Drilling & Well Services Training




1 .48 U. Hydrostatic Pressure Depth (True Vertical) x Density 1.S. gallons. See Figure 1.48 pounds 144 square inches = 0.052 is a conversion factor and is derived as follows: 1 Cubic foot contains 7.052 psi/ft. The pressure exerted by that one foot height of fluid over the area of the base would be: 7.052 (psi) (ft) (ppg) 0.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 1 PRESSURES The pressure exerted by a column of fluid depends on its DENSITY and vertical height or DEPTH. The equation now reads: Hydrostatic Pressure = Depth x Mud Weight x 0.23 = psi/ft On Pressure Control Worksheets this 19. Since pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and depth is measured in feet.052 psi on its base. A fluid weighing 1 ppg would weigh 7.0519 pounds per square inch (psi) Hence a one foot high column of 1 ppg fluid would exert 0.1 HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE NOTE: Only the vertical height of the column of fluid matters. it is convenient to convert mud weight from pounds per gallon (pp to a pressure gradient in psi/foot. its shape is unimportant.052 = psi/ft mud weight pressure gradient Alternatively.48 pounds per cubic foot.23 was sometimes rounded up to 20. ppg X 0. for ease of working in pre-calculator days. This is the same as saying the PRESSURE GRADIENT of the fluid is 0. it can be written as follows: ppg ÷ 19.

PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 2 .

00044 = psi/ft (pressure gradient) The last equation may be easier to use when written as: Kilogrammes per cubic metre 2262 = psi/ft (pressure gradient) 1. Figure 3 .Circulating (Dynamic) 3 .433 = psi/ft (mud weight) (pressure gradient) Pounds per cubic foot ÷ 144 = psi/ft (mud gradient) (pressure gradient) Kilogrammes per cubic metre x 0. the jet nozzles and up the annulus to the surface.2 CONVERSION FACTORS FOR OTHER MUD WEIGHT UNITS Specific Gravity x 0.3 CIRCULATING DYNAMIC PRESSURE The circulating pressure provided by the rig pump represents the total pressure required to move mud from the pump through the surface lines. the drillstring.Static .PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 1.

This is the total pressure exerted by us. where appropriate. whenever the pumps are circulating mud.052 VerticalDepth (converting psi to ppg) Equivalent Circulating Density can be expressed as ECD. slim holes. Converting the pressures to equivalent mud weights we get the following formula: EquivalentCirculation Density = (ppg) NOTE: Static Mud Weight True (ppg) + AnnularPressureLoss ÷ 0. is increased over the static bottom hole pressure.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES All the pressure produced by the pump is expended in this process. The effect is increased in deep. overcoming friction losses between the mud and whatever it is in contact with. as used here. is used in moving the mud up the annulus. 1. In general. will go further under-balance and flow more readily. Since the annular space is quite large. It is usually intended to at least balance the formation fluid pressures in the exposed portion of the well. Annular pressure or friction loss acts as a ‘back pressure’ on formations exposed to the annulus. Annular Pressure Loss). In effect. 4 . plus any surface applied back pressures. Circulating Bottom Hole Pressure (psi) Static Bottom Hole Pressure (psi) Annular Pressure Loss (psi) = + This could also be expressed in terms of pressure gradient. A small amount of this pressure loss. It is for this reason that a flow check may reveal a situation which has been hidden by drilling conditions. The advantage of the above equation is that no precise depth need be stated. plus any circulating friction loss (e. thus using very little energy. or friction loss. Bottom hole pressure is the sum of the hydrostatic pressures exerted by the fluids in the well. This causes a slight increase in the total pressure exerted upon them. or of equivalent mud weight units. means the sum total of all pressures being exerted on a well by our operations.4 BOTTOM HOLE PRESSURE The term ‘bottom hole pressure’. This increase is equal to the annular pressure loss.g. ECD will be a slight increase of about two or three tenths of a pound per gallon over static mud weight. with high viscosity mud and high pump rates. the bottom hole pressure exerted when circulating. The loss of the Annular Pressure Loss when circulation stops means that a well close to balance or under-balance. the mud moves relatively slowly.

