Underbalanced, near-balanced drilling are possible offshore

Drilling underbalanced, or near balancedwith lightweight drilling fluids, has practical applications offshore.Underbalanced drilling (UBD), a technique in which the hydrostatic head of drilling fluid is intentionally designed to be lower than the formation pressure, has been successfully used for more than a decade onshore. It is useful for infill drilling in depleted fields and in developing lower-permeability reservoirs. According to Kip Pratt, drilling engineering advisor at Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary, more than 15,000 underbalanced wells have been drilled on land in the US and Canada as of September 2002, of which only 9,000 were drilled underbalanced over the entire planned length a...

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