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by Mark S. Ramsey, P.E.

Denver, October 9, 1996

"Rocky Mountain High"

He was born in the summer of his 27th year,

coming home to a place he'd never been before.

He left yesterday behind him you might say he was born again,

might say he found a key for every door.

When he first came to the mountains, His life was far away

on the road and hanging by a song...

Over the past few days, the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibit was held in the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. I had the pleasure of attending as part of making a presentation. Below are highlights of selected papers contained in the "Drilling" proceedings, listed in numeric order. Feel free to call or e-mail for more information on any of these.

SPE 36425 - Cesium Formate: Results and Analysis of Drilling With a New High Density Unweighted Brine - This paper highlights a controlled experiment in a downhole drilling simulator (at TerraTek in Salt Lake City), that pitted Cesium Formate fluid against an optimized hematite water based mud drilling berea sandstone and mancos shale with a roller cone insert bit.

SPE 36426 - Scleroglucan Bioploymer Enhances WBM Performances - This study concludes that Scleroglucan polymer is superior to Xanthan in hole cleaning, ROP, temperature stability, and tolerance to shale loading.

...Now his life is full of wonder,

but his heart still knows some fear,

of the simple things he can not comprehend...

SPE 36429 - Evaluation of a New Technique for Removing Horizontal Wellbore Damage Attributable to Drill-In Filter Cake - A dual stage treatment consisting of application of a polymer specific enzyme (PSE) followed by an acid wash is effective at reducing skin damage to zero!

SPE 36430 - Drilling Fluid Design to Prevent Formation Damage in High Permeability Quartz Arenite Sandstones - The Mirador formation of the Cusiana field in Columbia is characterized by unusually high permeability for its porosity. Special techniques have been developed to minimize skin damage for this formation.

...And they say that he got crazy once and that he tried to touch the sun,

and he lost a friend, but kept the memory...

SPE 36432 - Development of the First Commercial Hot Hole MWD System - Sperry Sun highlights their six month fast track development of the world's first MWD tool rated at 175 deg. C. operating, 200 deg. C. survival. An interesting point of the presentation was that this was done through pushing authority downward, using team approaches, and empowerment principles!

SPE 36433 - Acoustic Telemetry: The New MWD System - Mr. Tochikawa of JNOC presented results of a successful program to build and field test a "through the steel" acoustic telemetry system. The system features a downhole magnetostrictive oscillator, and was demonstrated in a wellbore 1914 meters deep and at 49 degrees deviation from vertical.

SPE 36434 - The Effects of Pressure and Rotary Speed on the Drag Bit Drilling Strength of Deep Formations - The concept of "dynamic confinement" was presented to explain why drag bits drill slower in deep formations. Briefly, it is a hypothesis for explaining why deep shales often appear to be failing plastically, even with a shearing bit.

SPE 36435 - High Penetration Rates and Extended Bit Life Through Revolutionary Hydraulic and Mechanical Design in PDC Drill Bit Development - A new hydraulic design that points two jets down from higher up on the bit and has two more placed more conventionally is said to significantly improve the sweeping/cleaning action of the mud, thus cleaning and cooling the bit better. The design also incorporates asymmetry, thus minimizing vibrations or whirling.

SPE 36436 - Purpose-Built PDC Bit Successfully Drills 7-in. Liner Equipment and Formation: An Integrated Solution - When standard bits would not adequately drill out cement shoe equipment, and the operator did not wish to change that equipment, a special heavy-set PDC bit was designed to overcome the problems.

...But the strings already broken

and he doesn't really care,

it keeps changin' fast, and it don't last for long...

SPE 36448 - Minimum Cost Casing Design - Enertech presented a good overview of casing design criteria and a software driven solution to designing casing strings on a minimum cost criteria.

SPE 36462 - Drilling and Underreaming Simultaneously: A Cost Effective Solution - Why drill and then trip and then ream when you can do both together, thus saving trip time? Smith presents the technique and case histories, which showed a typical savings of roughly 50% as compared to the "old way" of doing things. One catch: the hydraulics and associated hole cleaning problems are complicated due to the two sizes of holes being "drilled".

SPE 36463 - Shallow Gas Well Drilling With Coiled Tubing in the San Juan Basin - Successful drilling of shallow gas wells was accomplished by this Halliburton team using a combination of workover rigs and CT rigs. Savings averaged around 25% off of conventional rotary jobs, mostly due to faster mob/demob and smaller (or using existing) locations. The speaker offered the opinion that in the San Juan basin the economic (not technical) limit for CT drilling was around 3000 feet.