Figure 4 . underwater. Most sedimentary rocks are formed as accumulations of rock debris or organic material. open.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 1. areas of the earth’s surface which are above sea level are affected by the processes of erosion (breaking up and wearing down of the land masses). squeezing water out. which is rather saltier and heavier than typical sea water. with adjacent sea basins slowly deepening to allow great lengths of sediment to build up. This is the pressure gradient produced by a column of water of approximately 100. 5 . An average figure for normal formation pressure gradient in marine basin sediment determined some years ago in the U. Since over two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered with oceans. sedimentary sequence is equivalent to that Produced by a free-standing column of salt water. The debris is washed down into the shallow sea basins where it settles out onto the sea floor. contain fluid due to their mode of formation. some areas being pushed up to provide fresh surfaces for erosion. the rocks are compacted.5 FORMATION FLUID PRESSURE (PF) The formation fluid pressure. the vast majority of sedimentary rocks are laid down as marine sediments in the shallow seas around the land areas. or pore pressure. the coarser material generally settling out closer to the shore than the fine silts and clays. Thus sedimentary rocks contain water. exerted by the water in a normal. Gulf Coast area is 0. while the larger salt molecule is retained. The water contained within the rocks becomes progressively more salty as the relatively small molecules of water move through the pore spaces of the rock. As the depth of sediment increases. which are of primary importance in the search for. or pore pressure. and development of oilfields.465 psi/foot. In comparison.000 ppm chloride. as an integral part of their make-up. is the pressure exerted by the fluids within the formations being drilled. The sedimentary rocks.000 ppm chloride. usually sea-water.Sedimentary Process This process may continue for long periods as the earth’s surface slowly moves. a typical value for seawater is 23. In general.S. The result of this is that the formation fluid pressure.

6 ABNORMAL PRESSURES Abnormal formation fluid pressures. Overall. only a relatively short column of well fluid is available to balance a big column of formation water. Here an aquifer. Drilling into the aquifer out on the plains. Hence an abnormally high pressure gradient has to be held if the well is not to blow out.465 psi/foot or.6. this results in a slight over-estimate of anticipated pressure which is the safer option.1 Differential Fluid Pressure The classic example of a differential fluid column is the Artesian Well. The surface erosion results in a reduction of fluid column length when drilling into the reservoir. There is some evidence that. Pressure at the deep end of the reservoir may well be normal for the depth. 1. 8. They can be categorised as: a) b) c) d) e) Differential Fluid Pressure Surcharged Shallow Formations Sediment Compression Salt Beds Mineralization. or ‘sur-pressures’ as they are sometimes known. In dipping or folded. as in the gas cap example of Figure 6.94 ppg is generally accepted as a representative figure for normal pore pressures in marine basins. so that water can be obtained at the surface. since most fields have some dip. expressed as an equivalent mud weight. pressure from the deepest part of the reservoir is transmitted to the shallower sections. as shown in the diagram. or anticinal structures. See Figure 5. or water bearing permeable layer outcrops in the hills. This is a very common cause of overpressure in oil and gas fields. 1. The drive pressure from such a reservoir equals the fluid head at any point. a ‘blowout’ is the intention. then an abnormal formation pressure gradient will be seen on drilling in to the shallow section of reservoir. sealed reservoirs. 6 . worldwide. However. can arise for a number of reasons. Differential fluid pressures may also be evident when marked rapid erosion of overlying material has occurred above a sealed body.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES This gradient of 0. In an artesian well of course. if the reservoir fluid is lighter than water. this figure is a little on the high side and evidence in the North Sea generally supports this view.

PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 7 .

