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Kick tolerance is the main rule.

Also, I like to do a vertical depth error analysis on the data we've made the pore pressure estimates from. With methods like velocity anisotropy we can get within 1% depth accuracy. Still, this means at 20,000' the error is 200'. So drilling within 200' of the top of a sand that could possibly have a pressure above your kick tolerance is to be avoided. I use my own kick simulator for casing design. Note that for casing seat selection the vertical depth error, PPFG error, SFs for casing, kick detection times, hole size, flow rates, BHAs, etc. come into play. Alot of times people will use a company standard for kick tolerance based on the hole size of the section being drilled. To me this is unfortunate because all of the factors must be included. If a kick cannot be detected in less than ten minutes, then the flowrate and hole size and BHA OD is very important as to how large the pressures will be and the kick tolerance needed for that hole section. They are only partially related to the hole size and more so related to hole size, BHA size, flow rate, mud weight, ROP, kh of the sand that kicks, the error possible in the PP calculation (geology of the structure that will be drilled), etc. Also, the experience and expertise of the personel that will be in charge of kick detection is important in this calculation. Simply pulling a number out of a hat and saying, "it will take ten minutes to detect a kick" is lacking. Even so at 10 min. with a flowrate of 1200 gpm, what is the kick size? Need a productivity simulator of a compressible fluid in transient flow to begin with. Be very careful in deciding to make things simpler than this. 2 months ago

MUHAMMAD MUHAMMAD A. Scott ... you need good software for Engineering simulations; I do recommend WellCAT as it is has more accurate simulations for Pressure and Temp. , it is good for deep wells and HPHT well 1055452008990339 Also, if the wells are directional & setting depth is deep, you will need to use software for Torque and Drag simulations. And you will need software for Surge/Swab simulations to avoid any high disturbance of wellbore pressure that may make the well flow, or break the formations Note, as you running casing deep, you will have important Axial loads effect from running the casing. This Axial effect will also contribute in Burst and Collapse loads. So, you need to do design limits check for Tri-axial stress Software Simulations needed: 1. Casing Design and Tri-axial Check , WellCAT 1. Torque and Drag simulations 3. Surge/Swab simulations

2 months ago

Divine Divine S. Scott, for you to push your casing setting depth (especially production casing) deeper depends on if a mud loss zone is encountered, here the margin between the fracture gradient due to mud loss and pore pressure is very narrow, if however, no loss zone is encountered, there is sufficient margin between the pore pressure and the fracture gradient curve to allow for drilling of the whole reservoir section and maintaining well integrity even if a kick is taken. A probabilistic pore pressure modeling approach could be used to test the design of the casing string, since the two primary inputs for effective well design are an understanding of the 3D earthstress tensor and pore fluid pressure inside the rock. These two parameters are critical to determining casing grade and geometry. 1 month ago

Hieu Hieu H. Agreed with Muhammad, Axial load, then Burst and Collapse design are importance, the order is kick tolerance. 1 month ago

Hieu Hieu H. Example to calculation and setting depth: Input: Depth: 10,000ft, Pore pressure (PP)0.8 psi/ft, MW: 0.85psi/ft, (FP) Frac pressure: 0.9 psi/ft, Gas Gra =0.1 psi/ft Collapse design: Max Collapse Force: = 10,000 ft x PP 0.85psi/ft= 8,500 psi With 1.1 safety factor, 8,500psi x 1.1= 9.350psi Burst Design: Worst Case: Blow out with gas bubble in the hole At surface: Ps= 0.052 x (PP Gas)x Depth Fracture G less air= (0.9-0.1) x 10,000= 8,000psi Formation G less air = (0.8-0.1) x 10,000=7,000psi Use max surface pressure is 7,000psi Get casing depth shorter is burst and collapse are not safe enough including safety design factor Example using casing with burst 8,600psi with safety factor 1.4 8,600psi / 1.4= 6,140psi Shallow depth should be=(7,000-6,140) / (0.8-0.1)=1,230ft Need stronger casing running to surface

1 month ago

Divine Divine S. Hieu Hu Minh, I perfectly agree with Michael and Muhammad excellent comments/advise. This is just to add up to their excellent comments. Cheers 1 month ago

