuttings drop through the Low Vis pill into the High Vis pill, which is in laminar flow. Once into the High Vis pill the additional viscosity in the pill helps to slow down the gravitation of the cuttings towards the low side of the hole. Note that best results are achieved if the High Vis pill is WEIGHTED since the additional weight provides additional buoyancy to the cuttings, which in itself slows the gravitation of the cuttings to the low side of the hole. These COMBO pills should be used with caution, however, since their over use will very quickly affect the rheology of the main mud system. It is recommended to pump no more than 2 COMBO pills per day whilst drilling and one prior to tripping. In addition due consideration should be given to the loss in hydrostatic head as the lo-vis pill comes around. Best results with these COMBO pills are achieved if, after the pills enter the annulus, then the pumps are not stopped until they come back at the shakers. Prior to the return of the pills, the shale shaker header boxes should be cleaned out since a false impression of the hole condition can be the result of the pills picking up large quantities of cuttings as they pass through “Dirty” header boxes. The COMBO pill should consist of a Low Viscosity mud pill (15 bbls) followed by a High Viscosity, High Weight pill (15 bbls). The weight of the heavy pill should be at least 100 pptf heavier than the mud weight in use, and together, the low and high weight pills should equal the mud weight in use. As has been stated previously, hole cleaning is an issue in Extended Reach wells which cannot ever be over emphasised since it is often the deciding factor between the success or failure of the well. A summary of ERD well Hole Cleaning Recommendations can be found in section 1, these points should be brought to the attention of all key personnel of the rig team.

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2.2

Tripping in an ERD Well.

Tripping the drill string in an ERD well is the operation which carries the highest risk of a “Stuck Pipe Incident” occurring and should it occur, that incident will have “Inadequate Hole Cleaning” as it’s Root Cause. What generally happens is that the trip out of the hole is started before the hole has been properly circulated clean. Cuttings remaining in the hole quickly settle to the low side of the hole higher up the section (either in the build-up section or in the tangent section) where they remain as cuttings beds until such time as the BHA starts to be tripped through them. Overpulls on the drill string start to increase due to the BHA mechanically moving these cuttings beds up the hole and the decision is taken to circulate clean, or even pump-out of the hole. Now unless extreme care is taken when breaking circulation at this point, large quantities of cuttings are lifted from around the BHA which quickly overload the annulus and the hole “Packs Off” around the BHA or even higher up the hole. After the hole has “Packed Off” drill string movement, initially, is still possible, however as more cuttings settle down onto the packed off section string movement get progressively more difficult until such a time as it is no longer possible to move the string - the drill string is stuck! Circulating Clean Avoiding such “Stuck Pipe Incidents” whilst tripping in an ERD well is simple and can be summed up in the following statement: CIRCULATE THE HOLE CLEAN BEFORE STARTING A TRIP OUT OF THE HOLE. The mechanics and techniques of Hole Cleaning in ERD wells are extensively covered in section 2.1 and those unfamiliar with the contents of that section are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with that KEY section prior to covering anything else in this document. Back-Reaming Having already stated that Back Reaming is strongly advised against, well specific problems may dictate that there is no alternative and for those occasions the following Back-reaming procedure has been developed to minimise the risks of packed-off / stuck pipe. 1. 2. Back Reaming whilst POOH should only be undertaken if all else fails (i.e; circulating clean under the tight spot has already been tried). Back Reaming out of the hole with full RPM and full pump rate is not recommended since there is no time to react if anything goes wrong. The preferred method would be to initially Back Ream the stand slowly all the way up using 1/2 pumps and 1/2 RPM. At the top of the stand pick up to full drilling RPM and pump rate, ream the stand down, then up again prior to disconnecting the stand. If Back Reaming is required for more than one or two stands, then a limit should be placed on the number of stands back reamed before the hole is circulated clean. Back Ream three stands then circulate clean. After circulating attempt to POOH again, if no-go then continue back reaming three stands at a time.

3.

