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This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2002 SPE International Thermal Operations

and Heavy Oil Symposium and International Horizontal Well Technology Conference held in

Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 47 November 2002.

This paper was selected for presentation by the ITOHOS/ICHWT Program Committee

following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of

the paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the

Petroleum Society of CIM, or CHOA and are subject to correction by the author(s). The

material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum

Engineers, the Petroleum Society of CIM, or CHOA, its officers, or members. Electronic

reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without

the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Petroleum Society of CIM, or CHOA

is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300

words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous

acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE,

P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.

Abstract

This paper will address some important factors that should be

considered when designing drill-strings for horizontal and

extended reach wells (ERW). A second paper will look into

the issues of casing design for the same type of wells and

present some practical field cases and examples of drill-string

and casing design for ERW.

Buckling of the string and its influence on reach capability,

fatigue and directional control will be emphasized.

Introduction

Drill-string design is of utmost importance for operations in

highly deviated, horizontal and extended reach wells. It is a

well known fact that drill-string failure represents one of the

major causes for fishing operations which may lead to millions

of dollars in losses for the Industry

1, 2

. This problem will be

intensified when the string is submitted to the more rigorous

conditions present in highly deviated wellbores.

Besides that, use of an inappropriate string will have

influence in the operation performance since it may impede

the use of the optimized mechanical and hydraulic parameters.

In extended reach wells, hydraulics plays a major role since

long high-inclined sections are very difficult to clean and there

is a tendency to accumulation of cuttings in the low side of the

wellbore. High flow rates may be necessary to provide an

efficient cuttings transport mechanism, which may result in

pump pressures higher than the ones the rig pumps can handle.

Among the factors that should be considered when

designing drill-strings, it may be mentioned:

maximum expected loads;

accumulated fatigue;

buckling;

hydraulics;

equipment availability.

There are so many variables involved in drill-string design

that it is difficult to obtain a completely optimized string.

However, careful consideration of the above mentioned

factors will allow the operator to obtain a design that will

successfully carry on the job in a cost-effective way.

The Buckling Factor

Drill-string buckling prediction will be very important while

drilling extended reach wells. The behavior of the string in a

long, high inclined slant or in a horizontal section of the well

will sometimes be determinant in terms of maximum reach

and steering capability.

When drilling an ERW, the trajectory of the well may need

adjustments according to the lithology being encountered. A

body of shale, for example, may intercalate a sandstone oil

reservoir. Since the shale should be avoided in order to

prevent low productivity and completion problems, the well

must be deviated in this point. However, in a long reach well,

to deviate from this shale can be a difficult task due to the high

friction forces generated by the contact between the wellbore

and the helically buckled string.

A helically buckled string will cause the friction force

along the pipe to increase and, therefore, less force will be

transferred to the bit making difficult further advances.

Nowadays, with the use of rotary steering tool systems,

this problem can be minimized, however, there a number of

wells that are still drilled using the regular steering tools.

Critical Buckling Force

As stated in Ref. 3, buckling occurs when the effective

compressive load exceeds some critical value. There are a

number of articles

3,4,5,6,7,8,9

dealing with models for prediction

of the critical buckling force. Those models simulated

buckling for different wellbore configuration such as vertical,

inclined, curved and horizontal. Also, some of those models

presented results that were apparently conflictants. An

interpretation

10

of those results suggests that they were derived

from different situations or, as better explained in Ref. 3,

different loading stages. Table I and II summarize the

conclusions from Ref. 10 and Ref. 3, respectively, in terms of

the axial force applied to the pipe and the shape it will assume.

SPE/Petroleum Society of CIM/CHOA 79001

Drill-String and Casing Design for Horizontal and Extended Reach Wells Part I

J. C. Cunha, SPE, Petrobras

2 SPE/PS-CIM/CHOA 79001

This will be a good guide in terms of buckling prediction for

inclined/horizontal wells.

