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Advances in drilling hydraulics and drilling fluid rheology-Kelessidis

Advances in drilling hydraulics and drilling fluid rheology-Kelessidis

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advances made the past 3 years on prediction of drilling hydraulics and on drilling fluid rheological measurements are presented and analyzed
advances made the past 3 years on prediction of drilling hydraulics and on drilling fluid rheological measurements are presented and analyzed

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Published by: Vassilios Kelessidis on Jun 26, 2010
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07/26/2013

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paper presented at the ITU Petroleum and Natural Gas Conference, 24-25June, 2010, Istanbul
Abstract
 A review is presented of recent work from the Drilling Engineering Laboratory on drillinghydraulics and drilling fluid rheology. We present results of the comparison of modeling flow of Herschel-Bulkley fluids in concentricand eccentric annulis with data derived in thelaboratory as well as from other research, with predictions matching measurements in all cases. Drilling fluid rheology plays significant role inestimation of pressure losses and assessment ismade of various errors inherent to rheologicalmeasurements, which can be significant and canaffect pressure loss estimation, particularly inthe annulus where pressure margins can be verysmall.
Introduction
Drilling hydraulics is an essential part of drillingpackage enabling computation of pressureprofiles along the wellbore and particularly inthe annulus contributing to well safety and wellintegrity (Bourgoyne et al., 1991; Maglione etal., 1999; Bailey and Peden, 2000; Zamora andRoy, 2000) with considerable work to-datedevoted on this subject (Ramadan and Miska,2008; Ozbayoglu and Sorgun 2010) resulting inimprovements of the API recommended practicefor drilling fluid rheology and drillinghydraulics estimation (API 2006; Bern et al.,2007). Accurate determination of pressurelosses in the well circuit requires goodrepresentation of fluid rheology, based on fieldor laboratory measurements (Becker et al.,2003; Zamora et al., 2005). These becomeparticularly important in today’s difficultexploration and development environments of very deep wells, of high pressure andtemperatures, and in situations of very deep orultra-deep waters (Kelessidis, 2007). As ourunderstanding of the flow processes is still farfrom ideal, research has continued into theaspects of drilling hydraulics (Kelessidis et al.,2006; Founargiotakis et al., 2008; Scheid et al.,2009; Kok 2010;) and the development of drilling fluid additives (Kok and Alikaya, 2005;Tehrani et al., 2009) as well as on thedevelopment of rheological models (Al-Zahrani,1997; Nasiri and Ashrafizade, 2010) or thechoice of the best model (Kok, 2004; Maglioneand Kelessidis, 2006). This work aims atcritically presenting advances made on theseparticular aspects in the past five years pointingout resolutions to previous problems and
Advances in drilling hydraulics and drilling fluid rheology
 
V. C. Kelessidis
 Mineral Resources Engineering Department, Technical University of Crete, Greecevassilios.kelessidis@gmail.com http://drillinglab.mred.tuc.gr 
 
V. C. Kelessidis
addressing remaining issues and challenges forfuture work by research and industry.
Drilling hydraulics
 
Industry has studied drilling hydraulics eversince its inception and at first, Newtonianmodels have been used. Quickly, though,industry has search for flow solutions coveringnon-Newtonian fluids (Willis et al., 1973;Zamora and Lord, 1974) with comprehensiveassessment in the gospel of drilling engineering(Bourgoyne et al., 1991). Research work continued on the subject and in particular forflow in annuli, the most critical part for oil-welldrilling. These efforts aimed to describe theflow situations like velocity profiles, transitionlimits for any type of non-Newtonian fluid andin particular for yield-stress pseudoplasticfluids, like the lately revived in popularity, theHerschel-Bulkley model.Reed and Pilehvari (1993) presented a fairlycomplex model covering laminar, transitionaland turbulent flow of Herschel-Bulkley fluidsflowing in concentric annuli. They proposedmodifications to the diameters of the conduits toaccount for the non-Newtonian effect. Thisapproach has been also followed by Merlo et al.(1995), Maglione et al. (2000) and Bailey andPeden (2000) to cover all flow regimes for flowof Herschel-Bulkley fluids and of generalizednon-Newtonian fluids in concentric annuli.However, a consistent and accuratemethodology for predicting pressure drop forlaminar, transitional and turbulent flow as wellas the transition points from laminar to turbulentflow for the flow of Herschel-Bulkley fluids inconcentric annuli, without resorting to heavynumerical computations, did not exist and arecent publication (Founargiotakis et al., 2008)covered this gap.The issue is that when one attempts to predictfrictional losses, one should know whentransition from laminar to turbulent takes place,and the range of the flow rates that this occurs isnot well established even for two parametermodels both for pipe and annular flow. Most of the work to-date uses the values taken from theDodge and Metzner graph (Dodge and Metzner,1959), which has been established for powerlaw fluids and has not been extended to eitherflow in annuli nor to yield-pseuodplastic fluidslike the Herschel-Bulkley fluid. Founargiotakiset al. (2008) have used the local-power lawapproach and used in the Dodge and Metznerequation, the value of local flow behavior index,n’. Results for concentric annulus flow haverepresented experimental data well, both fromtheir work (Figure 1) as well as from work of others (Figure 2), while the eccentricitycorrections of M. Haciislamoglu and Laglinais(1990) for laminar flow and of Haciislamoglouand Cartalos (1994) for turbulent flowrepresented also very well the data for 100%eccentric annulus (Figure 3).
Drilling fluid rheology
Drilling fluids are complex fluids and theirrheological behavior needs more than oneparameter (viscosity for Newtonian fluids) tocharacterize it. Traditionally the two-parameterBingham plastic or power law models have beenused with moderate success, primarily becauseof the simplicity of the flow equations of thesemodels. However with the advent of powerfulcomputing power, industry and researchpersonnel have opted to use more advancedmodels, containing three or even moreparameters, and in particular the Herschel-Bulkley model (API 13D, 2006; Kelessidis etal., 2006). The choice of the model will of course depend on the data available for a givenfluid and given situation. Two-speed Fannviscometers, while they have providedsignificant support to industry, giving thoughonly two-point measurements thus enabling thedetermination of the two parameters, havebecome obsolete in recent years and inparticular while drilling critical wells. In thesesituations, normally the 6-speed or even the 12-speed Fann type viscometers are used, mostly inthe laboratory but also in the field and atdifferent temperatures and pressures. Havingaccess to more than two measurements enables
 