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Tripping Speed As already mentioned in section 2.1.2 (mud weight) well bore stability can be compromised due to “Swab / Surge Effect” if care is not taken during tripping. Updated and accurate computer models should be used on the rig site to establish the safe tripping speeds. In addition, experience has shown that attempts to trip in a “Clean Hole” at “Normal” tripping speeds in ERD wells can quickly lead to excessive hole drag, if however tripping speeds are reduced then little or no drag is experienced. A number of recommendations can be made for Tripping in ERD wells, however, since all relate in some way to effective hole cleaning, nothing will be gained by further labouring this issue. A summary of ERD well Tripping Recommendations can be found in section 1, these points should be brought to the attention of all key personnel of the rig team.

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2.3

ERD well Drilling Operations.

In general the well paths chosen for ERD wells tend to LOOK “Straight Forward” when viewed on paper. That does not mean, however, that they ARE “Straight Forward” to drill IN PRACTICE. Some of the factors which will complicate the process when drilling an ERD well are as follows:2.3.1. Hole cleaning is poor if the drill string is not rotated, therefore hole cleaning will be poor in the “Oriented” sections of the hole. Steerable motors when first introduced dramatically improved drilling efficiency for directional wells, but the price for this extra control increases with extended reach wells, which push the torque, drag and hole cleaning limits. Oriented drilling, aside from being slow, results in extremely poor hole cleaning and numerous dog-legs. These factors in turn can cause: poor drilling performance due to additional torque, additional time spent circulating / wiping to clean / condition the hole, wiper / reaming trips to wipe out dog-legs. All in all, steerable motors have allowed targets to be smaller and are the only cost effective way to drill ERD wells, but there is a cost, sometimes not obvious, attached to this extra directional control. Computer models have not been able to fully asses the value of rotation, but more and more evidence is demonstrating that it is often the KEY parameter in hole cleaning. For example on a recent ERD well on which a “Pressure Whilst Drilling” sub was used clear changes in bottom hole pressure were seen between orient and rotary drilling. As soon as rotation was stopped, cuttings transportation stopped and cuttings beds built up very rapidly, a drop in ECD was observed. As soon as pipe rotation was resumed, cuttings beds were picked up immediately which resulted in a rise in annular pressure and a corresponding rise in ECD. It became quite apparent in the larger hole sizes, hole cleaning was effectively NIL without pipe rotation, even with “Adequate” mud flow rates. It was also found that the ECD was reduced (inadequate hole cleaning) if orientation was carried out at the start of each stand, however a more continuous cuttings flow from the shakers was observed if the orientation was carried out at the end of the stand. It is strongly recommended that in order to MAXIMISE HOLE CLEANING, ORIENTED DRILLING be kept to the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. 2.3.2. As the well is drilled, orienting the drill string will become more and more difficult due to such things as the length of drill string and hole drag. The ability to “correct” the well path will be significantly reduced. Experience of drilling ERD wells has shown that as the well bore is extended, orienting the tool face in order to start a correction can be very time consuming. The high inclination and hole drags preclude effective weight transfer to the bit and is most pronounced towards the end of a section where there is a considerable length of open hole behind the bit. In other ERD wells this has resulted in the need to set casing “Early” when well path corrections were required. In addition pump limitations can often force the replacement of the steerable motor assembly with a conventional rotary assembly which has a far lower pressure drop requirement, consequently “corrections” are limited to inclination only, even with adjustable stabilisers.