Martin Martin H. Scott, My point of view is that pushing casing seats is part of standard design (after all we all want to known how far we can safely push the casing if necessary), but this isn't about software (which is merely a technology enabler - if we are lucky) rather its about workflow, process and understanding the reasons for specific design factors and load cases. Therefore if we push a casing shoe and thoroughly look at available mud weight windows, kick tolerance (as described by Micheal) for the seat selection, then select our casing size based on completion/conductor size and contingencies (the re-iteration), this feeds directly into needing to know the load cases. I.e. what is the necessity of designing to full dry gas evacuation on an intermediate casing string if the kick tolerance is only 20 bbls and the section isn't cemented to the previous shoe, is there ever a situation where this dry gas evacuation load case could happen? But similarly always remember the installation/shock load cases Finally a consideration to make is the effects of pushing the casing deeper in the operational phase. Though items like kick tolerance have already been discussed, part of the question is whether the rig and operations team will always push on to the revised casing seat if there are issues and thus put the well, rig, personnel and environment in a significantly higher risk situation, this could also be said of the production team operations of well integrity management (or lack of) increasing the well failure risk. If this is the case it may well be necessary to apply a conservative approach to the casing design by raising the likes of KT and minimum allowable design factor for a load type.......this less engineering and more psychological reasoning is often overlooked when we are pushing designs to the limit. The real reason for mentioning this is that many designs are perfectly adequate for the input variables even account for some variance through most of the well lifecycle yet fails early due to poor operational decisions and activities or later well management. 1 month ago


Divine S. Scott, My understanding was that you wanted to push your production casing deeper, so that you can simplify the well design and save cost. I just recommend that, you use the P90 pore pressure for your pore pressure, fracture gradient versus depth prognosis, for your well design to handle the worst kick safely. Then for you to push your production casing deeper depends on your safe drilling margin, as I recommended earlier. Finally, you have to put in place dynamic operational strategy, if reality deviates from prognosis. Cheers. 1 month ago

karim karim R. yes, there is many parameters control running casing like, kind of formation , formation pressure, casing nominal weight and grade 1 month ago

Dan Dan M. One of the issue with respect to pushing casing shoe is can you kill the well if a full blowout occurs. Come companies that are dealing with high rate wells are learning if they have a full blowout then they may not be able to kill it even with a relief well due to lack of adequate shoe strength. Looking at the casing design from this point is becoming a growing concern after recent incidents. Kind of looking at kick tolerance on steroids. To do this properly and get some realistic results that do not overkill the design requires some fairly sophisticated software such as SPT OLGA ABC. Also if you have some marginal issues with kick tolerance you can use a program such as SPT Drillbench Kick may be of great value because it provides more realistic results than the typical single bubble model most people use. Normally the reality is something less than what is modeled using a single bubble. 1 month ago

Michael Michael D. Dan makes a great point that using SPT OLGA ABC programs will give a kick tolerance that is more realistic than a single bubble model of kick tolerance. Also if you have close offsets and tight pore pressure control the kick intensity and fluid type can be modelled more appropriately and thus allow deeper casing seats in areas where a high intensity kick isn't possible. Another issue is geologic control and I've seen people inappropriately declare that casing must be set at a certain point based on a shale pore pressure plot and yet the casing point is in a sand sequence and the pore pressure of the sand sequence is well known from an offset knowing it is in the same fault block with much confidence and in that case drilling to the bottom of that sand and below into a long shale section, even though the shale pore pressures are increasing and perhaps a few points past a drilling margin, is safer than