SPE 36464 - The Effect of Fluid Flow on Coiled Tubing Reach - This paper advances the understanding of the phenomenon of CT "lockup" by adding the effects of fluid flow. In many cases studied, the effective reach of the CT was reduced by 10-20% due to annular drag when produced fluid was flowing up the annulus.

...It's a Colorado Rocky Mountain High,

I've seen it raining fire in the sky

The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullabye...

SPE 36465 - Remote Arctic Drilling Operations in Russia, Case History of Ardalin Field Operations, Timan Pechora Basin - I didn't read this paper but the presentation was a good overview of logistical, cultural, political, and technical hurdles that the Conoco "Polar Lights" operation had to overcome in working the Ardalin field in far Northern Russia above the Arctic circle surrounded by sensitive tundra and military types.

...He climbed cathedral mountains,

he saw silver clouds below,

saw everything as far as you can see...

SPE 36466 and SPE 36467 - Two Amoco Papers On Opon! - Amoco's best and brightest recapped the geology (SPE 36466) and drilling challenges (SPE 36467) encountered in the Opon concession of Columbia, complete with its 22.8 ppg mud, 30.0 ppg FCCT's, tubing limited dry gas production, "spectacular surface anticline", and other items associated with the already drilled and upcoming (spudding any day as I type) wells.

SPE 36475 - Characterization of the Initial, Transitional, and Set Properties of Oilwell Cement - Development of an improved cement measurement tool, the "dynamic modulus test apparatus (DMTA)" is described by BJ Services. It is a refined, updated, higher resolution version of the older UCA. A companion paper, SPE 36476, extends the discussion to include calibration, use, and interpretation of results of this new device.

SPE 36478 - New Technology Eliminates Bulking in Cementing Operations - A new liquid cement premix (LCP), that can be stored indefinitely, is described.

SPE 36482 - Low-Cost Short-Radius Re-Entry Horizontal Drilling Program Revitalizes Aging Northern Michigan Niagaran Oil Fields - Progress in drilling this particular field using Re-Entry and Short Radius techniques (up to 67 deg./100 ft.!) from 1994 to present is described. The project has been very successful and well costs have come down from around 600k to 350k per well.

SPE 36485 - Analysis of Surface and Wellbore Hydraulics Provides Key to Efficient Blowout Control - This paper given by Shell addresses how several different non-exact observations can be used to approximate flow rates from wells flowing in an uncontrolled fashion to the surface (i.e. blowouts). Such observations that are loosely correlated to flow rates include the size and shapes of plumes, vents, and craters; the type of fluid; the wellhead pressure and temperature; the measured noise vs. distance from the well; results of unsuccessful kill operations, and so forth. Case histories are included.

SPE 36486 - Improved Primary Cement Jobs Through the Use of Unique Spacer Design Technology: Gulf of Mexico Case History Study - Development and use of a new spacer design is described. In the Q&A period, the author indicated that the design provides both better cleaning ahead of the cement and should be lower cost, (though the latter is not in his control).

Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the stream,

seeking grace in every step he takes,

his sight is turned inside himself, to try and understand,

the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

SPE 36487 - Logging While Fishing: An Alternate Method to Cut and Thread Fishing - Why fish when you can log simultaneously? A technique which combines elements of "cut and thread" wireline fishing with "side-entry sub" wireline tools permits logging of the well after the fish is engaged, thus saving time compared to fishing, conditioning, and then logging with drill pipe conveyed tools. Case Histories typically show a total of one to two days savings when LWF is used.


SPE 36536 - Development of a Commercial Wireline Retrievable Coring System - Tommy Warren described a wireline retrievable coring system developed for continuous coring of coal beds in Poland. The system worked extremely well, successfully coring over 26,000 feet to date in 14 wells, with a recovery in excess of 90%! Preserved core features included soft coals, clays, highly fractured zones and even a vertical fracture!


...And the Colorado Rocky Mountain High, I've seen it raining fire in the sky

You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply.

Rocky Mountain High, ....in Colorado....Rocky Mountain High...

All in all, it was a good conference. Call if you need more information.

Very truly yours,

Mark S. Ramsey, P.E.


(Lyrics to Rocky Mountain High by John Denver, Copyright by Cherry Lane Music)

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