Table I Axial Load x Pipe Configuration

10

Load Configuration

r

EIwsin

F

2 <

Straight

r

2EIwsin

F

r

EIwsin

2 2 <

Sinusoidal

r

2EIwsin

F

r

2EIwsin

4 2 <

Sinusoidal or

Helical

F

r

2EIwsin

4

Helical

Table II Axial Load x Pipe Configuration

11

Axial Compressive Force Configuration

r

EIwsin

F

2 <

Straight

r

EIwsin

F

r

EIwsin

75 , 3 2 <

Sinusoidal

r

2EIwsin

F

r

EIwsin

.75

4 3 <

Unstable

sinusoidal

F

r

2EIwsin

4

Helical

As it can be seen, the interpretations in Ref. 10 and 3 are

similar, although the limits for sinusoidal buckling in Table I

and II are numerically different. The value used in Table II as

the critical sinusoidal buckling force is very close to the one

obtained in Ref. 8 for the critical helical buckling force. This

value was also mentioned in Ref. 10 as capable of causing

unstable sinusoidal buckling.

Influence of Torque

Normally the influence of torque is not considered in the

calculations for critical buckling forces. It was proved

9,10

that

this influence, although very small for vertical wells, maybe of

significance for certain extended reach wells, reducing the

string buckling resistance. As noticed in Ref. 11, in a typical

ERW, torsion loads will be higher than for a vertical well of

the same measured depth, then, each particular case should be

analyzed in order to decide if the influence of torque should or

should not be considered.

A model considering the influence of torque on the critical

helical buckling force was derived

12

and the following

equations resulted:

p

T

r

w p

p

EI

F

4 sin 8

2

2

2

2

+ = (1)

p

T

p

EI

F

6 16

2

2

= (2)

Equations 1 and 2 form a system which solution gives the

values for the critical force F and pitch p for the helix formed

by the pipe inside a wellbore under the action of force F and

torque T.

Note that, if in equations 1 and 2, torque is set to zero, then

the expression for critical buckling force previously presented

can be recovered substituting in equation 1 the value for p

2

obtained from equation 2. This will result in equation 3,

presented in Tables 1 and 2 as the critical helical buckling

force without considering torque.

r

2EIwsin

F

4 = (3)

In order to verify how torque can affect the buckling

resistance of pipes, a few calculations were performed using

equations 1 and 2.

Initially, torque was set to zero and critical buckling force

was calculated for various drill pipes with diameters varying

from 3 to 6 5/8 in. After that, the calculations were made

again, this time considering torques of 15,000 and

25,000 lbf.ft.

After that, the bending stiffness (EI) of each pipe was

plotted against the reduction in critical buckling load caused

by the torque. The results can be seen in Figures 1 to 4.

For Figures 1 and 2 it was assumed a 12 in. wellbore

with a 30 degree inclination. For Figures 3 and 4 it was

assumed a horizontal well also with a diameter of 12 in..

From the graphs, it can be implied that torque can cause

significant reduction on drillpipes with small diameter. On the

other hand, for bigger pipes, that are the ones most used in

extended reach wells, torque will have little influence on the

buckling resistance.

Torque and Drag Predictions

Normally a torque-drag computer program is used for

estimation of tension and torsion for the string during drilling

operations. Once an estimation of maximum loads is obtained,

a safety factor should be applied over those values to account

for extra loads resulted from inefficient hole cleaning, pipe

stuck, wellbore instability, etc. In Part II of this paper, an

example of calculation for a ER well will be provided.

SPE/PS-CIM/CHOA 79001 3

Fatigue

The drill-string is submitted to great stress variation during

operations in ER wells. Besides dynamic and static loads, also

temperature variations and corrosion will make the high stress

concentration areas susceptible to fatigue damage.

The normal practice to avoid fatigue failure is to inspect

the drill-string after a certain period of time or after a certain

footage drilled. Although inspection is a common practice in

the Industry, fatigue failure keeps plaguing drilling operations

causing heavy losses yearly.