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Experience has shown that MWD “Drilling Dynamics Measurement” systems can clearly indicate the onset of weight transferral problems. In addition, these systems have indicated that effective weight transferral can also be an issue in ROTARY DRILLING where progressively less weight is transferred to the bit as the stand is drilled down, consequently ROP decreases. Reaming the hole alleviates the problem and it is recommended that if weight transferral is problematic, then only 1/2 the stand be drilled before the hole is reamed and drilling resumed. It is strongly recommended that any well path corrections be made as close to the previous casing shoe as is practical. 2.3.3. Drill string or surface torque limitations can impede rate of penetration and can also impact on hole cleaning as a result of reduced RPM. As torque can be a limiting factor for ERD wells, means of monitoring and reducing torque levels should be understood. In order to move a drill string in a well bore, the friction force between the drill string and the well bore must be over come. This friction force depends on the contact force between the drill string and the well bore at the point of interest. By measuring this force, tripping or rotating “Coefficients of Friction” (COFs) can be established for the various sections of a well and it becomes possible to generate torque and drag predictions for a given well path. Put simply the higher the COF, then the more force will be required to overcome the friction and move the drill string. In view of the above, it should be clear that any efforts to reduce drilling torque should priorities on reducing overall COFs in the well and this will hinge on being able to reduce the contact force between the drill string and well bore. The contact force between the drill string and the well bore will depend on well bore geometry (dog-leg severity), mud lubricity and drill string configuration. The well path (well bore geometry) of an ERD well should be planned so as to minimise drilling torque and drag requirements. The beneficial reductions in torque and drag achievable with “Catenary” well profiles (Anchor Chain profile a low dog-leg slow build curve leading to a high angle tangent section) were established as early as 1985 and subject to detailed study which validated the advantages. In practice, achieving pure catenary profiles is difficult and of diminishing returns relative to a reasonable approximation of a catenary trajectory. As a compromise between torque reduction and well planning realism, “Pseudo Catenary” well profiles (slow build up initially - 1O/100ft, increasing in steps to 2.5O/100ft) have been developed for ERD wells. Experience has shown that the use of this type of profile results in a reduction in drilling torque and an increase in effective casing running weight of 20 - 25%. Pseudo Catenary profiles exhibit significant benefits in terms of reducing torque, increasing the ability to run tubulars or slide drilling assemblies and it is recommended that this type of well profile be considered first when planning an ERD well.

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Mud Lubricity is an important parameter impacting torque / drag and is covered in detail in section 2.1.2. Of all of the parameters affecting torque / drag, it is perhaps the easiest to change - increase the OWR to reduce the torque. In the build-up and tangent sections of an ERD well, the drill string lays on the low side of the well bore. This drill string is, for the most part, UNSUPPORTED, consequently a large cross-sectional area is in direct contact with the well bore and will require considerable energy to move. A reduction in the area of the drill string in contact with the well bore will result in corresponding reduction in the energy required to move the drill string. Reduction of the drill string “contact area” can be achieved by “STABILISING THE DRILL STRING” (lifting the string off the low side of the hole) over a portion of it’s length. Several vendors supply drill string stabilisation tools, some are more effective than others. Currently the best of these are: Non-Rotating Drill Pipe Protectors (Western Oil Tools), Drill String Torque Reduction Subs (Security/DBS) and Lo Torq Hevi-Weight Drill Pipe (Stable Services). It should be noted that drill string “Contact Area” is considerably larger in a hole with extensive cuttings beds, therefore hole cleaning can have a considerable impact on torque / drag requirements. 2.3.4. Torque and drag figures should be closely monitored throughout the well and used to update computer models. Various torque / drag models are available for planning, evaluating and monitoring ERD operations, however experience has shown that no models are currently available which can ACCURATELY predict bit torque during the myriad of dynamic drilling conditions encountered. For this and other reasons it is strongly recommended that MWD Drilling Dynamics Measurement systems be run and the data provided by these systems be used to update the computer models used. Once confidence in the updated model is established, the data generated for each hole section can provide the ability for detailed monitoring of the hole conditions. Continuously updating the computer model will provide a high degree of confidence in the ability to forecast future operations. It is strongly recommended that torque / drag figures are closely monitored throughout the well and used to update computer models. In addition every effort should be made to keep torque / drag values as low as is practical. 2.3.5. The potential for extensive casing wear will be high in an ERD well and therefore a means to reduce monitor and quantify casing wear should be established. Casing wear remains a high interest issue for ERD wells. Engineers struggle with establishing means of allowing for casing wear in casing designs and monitoring casing wear during drilling. Experience indicates that these problems can, for a large part, be substantially reduced through the use of new generation drill pipe hard banding (eg; ARNCO 200XT) which protect both casing and drill pipe. The success of the new hard banding metals in avoiding casing wear and the repeated correlation of casing wear problems with tungsten carbide should be appreciated by those embarking on an ERD well project. The
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cost of appropriate hard banding is minimal compared with the trouble time associated with casing failures caused by tungsten carbide type materials. In addition to hard banding, it should be realised that the measures taken to reduce drill string torque (i.e; non rotating drill pipe protectors, etc.) can, to a large extent, help in reducing casing wear. As drilling progresses, casing wear should be monitored and quantified. It is strongly recommended that ditch magnet metal recovery be used to plot casing wear as a function of 10,000 revolutions v total metal recovered. Also plot metal recovery on a daily basis of total revolutions v total metal recovered. The resulting slope gives grams / 1000 RPM and it is very easy to see trend changes. A number of recommendations can be made for Drilling an ERD well, some have been covered in the section above, whilst others, which do not warrant such extensive coverage, have been included for completeness. A summary of ERD well Drilling Recommendations can be found in section 1 of this document, these points should be brought to the attention of all key personnel in the rig team.

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2.4

Running casing in ERD wells

Experience has shown that Casing Running in ERD wells is PROBLEMATIC. First there is the shear “LOGISTICS” of the exercise - it is not uncommon to run anything up to TWICE the normal length of a particular size of casing. Second there are the “OPERATIONAL” problems associated with forcing a large O.D. closed-end pipe into a Very Long, Very High Inclination well bore, with a not much bigger I.D. 2.4.1. When running casing in an ERD well the logistics problems are immense, casing lengths are very long, mud and cement volumes are huge and more often than not, both deck and tank space limitations mean that a “Stand-By” oil field Supply Boat is used to provide additional deck and tank space. This results in the success or failure of the operation being governed by both the weather and by the “juggling skills” of the Rig team. The logistical constraints of casing running in an ERD well must be considered at the PLANNING stage of the well. A clear “Logistics Management Plan” should be developed for each hole section which covers all aspects of the operations to complete each section. Due consideration should be given to the time of year that the well is drilled and the expected weather conditions when the casing will be run. In order to provide the maximum flexibility to the Rig Team the casing setting depths should be specified as a range of depths (from the minimum acceptable depth to the optimum depth). This will allow the Rig Team to plan casing running operations around weather forecasts. It is strongly recommended that a “Logistics Management Plan” be developed early in the project. This plan should be developed by a COMBINED On Shore / Off Shore team. 2.4.2. Casing running in an ERD well is an operation fraught with difficulties. First there is the actual time and effort taken to run such extended lengths of casing. Second there is the risk that the casing may stand-up and not go to bottom. Third there is the risk that once on bottom it may not be possible to perform the cement job due to hole pack-off or blocked float equipment. These risks must be managed and minimised if the casing running operations are to be successful. The recommendations from successful casing running operations on previous ERD wells can be summarised as follows:-

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(a) THE WELL BORE SHOULD BE GENUINELY CLEAN BEFORE ANY ATTEMPT IS MADE TO RUN CASING. (b) The casing running operation should be modelled on the computer well before the actual operation to identify any potential problem areas. (c) Run casing at the lowering speed obtained from the up-dated computer model. (d) The number of casing centralizers run should be kept to a minimum in order to minimise drag. (e) Connection times should be kept to a minimum. Should there be a delay in casing running (i.e: off loading boats, waiting on cranes, etc.) it is recommended that circulation be broken as in (g) below, circulation should continue until the hole has been verified clean before continuing to run casing. (f) Should the casing start to pick up additional drag or stand-up whilst running in, pull back at least 1 full joint before breaking circulation. DO NOT START WASHING DOWN UNTIL THE HOLE HAS BEEN VERIFIED CLEAN AS OUTLINED IN (g) BELOW. (g) Break circulation slowly and DO NOT EXCEED THE DRILLING ANNULAR VELOCITY until, at least, BOTTOMS-UP has been circulated - DO NOT STOP THE PUMPS DURING THIS PHASE. Thereafter increase pump rate slowly until cementing pump rate has been achieved, continue to circulate at maximum rate until hole has cleaned up. Work the casing slowly during circulating, bear in mind Swab / Surge effects. (h) Once casing is on bottom, circulate the hole clean as outlined in (g) above. DO NOT RIG UP CEMENTING EQUIPMENT (HEADS, LINE, ETC.) UNTIL THE HOLE HAS BEEN VERIFIED AS CLEAN. A complete summary of ERD well Casing Running Recommendations can be found in section 1 of this document, these points should be brought to the attention of all key personnel in the rig team.

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