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Drilling Engineering Department

Drilling Training Manual


SAUDI ARAMCO DRILLING ENGINEERING COURSE
September 2006

SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER ROTARY DRILLING BITS

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

BIT TYPES 1
DRAG BITS 1
DIAMOND BITS 3
- BIT CONSTRUCTION 3
POLYCRYSTALLINE DIAMOND COMPACT BITS 6
- PDC BIT WHIRL 11
ROLLING CUTTER BITS 13
- BIT DESIGN 13
- CUTTERS 16
- BEARINGS 18
- BIT BODY 20

BIT ENHANCEMENTS 22

STANDARD CLASSIFICATION OF BITS 22


CLASSIFICATION OF FIXED-CUTTER BITS 22
CLASSIFICATION OF ROLLER CONE BITS 24

ROCK FAILURE MECHANISM 28

BIT SELECTION 29

TYPES OF BITS USED IN SAUDI ARAMCO 30

DULL BIT GRADING 33


GRADING TOOTH WEAR 33
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

FACTORS AFFECTING PENETRATION RATE 40


BIT TYPE 40
FORMATION CHARACTERISTICS 41
DRILLING FLUID PROPERTIES 41
TERMINATING A BIT RUN 43
BIT WEIGHT AND ROTARY SPEED 46

OPERATING PROCEDURES OF ROLLING CONE BITS 52


SURFACE HANDLING 52
TRIPPING BIT IN THE HOLE 52
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The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the engineer to

the various types of bits


criteria for bit selection
evaluation of drill bits and
optimization of bit weight and rotary speed

The process of drilling a well requires the use of drilling bits. The drilling engineer is
responsible for the selection of the best drilling bit for a given situation and the
optimization of the bit operating conditions. The performance of drilling bits has a direct
impact on the total cost of drilling a well. It is, therefore, important for the drilling
engineer to learn the fundamentals of bit design so that he can understand the differences
among the various types of bits available.

BIT TYPES
Rotary drilling bits are classified according to their design as either drag bits or rolling
cutter bits. Drag bits consist of fixed cutter blades that are an integral part of the body of
the bit and rotate as an unit with the drill string. Rolling cutter bits have two or more
cones containing cutting elements, which rotate about the axis of the cone as the bit is
rotated at the bottom of the hole.

DRAG BITS
The design features of the drag bit include the number, size and shape of the cutting
blades or stones, the size and location of the water courses and the metallurgy of the bit
and cutting elements. Drag bits drill by plowing cuttings from the bottom of the hole like
a farmers plow cuts in the soil. There are two types of drag bits; diamond bits and
polycrystalline diamond cutter (PDC) bits. An advantage of drag bits over rolling cutter
bits is that they do not have any rolling or moving parts, which require strong and clean
bearing surfaces. This feature is especially important in drilling small hole sizes, where
space is not available for designing strong bit cutter elements and bearings needed for a
rolling cutter. Also, since drag bits are made of one solid piece of steel, there is less
chance of bit breakage and leaving junk in the hole.

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Fig. 1 Diamond cutter drag bit - design nomenclature

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DIAMOND BITS
Diamond drilling bits are quite expensive and may cost three or four times as much as
roller cone insert bits. They are used to drill hard and abrasive formations when they
offer economic advantage over other types of bits. The most important advantage of a
diamond bit is that it drills more hole than any other bit over its rotating life, thus fewer
round trips are required. Diamond bits drill at lower penetration rates than other bits.
Therefore, to be cost effective a diamond bit must drill at a reasonable rate of penetration;
otherwise, the time lost in rotating would cancel out the savings in round trips.

Bit Construction:
Diamond bits have three major components:

the bit blank


the matrix crown
the shank

Refer to the design nomenclature in Fig (1). The crown is made of tungsten carbide
powder bonded together with nickel copper alloy binder. The use of the tungsten carbide
alloy offers resistance to the corrosion and abrasion caused by the high pressure drops
across the bit face, long bit runs and high solid content in the drilling mud. The shape of
the crown is determined by the graphite mold in which it is furnaced. During this process,
the nickel copper alloy also binds the crown to the steel bit blank. The blank is then
machined, threaded and welded to a properly heat treated shank which has been
machined for the appropriate API pin connection.

The face or crown of the bit consists of many natural diamonds set in the tungsten
carbide matrix. The diamonds come in various sizes and grades for a range of
applications. Some natural diamonds are mechanically or chemically treated to provide
smoother cutting surface for improved wear resistance. Small reclaimed natural diamonds
are used for gauge protection.

Under proper bit operation only the diamonds contact the bottom of the hole leaving a
small clearance between the matrix and the hole bottom. Fluid courses (Fig 2) are
provided in the matrix to direct the flow of drilling fluid over the face of the bit. These
courses must be small enough so that some of the fluid is forced between the matrix and
the hole bottom, thereby cleaning and cooling the diamonds. There are two types of
hydraulic flow patterns; the radial flow and the feeder collector shown in Fig (2). The
radial flow pattern is used in soft formation bits. The fluid flows from the bit's axis

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toward the shoulder through a series of parallel or expanding fluid courses keeping the
cuttings off the bit's face in shale and soft formations. The feeder collector flow pattern is
used in hard formation diamond bits where the fluid flows across diamond pads from
high pressure feeders into low pressure zones.

Radial Flow Feeder/Collector

Open Flow

Fig. 2 Natural Diamond Bit Hydraulic Flow Patterns

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Long Taper Short Taper Non-Taper

Fig. 3 Diamond Bit Shapes

Sharp-nosed crown
profile
Large diamond size
Radial flow hydraulics
Used in soft
formations

Blunt-nosed crown
profile
Medium diamond size
Feeder collector
hydraulics
Used in hard
formations

Fig. 4 Examples of diamond bits used in soft and hard formations

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An important design feature of a diamond bit is its shape or crown profile (Fig 3). A bit
with a long taper assists in drilling a straight hole and allows the use of higher bit
weights. On the other hand, a short taper is easier to clean because the hydraulic energy is
concentrated over a smaller surface area. A more concave bit face is used in directional
drilling to assist in increasing the angle of deviation of the borehole from vertical.

The size and number of diamonds used in a diamond bit depends on the hardness of the
formation to be drilled. Bits for hard formations have many small (0.07 - 0.125 carat)
stones, while bits for soft formations have a few large (0.75 - 2 carat) stones. Examples of
diamond bits for soft and hard formations are shown in (Fig 4). If the diamonds are too
large the unit loading on the diamond points will be excessive, resulting in localized heat
generation and polishing of the cutting edge of the stones.

The design of the water-course pattern cut in the face of the bit and the junk slots cut in
the side of the bit face controls cuttings removal and diamond cooling. Diamond bits are
designed to operate at a given flow rate and pressure drop across the face of the bit.
Experiments by bit manufacturers indicated the need of 2.0-2.5 bhp/sq. in. of hole bottom
with 500-1000 psi pressure drop across the face of the bit to clean and cool the diamond
adequately. The pressure drop can be measured as the difference between the pump
pressure with the bit off bottom and the pump pressure measured while drilling. The bit
manufacturer usually provides the approximate circulating rate required to establish the
needed pressure drop across the bit face.

POLYCRYSTALLINE DIAMOND COMPACT BITS

Fig. 5 Diamond Compact Structure

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In the mid-1970's a new type of drag bit had been made possible by the introduction
polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) as a bit cutter element. The compact consists of
a thin layer of synthetic diamond about 0.5 mm thick bonded through high-pressure,
high-temperature process to a tungsten carbide disc. The diamond layer consists of small
diamond crystals which have random orientations for maximum strength and wear
resistance. As shown in (Fig 5), the polycrystalline diamond compact is bonded to a
tungsten carbide body matrix.

Short-Taper Non-Taper Long Taper

Fig. 6 PDC Bit Crown Profiles

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During drilling the diamond compact maintains a sharp cutting edge as it wears. The
PDC cutter's self sharpening effect results in long bit life and high rates of penetration.
PDC bits are evolving rapidly. They perform best in soft, firm and medium - hard
nonabrasive formations that are not "gummy". Bit balling is a serious problem in very
soft, gummy formations, and rapid cutter abrasion and breakage are serious problems in
hard, abrasive formations.

The bit shape or crown profile is an important design feature in PDC bits. There are three
basic crown profiles for PDC bits: short taper, long taper and non-taper profiles (Fig 6).
Short taper bits have a tapered crown with a relatively blunt nose. This design allows
more cutters to be distributed toward the outside of the bit for a more even wear pattern
on the cutters. The short taper bit also provides rotational and directional stability while
drilling build curves in directional or horizontal wells. The high cutter density enhances
bit life at higher rotational speeds, on down hole motors or in large hole sizes. The short
parabolic shape provides a relatively small surface area for easy cleaning.

Bits with non-taper have the least surface area which minimizes the number of cutters
required to provide full coverage. The weight on bit is distributed evenly on the cutters.
Because of the reduced surface area, the available hydraulic horsepower is more
concentrated which improves hole cleaning. These features provide high penetration rates
in soft to medium formations. Non-taper bits are usually used to drill 9" or smaller holes.