leaving the bottom of the sand sequence below the casing shoe. This sand left open below the shoe will be a source of weakness in the subsequent hole section as we all know. This is seemingly common sense and yet after enduring an argument from an otherwise smart colleague perhaps this sense isn't so common and so consider it stated here. If you're in the middle of a sand and you know the pressure is the same throughout the sand then drill through it and below it into a long shale sequence as long as there is no chance you will drill another high pressure sand; shale doesn't kick and won't flow as a rule and this shale will make a firm and strong casing seat to set casing in. In some provinces there are only huge piles of sand and very few shale breaks and this rule can be convoluted and yet in other provinces this is clear. Typically sand needs a shale boundary in order to trap higher pressures and so set casing in the shale providing the trap and don't leave a sand open below the shoe. In deepwater this can mean round tripping the bit and placing an underreamer closer to the bit than while drilling. Most deepwater BHAs include telemetry and rotary steerable systems these days and thus the underreamer is typically 120-200' above the bit and so this may present an issue where you will drill the pilot hole into a sand and past it into a shale and this would make a great casing seat and yet the underreamer is still in the sand. Since the rig costs $1 million/day, pulling the BHA and taking the telemetry out and putting the underreamer right on top of the bit and reaming the pilot hole will cost $1 million or more and most of the time this isn't done and perhaps the LWD doesn't really reach close enough to the bit to help determine what formation is open on bottom. Really let's don't go into this too much and yet say that a great way to push casing seats deeper in deepwater is to ream the pilot hole after round tripping and pulling the EQ between the reamer and the bit. Also, on this subject I have been working with several reamer and directional companies on creating an underreamer that can be placed on top of the bit and "turned on" after drilling to TD. The way this would work is that you drill to TD with the "turned off" underreamer on top of the bit and the normal one on top of the telemetry. Then pull off bottom until the "turned off" reamer is above the reamed portion of the hole and turn this reamer on. Now the space below this reamer to the bit is only 20' or so and reaming to bottom now will only leave 20' of pilot hole that will be lost after setting casing. The reason this couldn't be done in the past is that the reamer set below the telemetry messes with the functionality of the LWD. With this new equipment and technique the dormant underreamer is left off during drilling and so there is no interference with the LWD and rotary steerable and yet once TD is reached the dormant underream is turned on and used to ream and minimize the pilot hole loss. Yesterday Schlumberger told me the tool is invented! 1 month ago

Michael Michael D. Wow, ran out of text limit for the post. Also wanted to mention that Martin Hayes brings up good points as well and as usual and the dry gas criteria is especially unrealistic in synthetic oil based mud (SOBM) systems and yet is exclusively used offshore in the US by the BSEE for casing design. Because today's most prevalent mud system offshore is SOBM and the BSEE will require a Maximum Anticipated Surface Pressure (MASP) to use a 70% gas column this shut in will in most cases exceed the bubble point pressure of gas in SOBM. Do you see that this means that the dry gas that the

BSEE requires we use then is meaningless since gas above its bubble point pressure is not only not dry it is no longer free gas and yet is in solution in the oil phase of the SOBM? Yet, since the BSEE is not that sophisticated to make MASPs determined by SPT OLGA ABC they make an overlysimplistic model of MASP based on a single bubble of dry gas. They could make it more realistic and only minorly more complicated by having the upper limit on an MASP be the bubble point of the gas in the Oil Based Mud being used. 1 month ago
SELECTION OF CASING SEATS The selection of casing setting depths is one of the most critical factors affecting well design. The following sections are to provide engineers with an outline of the criteria necessary to enable casing seat selection. The following parameters must be carefully considered in this selection: Total depth of well Pore pressures Fracture gradients The probability of shallow gas pockets Problem zones Depth of potential prospects Time limits on open hole drilling Casing program compatibility with existing wellhead systems Casing program compatibility with planned completion programme on production wells Casing availability - size, grade and weight Economics - time consumed to drill the hole, run casing and the cost of equipment. Information is sourced from: Evaluation of the seismic and geological background documentation used as the decision for drilling the well. Drilling data from offset wells in the area.

Riser margin

In deepwater, the differential between the hydrostatic pressure developed within the riser mud column and the surrounding seawater is called the "riser margin." The vertical length of this mud column runs from the mud flow line located below the rig floor of a floating rig (above sea level) down to the LMRP (lower marine riser package) split located below the upper annular BOP (blowout preventer). The LMRP split is used as the end of the riser since this will be the likely place where the riser would be intentionally disconnected in an emergency. After the riser is disconnected, only seawater hydrostatic is applied. The riser margin hydrostatic is also a direct function of the fluid density within the riser. Fluid density within the riser can be modified independently from the well bore fluid density via the boost line or by drill cuttings hold-up within the riser (cuttings density). With loss in riser margin, total reduced applied bottomhole hydrostatic pressure is reduced by the magnitude of the riser margin. Seawater hydrostatic remains after riser mud column hydrostatic is lost. Loss of Riser Margin (back to top) Loss of riser margin results in a dramatic loss in bottomhole applied hydrostatic pressure. This loss presents a major well control problem. The deeper the water the greater the loss. Figure 1 shows the % impact of riser margin on total applied hydrostatic pressure on a formation located 6000-ft below the mud line with a 15 ppg pore pressure. Riser Margin Loss

