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Deep Drilling Practice in California

By ROBERT H. GARRISON, * Los Angeles, CA, Chief Engineer, Miley Oil CO

Production Division ofAIME, Improved Production Methods, 1925.

Introduction

"The Miley Oil Co.'s Athens No.6. completed at 7591 ft., is the deepest producing oil well in the world as well as the deepest hole ever drilled with the rotary. The importance of this well lies in the fact that it was not a freak hole drilled with special equipment at terrific cost to break records, but that it was just a part of the day's work. The derrick and machinery were similar to dozens of other rigs, the drillers were the same men that had been digging 4000-ft. holes, and the careful supervision of Superintendent Allison was the same that the rotary seems to require at all depths. The formations penetrated were not particularly hard and were of the same type found in most of the fields in the Los Angeles Basin."

Garrison goes on to discuss in some detail the geology of the Los Angeles basin and the machinery used in rotary drilling.  Unfortunly, he only allowed one paragraph to discuss the drilling fluid used.  That discussion primarily described the use of hemitite use in special drilling situaions.  I assume that the base fluid used was a mud develed form formation cuttings. The following is his paragraph on the mud, inwhich a weight material is used to facilitate the cementing operation.

Use of Hematite or Barite

" From 6 to 15 tons of hematite or barite mixed with water are now pumped into the hole following the cement, to help force it back behind the pipe, where a well is unusually deep or where it is desired to eject a large quantity of cement. This weighs more than twice as much as ordinary rotary mud, puts the pressure where desired, saves subjecting

the entire string of pipe to great strain, and does not require unusual pressure to be exerted at the surface.

A very recent development is the comp.letion by Perkins of a cement wagon the pumps of which are driven by Fordson tractor motors. This outfit will be used at rigs drilled by electricity or gas or wherever sufficient steam is unavailable to furnish power to the regular outfit.

Fields with high gas pressure require the use of unusual precautions in drilling. In emergencies at Ventura Avenue the different companies have made a common system of their mud lines, so that the entire available mud supply may be forced to a blowing well. As ordinary rotary mud is not sufficiently heavy to hold down the pressure, hematite is added, giving the fluid one-fifth more weight. Blow-out preventers of the usual type are of course installed on all rigs."

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