The South China Sea has rich natural gas source with typical high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) and the extremely narrow drilling window, which leads to frequent influx, even borehole abandonment. However, horizontal gas wells have been placed in the area to develop the gas reservoir, which presents greater well control challenges. Therefore, the influx risk evaluation is quite necessary to guide the well control design.

Firstly, the influx mechanism is analyzed based on gas intrusion to provide a theoretical basis for well control design. It is found that influx usually occurs when drilling the high-temperature stratums and target layers. Secondly, the relationship between horizontal open-hole length and influx volume is calculated under different reservoir permeability, reservoir thickness, negative bottom hole pressure and horizontal open-hole section length. Thirdly, the characteristics of gas-liquid two-phase flow are described. Fourthly, the inflow risk evaluation and well control strategies of the target horizontal gas wells are proposed, and the influx risk evaluation envelope was established.

The influx risk evaluation and well control strategies have been successfully applied to the DF gas field featuring offshore HPHT. Horizontal gas wells were drilled in the micro pressure window without accidents and the well cost was significantly reduced.

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