One solution that could minimize those failures would be

to individually track the efforts undergone by each element of

the drill-string.

Since the elements in a drill-string are subjected to

different mechanical conditions, that will depend on its

position on the string ant the amount of time they are being

used, a single element tracking system, as proposed in Ref. 13,

is a sound tool to minimize fatigue failure.

Once each element of the string is identified and its history

of mechanical condition is tracked, calculation of the

accumulated fatigue can be done using a numerical method

14

.

Hydraulics

As stated before, hydraulics will be very important when

drilling extended reach wells. Besides the fact that an efficient

bottom hole cleaning will aid the rate of penetration, sufficient

energy must be provided to the mud to carry the cuttings

through the long high inclined sections.

Turbulent flow is normally more efficient to clean the

wellbore than laminar flow. However, the flow rate necessary

to provide turbulent flow may be so high that it will exceed

the rig pumps capability in terms of pump pressure. This

situation will be more common when a mud motor is added to

the string.

Use of large diameter drill pipes may minimize hydraulic

problems since it will imply in less friction loss inside the

string and a more constrained annular. When these drill pipes

are not available, another solution will be the use of drilling

fluids specially designed for extended reach wells

15

with

improved cuttings transport capability.

Conclusions and Final Remarks

Drill-strings for extended reach wells should be designed

taking into account simultaneously the various parameters

involved. The main objective of the first part of this paper was

to draw attention for those important points, emphasize

theoretical aspects of the buckling problem, recommend a

procedure to deal with fatigue accumulation and indicate the

fundamental literature used to establish the basics of our

design process.

For practical purposes, when using high diameter

drillpipes (5 in. or bigger), torque can be disregarded for

calculation of critical buckling force.

In the second part of the paper, besides emphasizing the

design of casing strings, actual field cases for two extended

reach wells will be described in detail.

Nomenclature

F =Axial load acting on the pipe, lbf.

E =Youngs modulus, psi.

I =Moment of inertia, in

4

.

EI =Bending Stiffness, lbf.in

2

.

T =torque on the string, lbf.ft.

w =unit weight of the pipe (immerse in fluid), lbf/ft.

r =radial clearance between the pipe and the

wellbore, in.

p =length of helix pitch,ft.

=well inclination, degree.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Petrobras for permission for

publishing this paper.

References

1. Dale, B. A.: An Experimental Investigation on Fatigue

Crack Grouth in Drillstring Tubulars, paper SPE 15559,

presented at the 61

st

. Annual Technical Conference and

Exhibition, New Orleans, LA, October 5-8, 1986.

2. Cunha, J. C.: Risk Analysis Theory Applied to Fishing

Operations: A New Approach on the Decision-Making

Problem, paper SPE 28726, presented at the

International Petroleum Conference and Exhibition of

Mexico, October 10-13, 1994.

3. Miska, S., Qiu, W., Volk, L. and Cunha, J. C.: An

Improved Analysis of Axial Force Along Coil Tubing in

Inclined Horizontal Wellbores, paper SPE 37056

presented at the SPE International Horizontal Well

Technology, Calgary, Canada, November 18-20, 1996.

4. Lubinski, A.: A Study On The Buckling Of Rotary

Strings, API Drilling Production Practice, pp 178-214

(1950).

5. Dawson, R. and Paslay, P. R.: "Drill Pipe Buckling in

Inclined Holes," paper presented at the 57th Annual Fall

Technical Conference of the SPE of AIME, New Orleans,

LA, September 1982.

6. Mitchell, R. F.: "Frictional Forces in Helical Buckling of

Tubing," Paper SPE 13064 presented at the 59th Annual

Fall Technical Conference of the SPE of AIME, Houston,

TX, 1984.

7. Chen, Y. C. and Cheatham, J. B.: "Wall Contact Forces on

Helically Buckled Tubulars in Inclined Wells,"

Transactions of the ASME, Vol. 112, June, 1990 (142-

144).

