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BHGE successfully deployed the FASTrak™ HD fluid analysis sampling and testing while drilling service offshore Malaysia in a well that experienced total losses and while operating with pressurized mud cap drilling (PMCD). PVT quality samples, critical to proving commercial reserves, were captured in a difficult drilling environment reducing project risk and costs. Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), and Sarawak Shell’s successful collaboration provided the industry’s first capture of accurate reservoir gas samples while using PMCD.

The vertical exploratory well was drilled from a semi-submersible rig and had total mud losses almost immediately upon penetrating the carbonate, and PMCD was invoked.

PMCD typically requires seawater to be pumped down the drill pipe and water-based light annular mud (LAM) pumped down the backside of the drill pipe to provide pressure control. The mud system used was a mix of synthetic oil-based mud and seawater.

Download the PDF to read the full case study.

Challenges & Results


  • Sampling-while-drilling Carbonate (karst) with total losses under PMCD conditions
  • Low contamination gas sampling and preservation of low H2S concentration
  • Keeping BHA stationary in a vertical well drilled from a floating rig


  • Successfully completed pressure testing and sampling under total losses and PMCD
  • Two gas samples with low OBM contamination between 1% and 3%
  • Excellent consistency with wireline samples
  • Critical understanding of fluid composition and gas contaminants, essential to securing a gas sales agreement
  • Successful sampling prevented further well testing, saving the operator time and money