Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Above barriers: Underbalanced drilling

Drilling operations do not stop; only the ways and means change overtime. Since foremost of the popular alternatives practiced today is underbalanced drilling (UBD), it is only fitting for all players involved to examine how this rapidly expanding trend is attracting an overwhelming amount of success and appreciation at the same time.

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Underbalanced drilling technique is characterized by a wellbore pressure maintained lower than the formation pressure typically observed in drilling operations. Unlike the conventional drilling method which keeps wells to be drilled overbalanced, UBD technique is defined by that intentional lowering of hydrostatic head pressure. Primarily used to reduce formation damage, UBD technology answers the need to go around difficulties on drilling wells in mature, low-pressure reservoirs or sources where conventional drilling methods are no longer feasible.

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Despite its popular use, underbalanced drilling is not a new phenomenon. It is said that similar methods are already being used several decades ago. While this technique has advantages, petroleum engineers like Ali Ghalambor know that continuous studies on the UBD application has to be made.

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The increasing issue on oil depletion that causes consistent forms of panic is often a matter of perception on the lack or absence of solution. For the oil and gas sector, the issue really hinges on the requirement for alternatives. The UBD technique, despite its current limitations, is without doubt a groundbreaking achievement for an industry segment that rises above barriers.

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