8. Wu, J. and Juvkam-Wold, H. C.: Study of Helical

Buckling of Pipes in Horizontal Wells, paper SPE 25503

presented at the Production Operations Symposium,

Oklahoma City, OK, March 1993.

9. Miska, S. and Cunha, J. C.: An Analysis of Helical

Buckling of Tubulars Subjected to Axial and Torsional

Loading in Inclined Wellbores, paper SPE 29460

presented at the Production Operations Symposium,

Oklahoma City, OK, April 1995.

4 SPE/PS-CIM/CHOA 79001

10. Cunha, J. C.: Experimental and Mathematical Analysis

of Buckling of Tubulars Subjected to Axial and Torsional

Loading in Inclined and Horizontal Wells, paper

presented at the Drilling Symposium of the ASME ETCE

96, Houston, TX, January 1996.

11. Hill, T. H., Summers, M. A. and Guild, G. J.: Designing

and Qualifying Drillstrings for Extended-Reach Drilling,

SPE Drilling and Completion, pp. 111-117, June 1996.

12. Cunha, J. C.: Buckling Behavior of Tubulars in Oil and

Gas Wells. A Theoretical and Experimental Study with

Emphasis on the Torque Effect, Ph. D. Dissertation, The

University of Tulsa, 1995.

13. Sampaio Jr., J. H. B., Placido, J. C. R. and Ferreira, S. N.:

Using Radio Frequency Identification Electronic Chips

to Effectively Control the Elements of Drillstring, paper

SPE 49203 presented at the SPE Annual Technical

Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, LA, September

27-30, 1998.

14. Placido, J. C. R.: Development of a Predictive Drillpipe

Fatigue Model and Experimental Verification, Ph.D.

dissertation, The University of Tulsa, 1994.

15. Cunha, J. C., Martins, A. L, Sa, C. H. M. and Fernandes,

P. D.: Planning Extended Reach Wells for Deep Water,

paper SPE 74400, presented at the International

Petroleum Conference and Exhibition of Mexico,

February 10-12, 2002.

SI Metric Conversion Factors

Ft x 3.048 E -01 = m

in x 2.54 E +00 = cm

psi x 6.894 757 E +00 = KPa

lbf x 4.448 222 E +00 = N

T=15000 lbf.ft - 30 Degree Wellbore

0.00

2.00

4.00

6.00

8.00

10.00

12.00

14.00

0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09

EI (lbf.in2)

D

e

c

r

e

a

s

e

i

n

B

u

c

k

l

i

n

g

R

e

s

i

s

t

a

n

c

e

(

%

)

Figure 1: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending

Stiffness T=15000 lbf.ft Wellbore Inclination 30 Degrees

T=25000 lbf.ft - 30 Degree Wellbore

0.00

5.00

10.00

15.00

20.00

25.00

0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09

EI (lbf.in2)

D

e

c

r

e

a

s

e

i

n

B

u

c

k

l

i

n

g

R

e

s

i

s

t

a

n

c

e

(

%

)

Figure 2: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending

Stiffness T=25000 lbf.ft Wellbore Inclination 30 Degrees

T=15000 lbf.ft - Horizontal Wellbore

0.00

1.00

2.00

3.00

4.00

5.00

6.00

7.00

8.00

9.00

10.00

0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09

EI (lbf.in2)

D

e

c

r

e

a

s

e

i

n

B

u

c

k

l

i

n

g

R

e

s

i

s

t

a

n

c

e

(

%

)

Figure 3: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending

Stiffness T=15000 lbf.ft Horizontal Wellbore

T=25000 lbf.ft - Horizontal Wellbore

0.00

2.00

4.00

6.00

8.00

10.00

12.00

14.00

16.00

18.00

0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09

EI (lbf.in2)

D

e

c

r

e

a

s

e

i

n

B

u

c

k

l

i

n

g

R

e

s

i

s

t

a

n

c

e

(

%

)

Figure 4: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending

Stiffness T=25000 lbf.ft Horizontal Wellbore

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