Long taper bits provide a smooth load distribution


across the entire profile of the bit. This reduces the
potential for excessive point loading that can occur
with other designs. This profile allows increased
cutter density toward the shoulder and gauge of the
bit, making this style well suited for high RPM
drilling using down hole motors. The long taper
profile, however, is more vulnerable to damage when
hard stringers are encountered.

PDC bits use nozzles strategically positioned on the


face of the bit to clean the bottom of the hole and
cool the PDC cutters. The jetting action of the
nozzles and the design of the bit face direct the
cuttings toward junk slots located at the outside
Fig. 7 Nozzle Placement & diameter of the bit (Fig 7). Nozzle placement and
Orientation orientation depend on the individual bit style.

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d/4

EXPOSURE

BACK RAKE ANGLE


(negative)

SIDE RAKE ANGLE

Fig. 8 Cutter orientation expressed in terms of exposure, back rake and side rakes

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Typically, nozzles are positioned and oriented to clean a group of PDC cutters. In some
designs each nozzle can be dedicated to a single PDC cutter.

Other important features of a PDC bit include the size, shape and number of cutters used
and the angle of attack between the cutter and the surface of the exposed formation. The
number of cutters on a bit depends on the formation being drilled. Generally, the greater
cutter concentration, the lower is the wear rate and slower the rate of penetration. High
number of cutters are usually placed on hard formation bits to reduce the load per cutter
and the cutter breakage. Fewer cutters are placed on soft formation bits to reduce chances
of bit balling.

Cutter orientation is defined in terms of back rake, side rake and chip clearance or cutter
exposure (Fig 8).

Back rake is the angle that the face of the cutter makes with the vertical. Back rake angle
o o
can be varied from 0 to 30 to match the drilling mechanics of the formation. Cutters
with small or no back rake are suited for soft formations where the aggressive cutter
orientation can improve ROP. Cutters with greater back rake are used in harder
formations to shear rock more efficiency and resist impact damage. Increasing the back
rake makes the bit less responsive to variations in weight on bit. This widens the
operational range of the bit and makes it more versatile for directional and horizontal
drilling.

The side rake angle assists in directing the cuttings formed towards the junk slots and the
annulus. The angle can be varied to enhance the bit's cleaning efficiency.

Cutter exposure is the distance between the cutting edge and the bit face. The exposure of
the cutter provides room for the cuttings to peel off the bottom without impacting against
the bit body and packing in front of the cutter. Soft formation PDC bits have full
exposure for maximum rate of penetration. In hard formations partial exposure may be
desirable to increase cutter durability.

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PDC Bit Whirl:


PDC bits have shown excellent performance in soft formations. In harder formations,
however, accelerated cutter wear and short bit life severely limited their efficiency.
Research conducted during the last few years has shown that cutter wear and damage
resulted from the phenomenon known as "bit whirl". Basically, a whirling bit fails to
rotate smoothly about its geometric center.

Bit whirl occurs when the dynamic forces


(vibrations) of the bottom hole drilling
assembly on the bit cause its instantaneous
center of rotation to move sideways as the bit
rotates (Fig 9). The trajectory of the center of a
whirling bit is shown in (Fig 10). Lab
experiments have shown that whirling bits
make many different star-shaped bottom hole
patterns as shown in (Fig 11). By comparison a
non-whirling bit makes a circular pattern. A
whirling bit cuts an overgauge hole and subjects
the cutters to very rapid accelerations
backwards and sideways resulting in high
impact loads. The severe impact loading causes
accelerated cutter wear and chipping and lower
rates of penetration.

Eastman Christensen has developed a PDC bit


that resists whirl by directing the resultant
cutter force vector into one direction thereby
pushing the bit against the bore hole wall to
provide maximum bit stability (Fig 12). Since
the side of the bit in the direction of the
resultant force will always be rubbing against
the bore hole wall, the gauge of anti-whirl bits
is protected with smooth low friction tungsten
carbide or diamond pads to prevent eroding the
bore hole wall. Anti-whirl bits drill at higher
Fig 9 Bit Whirl resulting from penetration rates, have greater bit life and are
the failure of the bit to capable of penetrating harder formations than
rotate smoothly about its conventional PDC bits.
true geometric center

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Anti-whirl Standard

Fig. 10 Bit Trajectory

Anti-whirl Standard

Fig. 11 Bottom Hole Pattern

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Fig. 12 Cutter layout and orientation designed to create a net imbalance force to
counter bit whirl forces and create a stable rotating condition

ROLLING CUTTER BITS

The three-cone rolling cutter bit is the most common bit type currently used in rotary
drilling. This bit is available with a large variety of tooth design and bearing types and
thus is suited for a wide variety of formation characteristics.

Bit Design:
Rolling cutter bits consist of three major components:
the cutters
bearings and
the bit body

Fig (13) shows a rolling cutter bit with the various parts labeled.

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Cutters:
The cutters or teeth, which are
placed or machined on the outer
surfaces of the cones are the parts of
the bit that break the rock. The
cones are mounted on bearings
which run on pins that are an
integral part of the bit body. See
(Fig 13). The drilling action of a
rolling cutter bit depends to some
extent on the offset of the cones. As
shown in Fig (14), the offset of the
bit is a measure of how much the
cones are moved so that their axes
do not intersect at a common point
in the center of the hole. Offsetting
causes the cones to slip as they
Fig. 14 Offsetting cone centerlines from rotate and scrape the hole bottom
the center of bit rotation to much like a drag bit. This action
increase penetration rates in soft tends to increase penetration rate in
formations soft formations. In hard formations
where the rock must be fractured or
broken, scraping contributes little to rock removal. In addition scraping against a hard
formation is very abrasive and can wear the teeth down quickly. For these reasons hard
formation bits are designed with little or no cone offset. Cone offset angle is expressed as
the angle the cone axis would have to be rotated, to make it pass through the center line
o
of the hole. Cone offset angles vary from 4 for bits used in soft formations to zero for
bits used for extremely hard formations.

The cutting elements on the bit cones are either milled tooth cutters or tungsten carbide
insert cutters. The milled tooth cutters are machined on the cones. The cones are made of
forgings of nickel molybdenum alloy steel. The cones are hardened by special processing
and heat treating to produce a 0.07 to 0.13 deep hard case on the teeth. All steel tooth
cones have tungsten carbide hardfacing material applied to the gage surface. Tungsten
carbide hardfacing is applied to the teeth as dictated by the intended use of the bit.

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The tungsten carbide cutting elements are made of sintered tungsten carbide teeth which
are pressed into holes drilled in the cone surfaces. The positioning of the teeth on the
cones of a roller cone bit is very important. The inner rows of teeth are positioned on the
cones so that they intermesh. A relief ring is cut into the surface of one cone to provide
space for the tooth rotation of an adjoining cone. This intermeshing allows more room for
a stronger bit design, provides self cleaning action and prevents bit balling as the bit
turns. The outer rows of teeth, the heel teeth, do not intermesh. These teeth do the hardest
job because more rock must be removed from the outer most annular ring of the hole
bottom. Because the heel teeth have a more difficult job, they may wear excessively
causing the bit to drill an undersized hole. This causes a misalignment of the load on the
bearings and premature bit failure. Premature failure of the next bit is likely if the hole
remains undersized. Bit manufacturers offer different heel tooth designs to provide the
gauge protection needed.

Another important feature in the positioning of teeth on bit cones is the pitch. Pitch is the
distance between adjacent teeth on a bit cone. If the pitch is the same for all teeth on a
given row, then the teeth will impact the formation in the same location on each rotation
and prevent the bit from making hole. To prevent this from happening, the pitch between
teeth is varied.

The shape and height of the teeth on a bit cone has a large effect on the drilling action of
a rolling cone bit. Milled tooth bits used for soft formations have offset cones and long,
widely spaced teeth. Long teeth give maximum penetration into the formation and
generate large cuttings. The scraping action provided by the offset cones removes the
drilled material. The wide spacing of the teeth promotes bit cleaning and prevents bit
balling. Tooth wear is a problem in soft formation bits because of the scraping action of
the offset cones. This problem is minimized by adding tungsten carbide hard facing to the
teeth. When tungsten carbide inserts are used, abrasion is not a concern because of the
exceptional wear resistance of tungsten carbide. Long and widely spaced insert usually
chisel or conical in shape, are used for maximum penetration.

In drilling medium hard formations, rolling cutter bits are designed to drill by a
combination of crushing and scraping action. Milled tooth breakage becomes a problem
because higher bit weights are required. So the teeth are shorter and less pointed. Wide
tooth spacing is still required to permit adequate cleaning of the bit. The teeth on insert
bits are more closely spaced to reduce load on each tooth. The inserts are more conically
shaped and blunter.

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In hard formations the failure mechanism of the rock is primarily, by crushing. Drilling
hard formations require heavy bit weights which cause severe bending forces on the
teeth. Therefore the bit teeth are short, stubby and closely spaced to minimize breakage.
Because there is little scraping action, hardfacing is only applied on the gauge row of
teeth. In rolling cutter insert bits the inserts are spherical or elliptical and set deeply into
the cone to reduce their tendency to pop out.