 Advances in drilling hydraulics and drilling fluid rheology
 3
one to determine more accurate multi-parameterrheological models.
Errors in rheological measurements
Oil-filed rheological measurements are prone toerrors, as with any instruments. Researchershave studied the issue in previous years, but ithas been customary to ignore these errors andutilize the values taken normally of the six (ortwo)-speeds at face value. The most significanterrors in rheological measurements are relateda) to the use of Newtonian shear rates, b) to theend effects of the viscometer, c) to wall slip andd) to yield stress determination.
 Newtonian shear rates
 
The solution to the flow equation of the drillingfluid in the double-cylinder Fann typeviscometer is performed for the oil-field narrowgap viscometer, by assuming that the shear rateswithin the gap are Newtonian. If the fluid isnon-Newtonian, the shear rate on the wall of theinner fixed cylinder depends on the particularfluid model and on the rheological parameters tobe determined (Kelessidis et al. 2006, Guillot1990). Most of the time though, in commercialapplications but also in research, no correctionsare applied and use is made of the Newtonianshear rate instead of the true shear rate, withoutmaking the proper reference both in user guidesof rotational viscometers but also in researchpapers. The fact that the gap between the twocylinders is small for most standard viscometertypes, with the ratio being 067846.1 / 
=
ie
,tends to minimize the error introduced, but theerror is there and the magnitude depends notonly on the rheological model but also on theactual values of its rheological parameters.Successful quantification of these errors hasbeen done recently for Casson and Robertson-Stiff fluids (Kelessidis and Maglione, 2006) andin particular for Herschel-Bulkley fluids(Kelessidis and Maglione, 2008). In Fig. 4, theresults are shown for Newtonian and true shearrates for Herschel-Bulkley fluids. The analysisshows that the errors can be significant but canbe quantified. This can have an impact on thepressure loss estimation, and in Figure 5, theimpact of using Newtonian versus true HB-shear rates for various flow situations in annuliare presented.
 End effects
 
Solution of the flow situations in the Fann-typeviscometer involve normally implicitassumptions that the cylinders are infinitelylong, known as the end-effects problem. Thisbeen questioned not only for non-Newtonian[Guguyener et al., 2002] but for Newtonianfluids as well [Barnes et al., 1993].An experimental study has recently beenundertaken (Kelessidis et al., 2010a) toinvestigate end-effects occurrence and theirmagnitude, for Newtonian and non-Newtonianfluids, with standard oil-field, direct indicating-viscometer. Is was shown that such viscometershave already embedded at manufacturing stagean end-effects correction, which was quantifiedfor the first time, of magnitude of 6.69% of thetorque developed. This does not allow end-effect determination in a straight forwardmanner, as it can be done with otherviscometers, and the authors presented aprocedure to resolve this. They furtherdetermined that there is additional end-effectscontribution from the top section of the bob,shown also experimentally in another relatedstudy and depicted in Figure 6 (Rune et al.,2009). Its magnitude ranges from 5 to 6 % forthe high shear rate range, to 12% for the lowshear rate range for the non-Newtonian fluidtested. Non-allowance for the additional end-effects errors could result in over-prediction of pressure losses in the annulus of the order of 11% which could jeopardize well safety indifficult to drill wells, as depicted in Figure 7.
Wall slip
Many times researchers wonder and try toassess whether slippage of the fluid to bemeasured slips, i.e. the fluid particle does nothave the same velocity as the solid wall itadheres. Significant research has gone into thesubject, for oil-drilling situations (e.g.Yoshimura and Prud’homme, 1988) and for

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