This is shown in Figure 8. typically this is between 13 3/8” and 9 5/8“ casings. In some old established oilfields a similar effect has occurred when ‘downhole communication’ or a ‘downhole blowout’ has occurred. Generally this communication is slow. Occasionally in old wells and in current production fields.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 1. This suggests a slow ‘bleedthrough’ of fluid. This can be hazardous in further development of old fields. or an artificial one. 8 . but hazards still exist. as often occurs in fault zones. or ‘breccia’. poor cement jobs or poor cementing practices have resulted in communication between zones. to affect other nearby wells. In the case of a naturally occurring fault. at the fault itself may allow fluid seepage over part of its extent.2 Surcharging of Shallow Formations This may be a natural effect.6. and has not been fully cured although the well may have been plugged and abandoned. the zone of broken rock. a continual build up of pressure can be detected in casing-casing annuli. This can result in shallow formations becoming ‘charged up’ with formation fluid at pressures much greater than normal for their depth. This is shown in Figure 7. In a number of North Sea production wells. where reliance on previous well records would result in no expectation of abnormal pressure. Over a period of years this cumulative fluid results in a pressure build up which spreads slowly from the original well.

PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 9 .

This is particularly prevalent in the basins where much of the offshore drilling is taking place.Normal and Over-Pressured Sands and Shales 10 . As deposition continues. sur-pressures develop as a result of compression.0 psi/ft. At this point. When the shale water cannot escape quickly enough. the expelled waters find their way out through permeable sand sections or by slow percolation through the clay/shale itself. See Figure 9 In areas where rapid deposition has given rise to shale bodies.6. When shale bodies are deposited. However. compression of the sediments can only continue until water in the shale begins to bear the overburden weight. clays compact under the weight of material above. At some depth of apparent sealing.465 psi/ft to some higher value.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 1. As porosity decreases.3 Sediment Compression. Figure 9 . porosity of the clay/shale is more than 50%. pressure within the shale increases at a rate equal to overburden pressure instead of a rate equal to that of a column of saline water. the normal pressure gradient increases from about 0. and could approach 1. evidence of compression may be found in almost any area.

Compression does not have to be restricted totally to vertical forces. As such it will flow to the point of least pressure. In recent basins. Shales may not allow a significant flow of formation fluid. some wells require mud weights of 12 lb/gal to 15 lb/gal during the drilling of surface holes simply because the material being drilled is a plastic rather than solid rock. the shale may be sur-pressured since the fluid must bear the weight of the formations. It follows that sur-pressure is found in almost any massive shale body. limestone. Regional stress is a major force in many older depositional basins. In the early states of deposition. They are permeable and hence a kick can occur. The development of these compression related pressures is independent of structure and is a function of deposition rate. sand. 11 . a compression condition is particularly evident in the shallow part of the hole. pressures have developed as a result of compression and only partial water expulsion. The sur-pressure. The fluid column pressure accounts for the remaining overburden pressure exerted at any point. although hole problems are likely. In zones of normal pressure.) bears slightly more than half the overburden load. Sand lenses and sand bodies are often found within massive shades. Where shale porosities are as much as 50%. etc. is not 1. These. the rock frame of the clay or shale being deposited can bear little of the weight of sediments above. sand/shale percentage. the rock frame structure (shale. being enclosed within the shades will contain the same fluid pressures.7 psi/ft. but is closer to 0. so that kick may not occur. In one offshore location. in massive shale bodies. lensing and faulting.0 psi/ft.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES Thus. however.

massive salt could have pressure approaching 1 psi/ft. This return to normal pressure lowers the resistance of the formation to fracturing. the washout as a result of caving may be severe enough to cause casing and cementing problems. Salt has very little rock frame structure and depending on the actual composition (type of salt and amount of water of crystallization) and temperature. However.6. the sur pressure tends to revert to normal pressure as the rock frame structure re-asserts its influence. Pressure in the formation just below the salt is equal to the pressure exerted by the entire overburden. Salt is plastic.6. its structure changes to become gypsum. 12 . These salts can be drilled with lighter mud weights because. although it behaves as a fluid. An increase in the volume of these formation solids will result in increased fluid pressure. formations directly below normally deposited salt are clays.4 Salt Beds Salts do not.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 1.5 Mineralisation Variations in the minerals within sedimentary rocks can result in variation of the total volume of the mineral present. In every case. As the drill bit penetrates these formations. A good example of this occurs when anhydrite is laid down. it is probable that the mud weight required to contain formations directly below the salt will fracture the deep and more normally pressurised beds. with a volume increase of around 35%. or carbonates. In addition. depending again on composition and temperature. have the same structural properties as rocks. Below the salt. It deforms and flows by re-crystallization. Because salt has very little strength. they may expand or cave enough to cause a tight hole or stick the pipe but they lack the fluid drive of a reservoir so no blow-out occurs. salt flow is generally slow. This is to be expected because the older sediments beneath the salt bed had time to lose much of their excess water before the impermeable salt was laid down. This condition is also typical of areas under the overhang of a salt dome. If it later takes on water of crystallization. the water in the shales just below the salt bears the entire burden of the salt plus the burden of sediments above the salts and can approach 1 psi/ft. 1. Its properties of pressure transmission are more like fluids than solids. silts. (Sand cannot occur directly below the salt or below limestone unless there is an overhang). There are further complications involved in drilling beneath the salt.

At this point fluid is being injected into the formation and the pressure rise will be smaller. So long as the system remains closed and nothing breaks. with balanced mud weight in and out. the cement pump is used to pump a small volume at a time into the hole (typically ¼ or ½ a barrel each time). See Figure 10. so that whole mud can flow into it. and allows a clear indication of strength to be determined for one isolated zone.7 FORMATION FRACTURE PRESSURE (PFB) Formation fracture pressure. A graph of well pressure versus volume pumped will show a near straight line until a break occurs. With the well closed in. The cement is allowed to harden before testing takes place. Commonly this is expressed as a pressure gradient. Some companies will drill as much as 20 ft of new formation. with the units of psi/foot. This test of the formation strength. This allows formations to be tested after the minimum of disturbance and damage due to drilling. and five to ten feet of new formation is drilled. The bit is pulled to the shoe and the hole circulated clean.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES 1. is effected after the casing has been run and cemented in place. GFB. and a chiksan line to the cement unit made up on the drillpipe. The formation breakdown pressure is usually determined for formations just below a casing shoe by means of a leak-off test. 2) 3) 4) 5) 13 . low volume pump and small volume can be accurately measured using the cement unit. to prevent the formation of ‘micro-annuli’ between cement and casing after the casing expands under pressure. Further pumping will not necessarily show a pressure rise but more commonly a pressure drop. Since this is being pumped into a closed well. the pressure increase for each volume pumped will be the same. The shoe and cement is drilled out. The symbol FB is usually used to denote this pressure. also known as a formation integrity test or FIT. or formation breakdown pressure is the pressure required to rupture a formation. The cement unit pump is used because it is a high pressure. The general procedure for a leak-off test is as follows: 1) Casing is run and cemented in place. the pressure in the well rises. The well is closed in using the blowout preventers.

The leak-off pressure. 14 . A full leak-off test is not often carried out on Production Wells. the pump is shut down and pressure allowed to stabilise for 30 seconds or so. This value is noted on the graph and pumping continued. at which point they diverge. Thus: Formation Breakdown = Hydrostatic Pressure + Leak-Off Pressure of Mud to Shoe Pressure PFB = HMUD + PLO (M. for example on exploration. plus a safety factor. PLO.Leak-Off Test Graph Figure 10 shows a typical graph for a leak-off test carried out in this way. determined by this test is the surface pressure which when added to the hydrostatic head of mud in the Well causes formation breakdown.W. Some companies graph both pumping and static pressures. The two lines should run approximately parallel until breakdown occurs. X Depth X Factor) Note that this is the full leak-off procedure which is used. A ‘proofing’ or integrity test is carried out to demonstrate that the casing shoe can hold the pressure exerted by the maximum weight to be run in the next section. After each quarter barrel. Here mud has been pumped slowly in quarter-barrel amounts.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES Figure 10 . wildcat and possibly some development wells.

