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A well located in offshore Malaysia had a challenging section that included both depleted and high-pressure zones, and the customer was seeking a stable and efficient solution for setting the casing.

To drill the high-pressure zone, the mud weight would need to be increased, but would conversely affect the depleted zone above. A dogleg severity (DLS) of 3.0°/100 ft (3°/30 m) build and turn added more difficulty to the section, and previous runs weren’t able to meet the trajectory. Additionally, the customer had found that longer ratholes resulted in compromised cement jobs and hole stability issues due to a necessary second rathole run. Because of this, the customer required the rathole to be shorter than 20 ft (6 m), and it needed to be drilled in the first run.

To help the customer accomplish their objectives, Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE) recommended running a GaugePro™ Echo on-command digital reamer behind an AutoTrak™ G3 rotary steerable system. This setup would allow the customer to drill just short of the highpressure zone, open the section to 14½ in., and set an 11¾-in. liner, while leaving behind a rathole less than 20-ft long.

The AutoTrak system kept the well on the planned trajectory, and the GaugePro Echo digital reamer, with its real-time status and drilling diameter feedback, provided the control the driller needed to reliably open the section from 12¼ in. to 14½ in. prior to hitting the high-pressure zone. The 14½-in. hole diameter was confirmed in real time, and the section was drilled to total depth (TD) in one run, leaving behind only 14.8 ft (4.5 m) of rathole.

Challenges & Results


  • Depleted zone with high pressure
  • Difficult 3.0°/100 ft DLS build and turn
  • Well plan required less than 20 ft of rathole


  • Saved an estimated 36 hours and $325,000 USD by drilling to TD and reaming the rathole in a single run
  • Under-reamed the rathole section to 14.8 ft
  • Minimized risks of reaming in high-pressure areas by using real-time functionality
  • Provided real-time confirmation of the 14½-in. hole diameter