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A customer working on a development well in the Gulf of Mexico needed to rework its upper completion, which would require removing a permanent packer from the wellbore. The packer was made of Inconel 718-125 MY, a corrosion-resistant nickel super alloy extremely difficult to mill. The operator was skeptical the packer could be milled given the challenges with corrosion resistant alloy (CRA), and was preparing to sidetrack the well. The sidetrack preparations would require at least two weeks of downtime, and the operator estimated it would take at least six trips to mill the packer—if it could be milled at all.

The customer contacted Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), to attempt to mill the packer while sidetrack preparations were underway. BHGE recommended using a customized packer mill with METAL MUNCHER™ Advanced Milling Technology (AMT) carbide. METAL MUNCHER has a proven track record for substantial improvement time with CRA milling applications. The fit-for-purpose mill was engineered for high performance and extended life, featuring a self-stabilizing design and aggressive blade design.

The packer milling bottomhole assembly (BHA) was run in hole to a depth of 15,031 ft (4581 m) where the packer was located and milling began. When the packer slips were milled through, milling stopped and the remaining packer was pushed 2569 ft (783 m) to the bottom of the well so the operator could rework the upper completion. The milling assembly was pulled out of hole, leaving a clean wellbore inside diameter.

Download the PDF to read the full case study.

Challenges & Results


  • Mill Inconel 718-125 MY packer in short time period
  • Prevent sidetrack of offshore well
  • Reduce milling runs and avoid NPT


  • Prevented sidetrack costs with fit-for-purpose milling solution
  • Efficiently milled packer in 6 hours, saving 11 days of projected rig time
  • Delivered excellent milling effectiveness, showing only 40% wear on cutting structures