In deepwater, loss of riser margin likely results in a severe kick and hole collapse. In the above example, pressure under the BOPs in 9000 ft of water could be ~3000 psi after riser

disconnect. If kick was to migrate after loss of riser margin, much higher pressures could be seen. Alternately, riser can be a source of additional hydrostatic. High penetration rates with large bits in synthetic muds are possible in deepwater. If the cuttings are allowed to build-up in the riser from poor hole cleaning, a significant cutting density can develop. This author has seen >0.5 ppg equivalent in one severe case Failure Mechanisms (back to top) The following circumstances cause riser margin losses:

Severe weather conditions Excessive current loads Failure in dynamic positioning systems Anchor systems failure Excessive flex joint angle and internal keyseat wear Failure of LMRP slip Planned events but well not secured as thought (ie. bridge plug failure, liner top failure, casing failure) Broached flow at mud line undermining conductor casings, wellhead, and BOPs causing riser failure Riser collapse/burst Riser connector failure.

Possible Hole Response If drill pipe was hung off and then sheared prior to emergency riser disconnect. The following circumstances can be expected in the Gulf of Mexico.

Small kick flowed into well bore (kick volume limited by compressibility of mud and hole ballooning unless leak develops or openhole breaks down) Hole likely collapsed around drill string (in GOM deepwater) Well likely bridged from hole collapse (in GOM deepwater) Trapped pressure under BOPs may bleed-off if well bridges

These circumstances do not seem too severe but major problems have resulted when the following are present.

Pay sand is present just at end of last casing string (ex: horizontal well) Kick migrates during sustained shut-in period

If pay sand is present just at casing shoe then well bridging (hole collapse) is less likely. Kick pressure cannot be bleed-off without inducing more kick volume. Alternately bullheading as a control option is possible. If kick migrates through mud unexpanded, gas pressure will fracture out mud. Total wellbore evacuation to dry gas has been seen from this. There is no way to volumetrically control migrating kick if riser is disconnected.

Cutting density in riser can lead to problems with establishing accurate shut-in pressures. With no kick in the well significant differential pressure into the drill pipe is seen. With a known density of fluid in the booster line, this density in the riser can be measured. The major problem with riser margin is the fact that hydrostatic pressure is increasing from above seal level but fracture pressure is increasing from the mudline. This one factor is driving the development of "riserless drilling". Fewer casing strings would be needed if hydrostatic pressure and fracture pressure development started at the same depth (as on land). Blowout Risk A kick from riser margin loss can result in an underground blowout if upper zone breaks down and cross-flow begins. Mud in casing will be displaced by lower density blowout fluids and pressure under BOPs will increase. If openhole bridges during this cross-flow period, drill pipe can kick as BHP increases to shut-in conditions. Broached flow in relatively shallow water is seen below.

The West Vangard Blowout (Northern North Sea 1986)

The worse case scenario seen by this author off of floaters was caused by the following circumstances:

Drill pipe hung off and sheared and blind ram closed above sheared pipe. Emergency riser disconnect Well kicked Underground flow started Hole collapsed Drill pipe kicked (no check valve in DP) Drill pipe pressure reflects back on top of annulus through hang-off pipe ram (rams do not hold pressure from the top) Casing ruptured (shut-in well pressure against annulus mud column with bridged off open hole) Underground blowout re-starts.

Positive Impact of Stripping (back to top) It is much easier to strip through an annular BOP if differential pressure is limited. In deepwater riser mud density can be increase via the booster line to overcome the well pressure under the annular BOP. It is much easier to strip if riser mud is leaking past the annular into wellbore. On risk of getting gas in riser when tool joints are popped through the BOP. The mass of drill pipe within the riser also helps to provide snub force. Conclusions

Loss of riser margin presents significant well control challenges. Use of drill string float (check valve) is strongly recommended. If possible, pull bit into casing prior to riser disconnect. Stripping is assisted by using an over-balanced riser margin and with the greater drill string mass above BOP providing added snub force.

Riserless drilling is in development to eliminate many of the problems associated with riser margin.

About the author Larry H. Flak is a petroleum engineer and Vice President Engineering of Houston's renowned Boots & Coots International Well Control. Mr. Flak recently worked with many other experts in developing the new IADC Deepwater Well Control Guideline. (back to top) For more information: Larry Flak, Boots & Coots/IWC. 11615 North Houston Rosslyn Rd. Houston, Texas 77086. Tel: 281-931-8884, fax: 281-931-8302. Email: