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2 31/12/2020
Potential Drilling Problems

Defining problems shapes the start of any engineering project. The nature and scale of the problems differ owing to the nature of an engineering effort. Drilling operations are considered as the cornerstone of petroleum industry, and petroleum resources are the main pillars of the modern civilization. Oil and natural gas proved reserves were estimated at 1.3 trillion barrels and 200 trillion cubic meters respectively.

Drilling costs are estimated some 25% of worldwide upstream budgets. Drilling faces many complications that are difficult to be directly observed as most of them take place under the surface. Planning drilling operations is seen as one of the biggest challenges facing engineers and field crews.

The planning stage usually includes all possible scenarios of anticipated problems and possible solutions. Many drilling problems can pose a great risk either to the life of the crew, or to the well itself, and it is -by all means- very difficult to find solutions to these problems on spot.

Drilling requires a large number of equipment, crews, transport vehicles, a lot of mechanical equipment and chemicals, thus, all steps taken in the field must proceed in harmony so that the work cycle moves in a monotonous manner. Nevertheless, problems do arise, equipment breaks down, and it is almost certain that problems will happen during drilling even in carefully planned wells. One of the reasons is that the formations and geological conditions are heterogeneous, which means a well may be drilled without any problems or difficulties, while problems may appear when drilling an adjacent well. 

This study aims at explaining the most important problems associated with drill stem, mud, operations, control, casing, cementing, and directional drilling problems, either on or offshore. It examines some of the issues that emerged with the development of the directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, and it deals with the potential environmental impacts of these problems.

Case studies and examples on specific problems and their related solutions were presented as part of an attempt to provide a clear reading of a problem, and to enrich the information about field solutions that were followed, as accumulated knowledge contributes to creating a system of preventive measures and ultimately lead to sustainable operations development. Examples in the study highlighted drilling problems caused by human error and other caused by reasons beyond control. In fact, every problem encountered in any drilling location in the world opens an opportunity for preventing / solving the same problem elsewhere. This practically means improving drilling efficiency.