True Vertical PFB (psi/ft) Shoe Depth. 15 . is determined as the maximum surface pressure which the well could stand.052 x True Vertical Shoe Depth Frequently a safety factor is applied to the ‘raw’ MAASP obtained. FormationBreakdown = FormationBreakdownPressure (psi/foot) Gradient Shoe Depth.8 MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE ANNULAR SURFACE PRESSURE The leak-off pressure. (Meantime we shall leave aside safety factors). Mud Wt .PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES The formation breakdown pressure is also expressed as a formation breakdown pressure gradient. with the hydrostatic load of mud in use at the time of the test. then the same formula appears as: (Max Equiv. PLO.052 (ppg) MaximumEquivalent = PFB Mud WT (ppg) ShoeDepth.Current Mud Wt) MAASP = ppg ppg x 0. If a Maximum Equivalent Mud Wt is quoted for formation strength. True Vertical The formation breakdown strength is also expressed as the equivalent mud weight — the maximum weight which if put into the hole just provides formation breakdown pressure on its own. the MAASP changes and must be re-calculated. 1. The above formula for MAASP can be re-written as: MAASP = (GFB . True Vertical GFB = It is stressed that this is a purely hypothetical weight. Formation Breakdown Pressure PFB Head of Mud in Use(to Shoe) AMUD to SHOE MAASP = Every time the mud weight is changed. This can be described as the Maximum Allowable Annular Surface Pressure (MAASP) with that particular mud weight in use.GMUD) x ShoeDepth. TrueVertical This form is often more convenient to use. ÷ 0.

the safety factor should be deducted from the formation breakdown figure itself. and MAASP values worked out relative to the reduced formation breakdown figures.Influx gradient) = Length of influx at shut-in. Volume in barrels. the effect of the safety margin is being fully applied. Kick tolerance will be the smaller of the two volumes calculated in steps a) and b). On floating rigs increased water depths and the inclusion of riser margins reduce kick tolerance. This 5% should be subtracted from the formation breakdown figure. and not from the MAASP. V2 = Kick volume.SIDPP) ÷ (Mud gradient . Kick Tolerance. so it is wise to allow a margin. so this is where any reduction ought to be made. 1. A 5% reduction implies only 950/o confidence in the demonstrated strength. Companies have various safety margins which they use. Convert to a volume in barrels. P1 = Formation breakdown pressure at shoe. but however derived. Use Boyles gas law to convert this to a volume in downhole conditions. or Volume at shut-in = (MAASP . A leak-off test is not usually a precise or high accuracy test. P2 = Formation pressure. a) Maximum kick length.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES This safety factor gives a margin for error. now. NOTE: 16 . In this way. Simple Method. a 5% safety margin is a commonly used figure.9 KICK TOLERANCE Is the maximum kick volume that can be taken into the well and circulated out without causing formation damage. Fixed Rig. and operate to a somewhat lower formation fracture figure than obtained on test. Kick tolerance is a function of formation pressure and formation breakdown pressure. A simple 5% reduction in MAASP values does not provide the same margin. Convert the length calculated in a) above into the volume at the annulus section below the casing shoe. b) c) Where. VI = Volume calculated in b). For example. which is not otherwise always the case.

052) 5700 psi (1000 . (3600 x 57.28 bbls Around the pipe 450 ft x 0. Gradient Breakdown pressure at shoe DC/OH Capacity DP/OH Capacity MAASP Assume SIDPP Influx gas Formation pressure Step A 10000 ft TVD 5000 ft TVD l0 ppg 0.935 bbls 1250 ft converted to a volume below the shoe.0459 = 57.0.375) ÷ 5700 36.375 bbls Converting the above volume to downhole conditions. Collars = 23.0.236 bbls Step B Step C The kick volume is the smaller of the volumes calculated in the steps A) and C).12 psi/ft = 500 + (10000 ft x 10 x 0.52 .72 psi/ft = 0.12) 1250 ft This will cover the collars and 450 ft of pipe.0459 bbls/ft (0.500) ÷ (0. Kick Tolerance = 36.72 x 5000 ft = 3600 psi 0.655 bbls Total length 1250 ft Total volume 43.0291 bbls/ft (800 ft Collars) 0.52) x 5000 ft = 1000 psi = 500 psi = 0.0459 = 20.PULJET KONSULT Drilling & Well Services Training PRESSURES Kick Tolerance Example Well Data Depth Shoe Mud Frac.72 . 1250 x 0.236 bbls 17 .