Northside: Dual Gradient Drilling
Dual gradient (DG) drilling techniques are not new to the industry; pump-and-dump drilling is the simplest example of this. The benefits of dual gradient drilling have long been recognized, especially for deepwater applications. But those benefits have yet to be realized. Impediments to the adoption of this technique boil down to the practical difficulties of introducing a stable and controllable second density into the well while maintaining well control and overall system reliability.
Dual gradient drilling’s big appeal is that it may allow the elimination of one or more casing strings, providing obvious operational and financial benefits. Much effort has been expended trying to achieve that goal; however, the practical hurdles have proven significant. Dilution-based dual gradient drilling provides a promising alternative to previous DG techniques, mainly because the system relies upon existing technologies, or extensions thereof, and has all of its major components above the water line.
The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of dual gradient fundamentals and DG techniques already attempted or proposed, as well as an introduction to dilution-based dual gradient technology.
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