Bearings:
The purpose of the bit bearings
is to allow the cones to turn on
the pin with minimum friction.
The most inexpensive bearing
assembly consists of nonsealed
roller-type outer bearing and a
ball-type bearing. Refer to Fig
(15). The roller bearing is the
most heavily loaded member
and tends to wear out first. The
ball bearings carry some of the
axial and thrust loads and serve
to hold the cone in place on the
bit. Since the bearings are
neither sealed nor lubricated
drilling mud is free to enter into
the bearing area and erode the
metal of the rollers and races
and cause the cones to become
Fig. 15 Non-lubricated ball & roller bearings loose. A loose bearing cannot
used in the steel tooth of rock bit evenly distribute the load and
finally become damaged. Non-
sealed roller bearings are adequate to last as long or longer than the cutting structures. In
some areas the bearings are not adequate to varying degrees. This type of bearing
assembly is used in steel tooth bits for drilling shallow top hole sections.

The intermediate cost bearing assembly in rolling cutter bits is the sealed bearing
assembly which was introduced in carbide insert bits. In this type of bit the bearings are
maintained in a grease environment to minimize wear and prolong life of bearings. In
addition to the ball and roller bearing elements, this bearing requires a grease reservoir,

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pressure compensator, connecting passage and seal as shown in Fig (13a). The
compensator allows the grease pressure to be maintained equal to the hydrostatic pressure
at the bottom of the hole. The seal keeps the grease in place and prevents drilling fluid
from entering the bearing area. As the bit wears, the seals eventually fail and allow
drilling fluid to enter the bearings and accelerate bearing wear.

The carbide tooth cutters still out lasted the lubricated ball and roller bearings. This led to
the development of the journal bearing bit. Fig (13a). In this type of bit the roller
bearings are removed and the cone rotates in contact with the journal bearing pin. Instead
of a series of rollers, the journal bearing consists of two circular bearing surfaces which
mate within very close tolerances of each other. A thin layer of grease must separate the
two surfaces to prevent galling. This type bearing has the advantage of greatly increasing
the contact area through which the weight on the bit is transmitted to the cone. Also, by
eliminating one of the components (the rollers), additional space becomes available for
strengthening the remaining components. Journal bearing bits require effective grease
seals, special metallurgy, and extremely close tolerances during manufacture. Silver
inlays in the journal help to minimize friction and prevent galling. While journal bearing
bits are much more expensive than the standard or sealed bearing bits, much longer bit
runs can be obtained, thus eliminating some of the rig time spent on tripping operations.

High rotational speeds in motor drilling shorten the operating life of conventional
elastomer seals. Hughes developed the metal-face seal (ATM) which enables the bit to
run long hours at high rpm. The metal-face seal withstands high temperatures and
provides greater bearing reliability even in abrasive environments.

The metal-face seal consists of two hard metal alloy rings


which are suspended between the cone and head bearing
shaft of the bit as shown in Fig (16). Two elastomer rings,
assembled under compression, position and energize the
precision capped metal seal rings to create leak proof face
contact. The advantage of the metal-face seal is that all
relative rotary motion occurs between the lubricated hard
metal surfaces, which greatly reduces friction generated
heat; therefore the seal can withstand higher RPMs. The
elastomer energizers do not rotate relative to the metal seals
so they are not subject to wear. The metal-face seal
withstands heat better and is more abrasion resistant than the
elostomer seal. Bits with metal-face seal are normally used
Fig. 16 Metal-face Seal with downhole motors in drilling directional and horizontal
wells.

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Bit body:
Bit bodies consist of the
threaded connection which
attaches the bit to the drill
stem, the bearing pins on
which cones are mounted,
the lubricant reservoirs
which contain the lubricant
supply for the bearings and
the watercourses through
which the drilling fluid flows
to clean the cuttings from the
hole.

One of the purposes of the


bit body is to direct the
drilling fluid where it will do
the most effective job of
cleaning. Most present-day
drill bits are of the jet type
which aim the fluid between
cutters directly to the hole
bottom as shown in Fig (17).
Modern pumps provide
adequate power to clean hole
bottom and the cutters. In
some softer formations the
Fig. 17 Nozzles in jet-type bits delivering high jets will remove material by
velocity streams of drilling fluid against the their own forces. Fluid
hole bottom erosion in the bit body from
high velocities is held to a
minimum by use of tungsten
carbide nozzles shown in Fig
(17).

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Fig. 18 G/D Gage Enhancement Fig. 19 Motor Hardfacing

Fig. 20 Leg Inset Protection Fig. 21 Wear / Stabilization Pads

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BIT ENHANCEMENTS
Bit enhancements are made to increase the operating life of the rolling cone bit. Fig (18)
shows an insert bit with gage enhancement. Ovoid shaped inserts are placed on the heel
row and carbide button inserts on the gage row. The inserts are made from extremely
wear resistant tungsten carbide grade and protect the gage of the bit from abrasive wear.
In high-speed directional or abrasive applications, tungsten carbide particle hard facing
and/or flat tungsten carbide inserts are applied along the shirtail to protect against
excessive gage wear as shown in Figs (19) and (20). Wear pads can also be added to the
outer diameter of a rolling cone bit to minimize wear on the bit leg and body. Flat
tungsten carbide inserts are pressed into the pad to provide a wear resistant surface as
shown in Fig (21).

STANDARD CLASSIFICATION OF BITS


There is a large variety of bits available from several manufactures. The International
Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) approved the standard three-digit code
classification system for identifying similar bit types from various manufacturers.

CLASSIFICATION OF FIXED-CUTTER BITS


The classification system for fixed cutter bits (PDC & diamond bits) consists of four
characters. The first character describes the body material and it is either M for matrix
body or S for steel body construction. The second digit designates the cutter density and
ranges from 1 for soft formations to 4 for hard formation PDC bits, and from 6 to 8 for
diamond bits. Numerals 0, 5 and 9 are reserved for future use. For PDC bits, 1 refers to
30 or fewer 1/2 cutters, 2 refers to 30 to 40 cutters, 3 indicates 40 to 50 cutters; and 4
refers to 50 or more cutters.

For diamond bits, the number 6 represents diamond sizes larger than 3 stones per carat; 7
represents 3 stones to 7 stones per carat; and 8 represents sizes smaller than 7 stones per
carat. Thus the diamond size becomes smaller as the digit increases from 6 (soft
formation) to 8 (hard formation).

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Fishtail Long

Short Medium

Fig. 22 Industry-Accepted Bit Profile Description

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The third digit designates the size or type of cutter. For PDC bits 1 indicates cutter larger
than 24 mm in diameter, 2 represent 14-24 mm, 3 indicates 13.3 mm (1/2), and 4 is used
for the smaller 8 mm in diameter. For diamond bits the third digit represents diamond
type, with 1 indicating natural diamonds; 2 to TSP material; 3 represents mixed natural
diamonds and TSP, and 4 applies only to the highest density bit, indicating an
impregnated diamond bit.

The fourth digit gives the basic description of bits profile. The number 1 represents both
fishtail PDC bit and flat TSP and natural diamond bits. Numbers 2, 3 and 4 indicate
increasingly longer bit profiles as shown in Fig (22). Classification systems for PDC and
diamond bits are shown in Tables (1) and (2).

CLASSIFICATION OF ROLLER CONE BITS


The classification of roller cone bits consists of 4 characters, the first 3 characters are
numeric and the fourth character is alphabetic. The first character designates the cutting
structure series which describe the general formation characteristics. There are 8 series;
the first 3 series refer to milled tooth bits; series 4 to 8 refer to insert bits. The formations
become harder and more abrasive as the series number increases.

The second character refers to cutting structure type. Each series is divided into 4 types
or degrees of hardness. Type 1 for the softest formation in the series and type 4 for the
hardest formation.

The third character describes the bearing and gage protection. There are 7 categories of
bearing and gage protection design as shown in Table (3). Categories 8 and 9 are
reserved for future use.

The fourth character is optional and describes special features available. There are 16
alphabetic characters as shown in Table (3).

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BODY STYLE (M) = MATRIX BODY (S) = STEEL BODY


CUTTERS
DENSITY 1 FISHTAIL 2 SHORT 3 MEDIUM 4 LONG
SIZE
EC DBS HYC STC SEC EC DBS HYC STC SEC EC DBS HYC STC SEC EC DBS HYC STC SEC

1 > 24 R522(M) B943(M) B17-4(M)


R573(M)
R523(M)
2 14-24 PD12(S) DS40(S) S95(S) B933(M)
1 DS33(S)

3 < 14 R423(M) PD10(S) S96(S) B923(M)


AR423(M) PD11(S) S93(M)

1 > 24 R525(M) DS30(S) B254(M) R516(M)

2 14-24 R526(M) TD19L(M) B925(M) S25(S) DS34(S)


2

3 < 14 R426(M) TD2A1(M) DS39(M) S93(M) B935(M) R482(M) PD1(S) DS48(S) S10(S) HZ232(M) LX201(M) DS26(S) S45(S)
Z426(M) B2S(M) LX101(M) DS31(S)

1 > 24 R535(M)

2 14-24 TD19M(M) R535S(M) PD4(S)


3

3 < 14 TD5A1(M) B927(M) AR435(M) TD268(M) DS23(S) MX42(M) R435(M) PD2(S) S85(S) B272(M) Z528(M)
TD260(M) DS49(M) S43(S)

1 > 24

2 14-24 TD19H(M) PD5(S) PD4HS(S)


4

3 < 14 TD290(M) HZ352(M) R437(M) LX401(M) D247(M) S35(M) S292(S) R419(M) LX271(M) DS18(M) B102(M)
B352(M) Z437(M) LX301(M) R429(M) TD115(M) DS19(M) B362(M)
Z429(M) LX291(M) DS20(M)

Table (1) REVISED CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM TABLE (PDC)

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CUTTERS BODY STYLE


1 FLAT 2 SHORT 3 MEDIUM 4 LONG
SIZE ELEMENT
EC DBS HYC STC SEC EC DBS HYC STC SEC EC DBS HYC STC SEC EC DBS HYC STC SEC

1 NAT D262 TB16 901 N37 D18 N42


D311 932

6 2 TSP S725 S225 TT16 211


241
< 3 SPC
3 COMB TBT16 211ND
241ND

1 NAT D411 TB26 828 N4S D41 TB521 D262 TB601 901 N39 T51 TB593 901DT
D331 730 N50 T54 TB703
D311 753
7 744
2 TSP SST 828TSP TT521 263 P443 S248 TT601 243 P341 TT593
S226 223 P343
3 - 7 SPC

3 COMB TBT521 263ND TBT601 243ND TBT593


223ND TBT703

1 NAT D24 525 N60


585

2 TSP
8

> 7 SPC 3 COMB

4 IMP S279 TB5211

Table (2) REVISED CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM TABLE (TSP / ND)

IADC CLASSIFICATION CHART FOR TSP & NATURAL DIAMONDS

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Manufacturer : Date:
S BEARING / GAGE
T
E Y STANDARD ROLLER ROLLER SEALED SEALED SEALED SEALED
R ROLLER BEARING BEARING ROLLER ROLLER FRICTION FRICTION FEATURES
FORMATIONS P BEARING AIR GAGE BEARING BEARING BEARING BEARING
I E COOLED PROTECTED GAGE GAGE AVAILABLE
E S PROTECTED PROTECTED
S
SOFT FORMATIONS WITH 1

LOW COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH 2


1
3 A - AIR APPLICATION
AND HIGH DRILLABILITY
STEEL 4 B - SPECIAL BEARING SEAL
MEDIUM TO MEDIUM HARD 1
C - CENTER JET
TOOTH FORMATIONS WITH 2
2
3 D - DEVIATION CONTROL
HIGH COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH
4
BITS E - EXTENDED JETS
HARD SEMI-ABRASIVE 1
(FULL LENGTH)
AND ABRASIVE 2
3 G - GAGE / BODY
3
FORMATIONS PROTECTION
4
ADDITIONAL
SOFT FORMATIONS WITH 1
2 H - HORIZONTAL / STEERING
LOW COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH 4 APPLICATION
3
AND HIGH DRILLABILITY
4 J - JET DEFLECTION

SOFT TO MEDIUM 1 L - LUG PADS


FORMATIONS WITH 2
5 M - MOTOR APPLICATION
3
LOW COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH
4 S - STANDARD STEEL
INSERT MEDIUM HARD 1 TOOTH MODEL

FORMATIONS WITH 2 T - TWO CONE BIT


6
BITS HIGH COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH
3
W - ENHANCED CUTTING
4
STRUCTURE
HARD SEMI-ABRASIVE 1
X - PREDOMINANTLY
AND ABRASIVE 2
7 CHISEL TOOTH INSERT
3
FORMATIONS
4 Y - CONICAL TOOTH INSERT

EXTREMELY HARD 1 Z - OTHER SHAPE INSERT


AND ABRASIVE 2
8
3
FORMATIONS
4
th
1) Several features may be available on any particular bit 4 character should describe predominant feature.
2) All bit types are classified by relative hardness only and will drill effectively in other formations.
3) Please check with the specific bit supplier for additional information.

Table (3) IADC CLASSIFICATION CHART


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ROCK FAILURE MECHANISM


Drilling bits cut rock by five basic mechanisms
wedging
scraping and grinding
erosion by fluid jet action
crushing
torsion or twisting

While one mechanism may be dominant for a given bit design, more than one mechanism
is usually present.

PDC bits cut rock primarily by wedging, Fig


(23), which is more efficient than crushing and
grinding. In the right formations, the wedging
action makes it possible for PDC bits to
maintain high rates of penetration with less
weight on bit. This reduces wear on bit while
yielding high ROP.

Fig. 23 PDC bits shear rock

Natural diamond bits are designed to drill with


very small penetration into the formation. The
diameter of sandstone grains may not be much
smaller than the depth of penetration of the
diamonds. The drilling action of diamond bits is
primarily a grinding action in which the
cementing material holding the individual sand
grains together is broken by the diamonds Fig
(24).
Fig. 24 Natural diamond bits
cut by indenting,
plowing and grinding

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Rolling cutter bits designed with small or zero


offset angle for drilling hard formations employ
the crushing mechanism for rock removal Fig
(25). This cutting action is inefficient and
requires high weight on bit to deliver enough
energy to the formation to achieve fast
penetration. The drilling action of rolling cone
bits designed with a large offset angle for
drilling soft formations is more complex than
Fig. 25 Roller cone bits drill the simple crushing action. Since each cone
by complex modes alternately rolls and drags, considerable
that crush the rock wedging and twisting action is present in
addition to the crushing action.

BIT SELECTION
Unfortunately, the selection of the best bit to drill a given formation is made by trial and
error. The criterion used for selecting a bit is based on the drilling cost per unit interval.
The best bit for drilling a given formation is the bit that would give the least drilling cost.
The drilling cost per foot. C is,

Cb + C r ( T b + T c + T t )
C = ...........................(1)
L

where,
C: drilling cost, $/ft
Cb: cost of bit, $
Cr : rig cost, $/hr
Tb: rotating time, hrs
Tc: non-rotating time (connection time), hrs
Tt: tripping time to change bit, hrs
L: interval drilled, ft

The initial selection of bit type can be made on the basis of formation drillability and
abrasiveness. Drillability is a measure of how easy the formation is drilled and it is
inversely related to the compression strength of the rock. The abrasiveness of the
formation is a measure of how rapidly the teeth of a milled tooth bit wear when drilling

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the formation. Normally, abrasiveness increases as the drillability decreases. In the


absence of prior bit records, Table (3) can be used as a guide for initial bit selection. The
drilling cost per foot is the final criterion that should be used for selecting a bit. Some of
the rules of thumb used for bit selection are:

1. High-cost bits tend to be more applicable when the daily rig operation cost is high.
2. Rolling cone bits are the most versatile bits and are good initial choice.
3. When using a rolling cone bit:
a) Use the longest tooth suitable for the application.
b) When the rate of tooth wear is much less than the rate of bearing wear, select a
longer tooth size, a better bearing design, or apply more bit weight.
c) When the rate of bearing wear is much less than the rate of tooth wear, select a
shorter tooth size, a more economical bearing design, or apply less bit weight.
4. Diamond drag bits perform best in nonbrittle formations having a plastic mode of
failure, especially in the bottom portion of a deep well, where the high cost of tripping
operations favors a long bit life, and a small hole size favors the simplicity of a drag
bit design.
5. PDC drag bits perform best in uniform sections of carbonates or evaporites that are not
broken up with hard shale stringers or other brittle rock types.
6. PDC drag bits should not be used in gummy formations, which have a strong tendency
to stick to the bit cutters.

TYPES OF BITS USED BY SAUDI ARAMCO


Most of the bits used by Saudi Aramco are roller cone type bits. The milled tooth bits are
normally used to drill the shallow aquifers of Neogene, Khobar, Alat and UER. The
deeper and harder formations are drilled by using the roller cone insert bits. The type of
bit is selected based on the cost-per-foot criterion. New bits are purchased and used to
drill the desired formation. The performance of the bit is evaluated on a cost-per-foot
basis and compared with that of the existing bits used to drill the same formation. If the
new bit is more cost effective it will replace the old bit and will be included in the SAMS
(Saudi Aramco Material Supply System). The types of bits that are used to drill the
varoius formations in Saudi Aramco are shown in Table (4)

Diamond bits are used only in special situations to drill extremely hard and abrasive
formations in deep exploratory wells. Diamond bits are not in the SAMS and are acquired
when the need arises. PDC bits are being developed for use in horizontal and highly
deviated wells. Since PDC bits have no moving parts they will last longer than the

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Table (4) BIT TYPES USED IN DRILLING SAUDI ARAMCO FORMATIONS


FORMATION LITHOLOGY BIT TYPE
(MEMBER / RESERVOIR) (IADC CODE)
DAMMAM DOLOMITE & LIMESTONE 1-1-1 or 1-3-1
RUS ANHYDRITE 1-1-1 or 1-3-1
UMM ER RADHUMA (UER) DOLOMITIC LIMESTONE 1-1-1 or 1-3-1
ARUMA LIMESTONE 1-1-1, 1-3-1 or 1-3-4
WASIA (MiSHRIF, RUMAILA, AHMADI, LIMESTONE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
WARA & MAUDDUD)
(SAFANIYA & KHAFJI) SANDSTONE & SHALE 1-3-1, 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
SHUAIBA LIMESTONE & CALCARENITE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
BIYADH SANDSTONE & SHALE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
BUWAIB LIMESTONE & SHALE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
YAMAMA LIMESTONE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
SULAIY CALCARENITE & LIMESTONE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
HITH ANHYDRITE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
ARAB-A, B, C & D CALCARENITE & ANHYDRITE 5-1-7 or 5-3-7
JUBAILA CALCARENITE & LIMESTONE 5-3-5, 5-3-7 or 6-1-7
HANIFA CALCARENITE & LIMESTONE 5-3-5, 5-3-7 or 6-1-7
TUWAIQ, DHRUMA & MARRAT LIMESTONE 5-3-5, 5-3-7 or 6-1-7
or PDC bit
MINJUR SANDSTONE & SHALE 5-3-5, 5-3-7 or 6-1-7
or PDC bit
JILH DOLOMITE & ANHYDRITE 5-3-5, 5-3-7 or 6-1-7
or PDC bit
SUDAIR SHALE & SILTSTONE 5-3-5, 5-3-7 or 6-1-7
or PDC bit
KHUFF DOLOMITE 6-1-7, 6-3-7
or PDC bit
UNAYZAH, BERWATH & JUBAH SANDSTONE & SHALE 6-1-7, 6-3-7 or 7-3-7
JAUF SANDSTONE & SILTSTONE 6-1-7, 6-3-7 or 7-3-7
TAWIL SANDSTONE 6-1-7, 6-3-7 or 7-3-7
QALIBAH SHALE & SILTSTONE 6-1-7, 6-3-7 or 7-3-7
SARAH SANDSTONE, 6-1-7, 6-3-7 or 7-3-7
CONGLOMERATE & GRAVEL

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roller cone bits especially when run at high rpms with a downhole motor. One
disadvantage of PDC bits is that they cannot be steered easily when drilling the curved
sections of a deviated well in the sliding mode. The bit, if it is not properly designed,
tends to take a large bite into the formation and stalls the bottom hole motor. When this
happens, the bit is pulled out and replaced with a roller cone bit. For this reason, a
considerable amount of time and effort is required to select the most suitable PDC bit for
a particular formation.

Example:
Rig PA-235 used a Smith 8-1/2 MF-2 rolling-cone insert bit type code 5-1-7 with a
motor to drill the curved section across the Hith and Arab-A formations in HRDH-308.
The bit drilled from 6987 to 7582 in 61.5 hours. The daily rig operating rate is $11,000
and the Saudi Aramco overhead is $6500 per day. Assuming a bit price of $5800 and
tripping time of 1 hr per 1000 ft (round trip) what is the drilling cost per foot ?

Solution:
Cb = $5800.

7582
Tt = = 7.58 hrs
1000

Tb + Tc = 61.5 hrs.

11,000 + 6500
Cr = = $729 / hr
24

L = 7582 6987 = 595 ft.

From Eq (1)
5800 + 729( 615
. + 7.58)
C = = $ 94.4 per foot
595

Problem:
Rig P-235 conducted a trial test to evaluate the performance of an 8-1/2 Reed EHP53A
bit type code 5-3-7 in drilling the curved section across the Hith and the Arab-A

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formations in HRDH-314 which is located near HRDH-308. The regular price of the bit
is $7000, however, since this was a trial test Saudi Aramco was able to purchase the bit at
50% discount. The bit drilled the interval from 6767 to 7612 in 67.5 hrs. Which bit
should be used to drill the Hith and Arab-A in Haradh, MF-2 or EHP53A?

DULL BIT GRADING


Since bit selection is made mainly by trial and error, evaluation of dull bits removed from
the well is essential. Accurate records of bit performance should be kept in well files for
future reference. The IADC Grading System is used to evaluate dull bits. Eight columns
of information are used for reporting the condition of dull bits,

TEETH BEARING GAGE REMARKS

CUTTING STRUCTURE B G REMARKS


Inner Outer Dull Locatio
n Bearing Gage Other Reason
Rows Rows Char.
Seal 1/16 Dull Pulled
(I) (O) (D)
(L) (B) (G) (O) (R)

GRADING TOOTH WEAR


Columns 1 and 2 are used to report the condition of the teeth on the inner and outer rows.
The tooth wear of milled tooth bits is graded in terms of the fractional tooth height that
has been worn away and it is reported to the nearest eighth. For example, if half the tooth
height is worn then the bit is graded as T-4. If some teeth are worn more than others then
the average wear of the row of teeth with the most severe wear is reported. The best way
to obtain tooth wear is by measuring the tooth height before and after the bit is run in the
hole. The first column is used to report the wear of the teeth on the inner rows that are not
touching the wall of the hole. Column 2 is used to report the condition of the teeth on the
outer row which touch the wall of the hole.

The tooth wear of insert bits is a measure of the combined cutting structure reduction due
to lost, worn and broken inserts. For example, if 50% of the inner inserts are broken
and/or lost and the remaining inner inserts have no reduction in height, the bit is
graded T-4 in column 1. If 50% of the outer inserts are lost and the remaining inserts on
the outer rows have 50% reduction in height, the bit is graded T-6 in column 2.

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In column 3 a two-letter code is used to indicate the major dull characteristic of the
cutting structure. Table (5) lists the two-letter codes to be used in this column.

Table (5)
DULL CHARACTERISTICS

* BC - Broken Cone LN - Lost Nozzle


BF - Bond Failure LT - Lost Teeth / Cutters
BT - Broken Teeth / Cutters OC - Off Center Wear
BU - Balled Up Bit PB - Pinched Bit
* CC - Cracked Cone PN - Plugged Nozzle / Flow Passage
*CD - Cone Dragged RG - Rounded Gage
CI - Cone interference RO - Ring Out
CR - Cored SD - Shirttail / Damage
CT - Chipped Teeth / Cutters SS - Self-Sharpening Wear
ER - Erosion TR - Tracking
FC - Flat Crested Wear WO - Washed Out Bit
HC - Heat Checking WT - Worn Teeth / Cutters
JD - Junk Damage NO - No Dull Characteristic
* LC - Lost Cone

* Show Cone # or #s under location 4.

Some of the dull characteristics listed in Table (5) are self explanatory. More detailed
description of the two-letter codes can be obtained from bit companies. Examples of
some of the dull characteristics are shown in Figs (26) through (29).

A balled bit will show tooth


wear. This is caused by
cone(s) being unable to rotate
because of formation cuttings
being packed between cones.

Fig 26. Balled Bit (BU)

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The erosion is caused by


abrasive cuttings in mud
travelling at a high rate from
right to left. The eddy effect
caused cuttings to remove
cone shell on the right side of
the inserts.

Fig. 27 Erosion (ER)

Flat crested wear is an even


reduction in height across the
entire face of the cutters. It is
often caused by reducing
weight and increasing rpm.

Fig. 28 Flat Crested Wear (FC)

Heat checking occurs when a


cutter overheats by being
dragged on the formation and
is later cooled by drilling fluid
over many cycles. It can also
occur when reaming under-
gage hole at high rpm using a
motor.

Fig. 29 Heat Checking (HC)

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In column 4 a letter or number code is used to indicate the location on the face of the bit
where the cutting structure drilling characteristic occurs. Table (6) lists the codes to be
used for describing locations on roller cone bits.

TABLE (6)
LOCATION (ROLLER CONE BITS)

N - Nose Row CONE #


M - Middle Row 1
G - Gage Row 2
A - All Rows 3

Location is defined as follows:


Gage - Those cutting elements which touch the hole wall.
Nose - The centermost cutting element(s) of the bit.
Middle - Cutting elements between the nose and the gage
All - All Rows

Cone numbers are identified as follows:


The number one cone contains the centermost cutting element.
Cones two and three follow in a clockwise orientation as viewed looking down at the
cutting structure with the bit sitting on the pin.

Column 5 (B-Bearing/Seals) uses a letter or a number code, depending on bearing types


to indicate bearing condition of roller cone bits. For non-sealed bearing roller cone bits, a
linear scale from 0-8 is used to indicate the amount of bearing life that has been used.
A zero (0) indicates that no bearing life has been used (a new bearing) and an 8 indicates
that all of the bearing life has been used (locked or lost). For sealed bearing (journal or
roller) bits, a letter code is used to indicate the condition of the seal. An E indicates an
effective seal, an F indicates a failed seal(s), and an N indicating not able to grade
has been added to allow reporting when seal/bearing condition cannot be determined.

Column 6 (G-Gage) is used to report on the gage of the bit. The letter I (IN) indicates
no gage reduction. If the bit does have a reduction in gage it is to be recorded in 1/16th of
an inch. The Two Thirds Rule is correct for three-cone bits.

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The Two Thirds Rule, as used for three-cone bits, requires that the gage ring be pulled so
that it contacts two of the cones at their outermost points. Then the distance between the
outermost point of the third cone and the gage ring is multiplied by 2/3s and rounded to
the nearest 1/16th of an inch to give the correct diameter reduction.

TWO THIRDS RULE

Column 7 (O-Other Dull Characteristics) is used to report any dulling characteristic of


the bit, in addition to the cutting structure dulling characteristic listed in column 3 (D).
Note that this column is not restricted to only cutting structure dulling characteristics.
Table (5) lists the two-letter codes to be used in this column.

Column 8 (R-Reason Pulled) is used to report the reason for terminating the bit run.
Table (7) lists the two-letter or three-letter codes to be used in this column.

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TABLE (7)
REASON PULLED OR RUN TERMINATED

BHA - Change Bottom Hole Assembly.


CM - Condition Mud
CP - Core Point
DMF - Dwonhole Motor Failure
DP - Drill Plug
DSF - Drill String Failure
DST - Drill Stem Testing
DTF - Downhole Tool Failure
FM - Formation Change
HP - Hole Problems
HR - Hours on Bit
LIH - Left in hole
LOG - Run Logs
PP - Pump Pressure
PR - Penetration Rate
RIG - Rig Repair
TD - Total Depth / Casing depth
TQ - Torque
TW - Twist Off
WC - Weather Conditions

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Example:
Describe the bit in Fig (30). The
bit was pulled out of the hole
because of low penetration rate.
The seals were found effective
and the bit in gauge.

Solution:
The bit looks to have been
dulled by encountering a harder
formation than the bit was
designed for. This is indicated
by the heavy tooth breakage on
the inner rows, and by the fact
the bit was pulled for
penetration rate. The reduced
penetration rate was caused by
Fig. 30 tooth breakage occurring when
the bit encountered the hard
formation. Excessive weight on
bit also could cause the dull to
have this appearance. Because
of the heavy tooth breakage in
the inner rows, the grade for
column 1 would be 7. The
inserts on the outer row have
little tooth wear but none are
broken, Therefore, the grade for
column 2 is 1. Since the dull
characteristics of the cutting
structure are broken teeth, a
BT code is used in column 3.
An M code is used in column
4 because the broken teeth are
on the middle rows. Since the
Fig. 31 seals are effective a letter E is
used in column 5. A letter I is
used in column 6 to indicate

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that the bit was in gauge. Another characteristic of the cutting structure in addition to
broken teeth is the worn teeth on the outer row. Therefore, a WT code is entered in
column 7. Finally, since the bit was pulled out because of low ROP, a PR code is entered
in column 8. So the bit description is 7, 1, BT, M, E, I, WT, RP.

Problem:
Describe the dull bit shown in Fig (31). When pulled the bit was 2/16 under gauge and
the seals were still in satisfactory condition. The bit was pulled when a specified number
of hours had elapsed.

FACTORS AFFECTING PENETRATION RATE


The penetration rate that can be achieved by a bit has an inverse effect on the drilling cost
per foot. The main factors that affect penetration rate are

bit type
formation properties
drilling fluid properties
bit weight and rotary speed
bit hydraulics

BIT TYPE
Penetration rate is highest when using bits with long teeth and large cone offset angle.
These bits are practical only in soft formations. The lowest cost per foot drilled usually is
obtained by using the longest teeth that are consistent with bearing life at optimum bit
operating conditions.

Drag bits such as diamond and PDC bits are designed to obtain a given penetration rate
by the selection of the number and size of the diamonds or the PDC blanks. The
penetration rate of PDC bits also depends on the back rake angle and the exposure of the
blanks.

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FORMATION CHARACTERISTICS
The ultimate compressive strength of the rock is the most important rock property that
affect penetration rate. The higher the compressive strength the lower the penetration
rate. The mineral composition of the rock has some effect on penetration rate. Rocks that
contain abrasive minerals can cause rapid dulling of the bit teeth. Rocks that contain
gummy clays can cause the bit to ball up and drill inefficiently.

The permeability of rock also affects penetration rate. In permeable rock, the drilling
fluid filtrate can move into the rock ahead of the bit and equalize the pressure differential
acting on the chips formed beneath each tooth and increase the penetration rate.

DRILLING FLUID PROPERTIES


Drilling fluid properties that affect penetration rate are
density
rheological properties
filtration properties and
solids content and size distribution
An increase in the drilling fluid density would
decrease the penetration rate. Increasing the
drilling fluid density would cause an increase in
the bottom hole hydrostatic pressure beneath the
bit and thus an increase in the differential
pressure (overbalance) between the bore hole and
the formation pore pressure. An increase in the
differential pressure would increase the strength
of the rock and, therefore, decrease the
penetration. Also, a higher differential pressure
prevents the ejection of the crushed fragments of
rock formed beneath the teeth of the bit resulting
in a lower penetration rate. The effect of
Fig. 32 The effect of differential differential pressure on penetration rate in Berea
pressure on penetration sandstone is shown Fig. (32). Note that the effect
rate in Berea sandstone of overbalance on penetration rate is more
pronounced at low values of overbalance than at
high values of overbalance. If overbalance is
quite large, additional increase in overbalance has
little effect on penetration rate.

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Penetration rate tends to decrease with increasing viscosity and solids content and
tends to increase with increasing filtration rate. Increasing the viscosity increases the
frictional losses in the drillstring and thus decrease the hydraulic energy available at the
bit for cleaning the bottom of the hole. The solid content of the mud controls the pressure
differential across the zone of crushed rock beneath the bit. Increasing the solid content
decreases the filtration rate and therefore increases the differential pressure. As
mentioned earlier, an increase in the differential pressure results in a decrease in the
penetration rate.

Fig. 33 Exponential relation between penetration rate and overbalance for rolling
cutter bits

Many studies have been conducted on the effect of differential pressure (overbalance) on
the penetration rate. Bourgoyne and Young observed that the relation between
differential pressure and penetration rate can be represented by a straight line on a semi
log paper as shown in Fig (33). The equation for the straight line is given by

R
log ( ) = 0.000666 (Pbh - Pf) ......................................(2)
Ro
where,
Ro = penetration rate at zero overbalance, ft/hr
R = penetration rate, ft/hr
Pbh = bottom hole pressure, psi
Pf = Formation pore pressure, psi

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Equation (2) can be expressed in a different form

R2 6
D ( 1 2 )
= e 80.6 10 ................................................(3)
R1
where,
1 = equivalent circulating mud density, lb/gal
R1 = penetration rate ft/hr for equivalent circulating mud density 1
D = depth, ft.

Example:
A 12000 ft deep well is being drilled at a penetration rate of 20 ft/hr using 12 lb/gal mud.
Estimate the penetration rate if the mud density is increased to 13 lb/gal.

Solution:
R1 = 20 ft/hr
1 = 12 lb/gal
2 = 13 lb/gal

From Eq (3),
6
D ( 1 2 )
R 2 = R1 e80.6 10
6
= 20 e 80.6 10 12000 (1213)

= 7.6 ft/hr

Problem
The Jilh formation in HRDH-604 was drilled at a rate of penetration of 4.9 ft/hr using
105 pcf mud. The mud weight was decreased to 102 pcf at 9383 ft and drilling continued
to 9538 ft. How long did it take to drill the interval 9383-9538 ft?

Terminating A Bit Run


The decision to terminate a bit run is not always simple in drilling operations. A bit
should be pulled out if the bearings are worn out or the cutters have worn out to the point
that it is no longer economical to continue drilling with the bit. Badly worn bearings can
be detected by monitoring the rotary table torque. When bearings are worn, one or more

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of the bit cones will lock and cause a sudden increase in the rotary torque needed to
rotate the bit. When this happens the bit should be pulled out. When the penetration rate
decreases rapidly as bit wear progresses, it may be advisable to pull the bit before it is
completely worn. If the lithology is somewhat uniform, the total cost can be minimized
by minimizing the cost of each bit run. In this case, the best time to terminate the bit run
can be determined by keeping a current estimate of the cost-per-foot for the bit run,
assuming that the bit would be pulled at the current depth. Even if significant bit life
remains, the bit should be pulled when the computed cost-per-foot begins to increase.
However, if the lithology is not uniform, this procedure will not always result in the
minimum total well cost. In this case, an effective criterion for determining optimum bit
life can be established only after enough wells are drilled in the area to define the
lithologic variations.

Example:
Determine the optimum bit life for the bit run described in the table below. The lithology
is known to be essentially uniform in this area. The bit cost is $800, the rig cost is
$600/hr, and the trip time is 10 hrs.

Cumulative Cumulative
Footage Drilled Drilling Time (Tb + Tc)
ft hrs

0 0
30 2
50 4
65 6
77 8
87 10
96 12
104 14
111 16

The cost per foot is calculated by using Eq (1). For the first interval the cost per foot is

800 + 600 (2 + 10)


C = = $ 266.66 / ft
30

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The cost per foot that would result if the bit were pulled at the various depths is as
follows,

Footage Drilling Drilling Cost


ft Time, hrs $ / ft

0 0 0.00
30 2 266.66
50 4 184.00
65 6 160.00
77 8 150.65
87 10 147.12
96 12 145.83
104 14 146.15
111 16 147.75

The cost per foot is plotted versus the footage in Fig (34). Note that the cost per foot
during the first 12 hours decreased from $266.66/ft to $145.83/ft. After 12 hrs the cost/ft
increased to $147.75/ft. Therefore, the optimum time to pull out the bit is after 12 hours.

280
Drilling Cost ($/ft)

260
240
220
200
180
160
140
120
0 20 40 60 80 100 120

Footage (ft)

Fig. 34 The cost per foot when the bit is pulled at various depths

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Problem:
A 17 ATX-11 H bit was used to drill the Jilh in HWYH-200. Given the data below,
determine the optimum time to terminate the bit run. Assume $24,500 bit cost, $790/hr
rig cost and tripping speed of 2000 ft/hr.

Bit Depth ft Time of Day, hr. Date

8859 1300 09-29-95


8900 2050
8953 0700 09-30-95
8990 1340
9040 2110
9090 0425 10-01-95
9140 1125
9200 1910
9260 0240 10-02-95
9340 1134
9387 1950
9430 0435 10-03-95
9500 1720
9550 0214 10-04-95
9573 0600

BIT WEIGHT AND ROTARY SPEED


In addition to selecting the best bit for the job, the drilling engineer is responsible for
selecting the optimum weight on bit and rotary speed that will give the least cost drilling
operation. The effect of bit weight and rotary speed on penetration rate has been studied
extensively in the lab and in the field. A plot of penetration rate versus weight on bit at
constant rotary speed has the typical shape shown in Fig (35). No significant penetration
rate is obtained until the threshold bit weight is applied (Point a). Penetration rate then
increases rapidly with increasing values of bit weight for moderate values of bit weight
(Segment ab). A linear curve is often observed at moderate bit weights (Segment bc).
However, at higher values of bit weight, subsequent increase in bit weight causes only
slight improvements in penetration rate (Segment cd). In some cases, a decrease in
penetration rate is observed at extremely high values of bit weight (Segment de). This
type of behavior often is called bit floundering. The poor response of penetration rate at
high values of bit weight usually is attributed to less efficient bottomhole cleaning at
higher rates of cuttings generation or to a complete penetration of the cutting element into
the hole bottom.

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A typical plot of penetration rate vs.


rotary speed obtained with all other
drilling variables held constant is
shown in Fig (36). Penetration rate
usually increases linearly with rotary
speed at low values of rotary speed.
At higher values of rotary speed, the
penetration rate to increasing rotary
speed diminishes. The poor response
of penetration rate at high values of
rotary speed usually is also
attributed to less efficient
bottomhole cleaning.
The plots in Figs (35) and (36) can
be obtained by measuring the rate of
Fig. 35 Typical response of penetration rate penetration at various bit weights
to increasing bit weight and rotary speeds. However,
frequent changes in lithology with
depth make measurements very
difficult because the lithology may
change before the tests are
completed. To overcome this
problem, a drilloff test can be
performed. A drilloff test consists of
applying a large weight to the bit
and then locking the brake and
monitoring the decrease in bit
weight with time while maintaining
a constant rotary speed. Hooks law
of elasticity then can be applied to
compute the amount the drillstring
has stretched as the weight on the bit
decreased and the hook load
increased. In this manner, the
Fig. 36 Typical response of penetration rate penetration rate in ft/hr can be
to increasing rotary speed expressed as,

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CHAPTER ROTARY DRILLING BITS

3420 L w
R = .................................................................(4)
EAs t

where:

w = bit weight increment, lb


E = modulus of elasticity = 30 x 106 psi
As = wall cross-sectional area of drill pipe, inch2
t = time increment, sec.
L = length of drill pipe, ft.

The following procedure can be used for conducting a drilloff test:

1. Select a depth where a uniform lithology is expected.

2. After proper break in, select a starting rpm which is less than the recommended
maximum normal rpm. Measure rpm by counting revolutions of the rotary table.

3. Ensure that the weight indicator has been properly zeroed. Place on the bit the
maximum weight recommended by the manufacturer. Make sure that the product of
the selected bit weight in 1000 lbs times the rpm does not exceed the bearing
capability or the WN number of the bit as recommended by the manufacturer. The WN
number is the product of the weight on bit in 1000 lb times rpm recommended by
manufacturer.

4. Lock the brake. By using a stop watch, measure the time in seconds required to drilloff
2000 lb increments. The average weight corresponding to the shortest time is the
optimum bit weight for that rotary speed.

5. Repeat the test for various rotary speeds. Make sure that weight rpm product does
not exceed the WN number. Pick the optimum bit weight and rpm which corresponds
to the shortest time. If the shortest time occurs at different weights and rpms, use the
lowest weight or rpm. This will save bearing wear.

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Example:
A drilloff test was conducted in UTMN-242 across the Arab-D at a constant speed of 72
rpm and 7300 ft using a Hughes 6-1/4 J-33 bit run on 3-1/2 drill pipe (ID= 2.764 in).
Using the test data below, construct a table of penetration rate versus weight on bit.

Bit weights 1000 lb Time, sec

25 0
23 20
21 21
19 26
17 29
15 30

Solution:
The penetration rate can be calculated using Eq (4),

3420 L w
R =
EAs t

For t = 20 sec, w = 2000 lb.



As = (3.52 - 2.7642) = 3.62 in2
4
3420 7300 2000
R = = 23 ft/hr
30 10 6 3.62 20

A tabulation of bit weight versus penetration rate is shown below:

Average Bit Weight 1000 lb R, Ft/hr

24 23.0
22 21.9
20 17.7
18 15.8
16 15.3

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Problem:
The drilloff test of the previous example was repeated at 5 different rpms as shown
below. What is the optimum bit weight and rpm? The WN number for 6-1/4 J-55 bit is
2550.

Bit Weight 63 rpm 72 rpm 79 rpm 87 rpm


1000 lbs.
Time to Drill-off, Seconds

25-23 20 20 14 15
23-21 21 21 19 25
21-19 27 26 26 29
19-17 27 29 27 27
19-17 27 29 27 27
17-15 32 30 29 29

A rotary-weight response test is usually conducted to confirm the results of the drilloff
test. The response test is more reliable than the drilloff test and takes about one hour to
run. The procedure for conducting a response test is as follows:

1. Pick the optimum weight obtained in the drilloff test and measure the time to drill
one foot. Compute the rate of penetration in ft/hr.

2. Keeping the weight on bit constant repeat step for various rpms. Make sure the
weight rpm product does not exceed the WN number. Plot rate of penetration versus
rpm. Pick the optimum rotary speed from the graph.

3. Keep the rpm constant at the optimum rotary speed obtained in step #2 and repeat the
test for various bit weights. Calculate the rate of penetration. Plot rate of penetration
versus bit weight. Pick the optimum bit weight from the plot.

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Problem:
A rotary-weight response test was conducted to confirm the results of the drilloff test of
the pervious example. The test data are tabulated below. Determine the optimum bit
weight and rpm for drilling the Arab-D using 6-1/4 J-33 bit.

ROTARY SPEED RESPONSE TEST FOR HUGHES 6-1/4 J-33 BIT

Bit Weight Constant at 24,000 lbs Rotary Speed Constant at 79 rpm

Rotary Time To Drill Bit Time


Speed One Foot, Weight To Drill
PPM Seconds 1000 lb one ft

60 180 18 262
72 141 20 212
82 123 22 187
90 127.5 24 166
97 147 25 146

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OPERATING PROCEDURES OF ROLLING CONE BITS

SURFACE HANDLING
New bits should be ordered without nozzles and stored in their boxes. Serial numbers and
date of arrival should be recorded. Re-run bits should be cleaned and stored with pipe
coating on the threads.

Before a new bit is run in the hole, the drilling representative should check the bit and
confirm it is of the correct type and size and has no missing inserts or protruding seals.
Grease reservoir equalization ports should not be clogged. The drilling representative
should witness the installation of new nozzles. Never force a nozzle into the bit. Measure
nozzle size with a nozzle gauge. The bit should be made up using a properly sized bit
breaker. The threads should be cleaned, greased and properly torqued.

TRIPPING BIT IN THE HOLE


The bit should be run slowly in the hole to get through ledges or restrictions which may
be present in blow out preventers, casing leaks, whipstocks, liner hangers, casing patches
and casing shoes. Hitting obstructions at high running speed can break teeth and damage
bearings. Bits should not be used to ream obstructions in casing and liner hangers or drill
on junk.

When in the open hole the bit should be run with care in areas which were tight in the
previous bit run. Tight holes may be reamed at low bit weight and high RPM and
pumping rate. Excessive reaming can damage teeth on the outer row where all the bit
weight is applied during reaming.

When the bit is on bottom, wash the last two joints and avoid running into fill which may
plug the bit. Start the pump slowly and avoid pressure surges which could blow the
nozzles out of the bit. Start drilling with low weight and rpm for few feet to enable the bit
establish a bottomhole pattern. Do not exceed the rpm and weight recommended by bit
manufacturer.

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CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

DRILL PIPE 1
DRILL PIPE DESCRIPTION 2
SELECTION OF TOOL JOINTS 7
BUOYANCY 8

DRILL STRING DESIGN 11


MAXIMUM PULL 14
SLIP CRUSHING 15
COLLAPSE PRESSURE 17
BURST PRESSURE 21
TORSIONAL STRENGTH OF TOOL JOINTS 22
TORSIONAL STRENGTH OF DRILL PIPE 26

DRILL COLLARS 29
COLLAR SIZE SELECTION 30
WEIGHT ON BIT CALCULATIONS 32
THE PRESSURE-AREA METHOD 41

HEAVY WEIGHT DRILL PIPE 44

BOTTOM HOLE ASSEMBLY 47


STABILIZERS 49
REAMERS 51
SHOCK ABSORBERS 52
JARRING DEVICES 54
MECHANICAL JARS 55

BOTTOM HOLE ASSEMBLY DESIGN 55


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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

FATIGUE DAMAGE 59

DRILL STRING DESIGN FOR INCLINED AND


HORIZONTAL WELLS 62
PREDICTION OF TORQUE AND DRAG 62
CALCULATION OF DRAG 66
CALCULATION OF DRAG WITH ROTAATION 74
CRITICAL HOLE ANGLE 75
CALCULATION OF TORQUE 76
DETERMINATION OF FRICTION COEFFICIENT 80
FACTORS AFFECTING TORQUE AND DRAG 81
CALCULATION OF BUCKLING 84
- SINUSOIDAL BUCKLING IN STRAIGHT INCLINED HOLES 84
- BUCKLING IN CURVED HOLES 87
- HELICAL BUCKLING 89
FATIGUE 90
DRILL STRING DESIGN FOR HIGH ANGLE AND
HORIZONTAL WELLBORES 91
MAXIMUM WEIGHT ON BIT BELOW TANGENT POINT 92
MAXIMUM WEIGHT ON BIT ABOVE KICK-OFF POINT 93
CALCULATION OF AXIAL MECHANICAL FORCES 95
DRILL STRING DESIGN SUMMARY 96
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DRILL STRING DESIGN

The drill string is an important part of the rotary drilling process. It serves several
purposes which include the following:

provide a fluid conduit from rig to bit.


impart rotary motion to the bit.
provide weight on the bit.
lower and raise the bit in the well.
allow formation evaluation and testing.

The drill string consists primarily of the drill pipe and the bottom-hole assembly (BHA).
The drill pipe can contain conventional drill pipe and heavy-weight drill pipe (HWDP).
The BHA may contain the following major components:

drill collars
stabilizers
jars
reamers
shock subs
bit

The BHA may also include downhole motors, non-magnetic drill collars for directional
surveys, monitoring-while-drilling (MWD) tools, float subs, junk subs and crossovers.
The major parts of the drill string are discussed in detail below.

DRILL PIPE

The longest section of the drill string is the drill pipe. Each joint of drill pipe consists of
the tube body and the tool joint (connection). Drill pipe joints are available in three
length ranges:
Range Length, ft

1 18-22
2 27-30
3 38-45

Range 2 is the most common.

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Drill Pipe Description

Drill pipe is generally described by tube OD, nominal weight, pipe grade, type tool joint,
thread connection and classification. For example, a 5 drill pipe can be described as,

5 19.5 Grade E XH NC50 Premium


tube OD Nominal Minimum Upset Connection Classification
Weight Yield strength Tool Joint thread (wear)

Each description item is explained in more detail below.

Tube OD is simply the plain end (tube) outside diameter. Common drill pipe sizes and
other dimensional data can be found in Table (1) of API RP7G and are shown in Table
(1). The average length of the tube is normally 29.4 ft.

The nominal weight is the weight per foot including the weight of an API regular
connection. The number serves no real purpose other than identification because drill
pipe does not have API regular connection. The actual weight per foot or adjusted
weight of the drill pipe is listed in Table (8) and (9) of API RP7G. The actual weight
depends on the type of connection and pipe grade. As the grade (minimum yield strength)
increases the actual weight increases because the upset has more metal in it. The actual
weight of the 5 drill pipe in the above example is 20.89 lb/ft. The actual weight for
grade G pipe is 21.92 lb/ft.

The pipe grade states the minimum yield strength of the metal which is the tensile stress
that will result in 0.5% strain. Grade E drill pipe has a yield strength of 75,000 psi. The
minimum strength can be converted to a more usable strength in pounds by multiplying
the minimum yield in psi by the cross-sectional area of the metal. From Table (1) the ID
of 5 19.5 # DP is 4.276 in and the cross-sectional area of the pipe wall is,

(52 4.276 2 )
A= = 5.271 in 2
4

Therefore, the working strength of the DP is,

Working strength = 5.271 x 75000 = 395,394 lb

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TABLE 1
DRILL PIPE TUBE DIMENSIONS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Nom. size Nom. Nom. Nom. (Ao) (Ai) (Z) 1
(OD) weight ID wall OD. (in) Section Area (in2) Section
Modulus
(in) (lb/ft) (in) (in) Min. Max OD ID Wall (in3)
2-3/8 4.85 1.995 0.190 2.344 2.406 4.430 3.125 1.305 0.661
6.65 1.815 0.280 2.587 1.843 0.867

2-7/8 6.85 2.441 0.217 2.844 2.906 6.492 4.679 1.812 1.121
10.40 2.151 0.362 3.634 2.858 1.602

3-1/2 9.50 2.992 0.254 3.469 3.531 9.621 7.031 2.590 1.962
13.30 2.764 0.368 6.000 3.621 2.572
15.50 2.602 0.449 5.317 4.304 2.923

4 11.85 3.476 0.262 9.480 3.078 2.700


14.00 3.340 0.330 8.762 3.805 3.229
15.70 3.240 0.380 8.244 4.322 3.579

4-1/2 13.75 3.958 0.271 4.478 4.545 15.904 12.303 3.600 3.592
16.60 3.826 0.337 11.497 4.407 4.272
20.00 3.640 0.430 10.406 5.498 5.116
22.82 3.500 0.500 9.621 6.283 5.673

5 16.25 4.408 0.296 4.975 5.050 19.635 15.261 4.374 4.859


19.50 4.276 0.362 14.364 5.275 5.708
25.60 4.000 0.500 12.566 7.069 7.245

5-1/2 19.20 4.892 0.304 5.473 5.555 23.758 18.796 4.962 6.111
21.90 4.778 0.361 17.930 5.828 7.031
24.70 4.670 0.415 17.128 6.629 7.844

6-5/8 25.20 5.965 0.330 6.592 6.691 34.472 27.945 6.526 9.786
27.72 5.901 0.362 27.349 7.123 10.578
(1) Z = (/32){(OD4 - ID4)/OD}

Common grades of drill pipe are listed in Table (2) below.

Table (2)
Common Grades of Drill Pipe
Grade Yield Strength, psi
E 75,000
X 95,000
G 105,000
S 135,000

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The tool joint and type of upset are part of the drill pipe description. Tool joints are
screw-type connectors that join the individual joints of drill pipe. Each joint of drill pipe
is fitted with a pin (male thread) and box (female threads) tool joints or connectors. As
was mentioned above, there are three types of tool joints which are widely used.

1 - IEU (Internal-External Upset) - The tool joint OD is larger than the OD of the
drillpipe and the tool joint ID is less than the ID of the drillpipe. Generally, IEU
tool joints are the strongest available. The large OD and small ID of the tool joint
cause relatively high external and internal pressure losses. A schematic diagram
of IEU connector is shown in Fig (1c). The dimensions of the tool joint can be
obtained from API SPEC 5D Table 6.1.

2 - IF (External Upset) - The tool joint ID is the same as the ID of the drill pipe to
minimize internal pressure losses. The upset is on the OD of the tool joint as
shown in Fig (1b).

3 - IU (Internal Upset) - The tool joint ID is less than that of the drill pipe. The small
ID causes relatively higher internal pressure losses. The tool joint OD is the same
as the OD of the drill pipe. This type is called slim-hole drill pipe because of
the small OD.

INTERNAL UPSET EXTERNAL UPSET INTERNAL-EXTERNAL UPSET


(a) (b) (c)

Types of Drill Pipe Tool Joints


Fig (1)

Mechanical properties of new tool joints are listed in Table (8) of API RP7G. Tool joints
for 4-1/2 16.6 # grade E drill pipe are shown in Table (3).

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The type of connection is designated by


the API NC number which is a two-digit
number of the pitch diameter taken at the
pin gauge point as shown in Fig (2).
5/8" down from
shoulder Gauge point pitch diameter is the distance
(gauge point) at gauge point measured to imaginary
lines that bisect the thread halfway
between crest and root. For example, for
Pitch diameter pitch diameters of 5.042 and 4.628 the
NC numbers are NC 50 and NC 46
Fig (2) respectively.

Table 3
Mechanical Properties of New Tool Joints and New Grade E Drill Pipe
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
Mechanical Properties
Tensile Torsional
Drill Pipe Data Tool Joint Data Yield, lb Yld, ft-lb
Nom Nom Approx Drift
Size Wt Wt* Type OD ID Diam Tool Tool
in. lb/ft lb/ft Upset Conn in. in. in. Pipe Joint Pipe Joint

4 13.75 15.21 IU H90 6 3 3.125 270034. 938984. 25907. 39021.p


14.93 EU NC50(IF) 6 3 /8 3 3.625 270034. 939095. 25907. 37676.p
14.06 EU OH 5 331/32 3.770 270034. 555131. 25907. 20965.p
14.79 EU WO 6 1 /8 3 7 /8 3.750 270034. 868775. 25907. 34440.p

16.60 18.14 IEU FH 6 3 2.875 330558. 976156. 30807. 34780.p


17.81 IEU H90 6 3 3.125 330558. 938984. 30807. 39021.p
17.98 EU NC50(IF) 63/8 3 3.625 330558. 939095. 30807. 37676.p
17.10 EU OH 5 7 /8 3 3.625 330558. 714267. 30807. 27272.p
16.79 IEU NC38(SH) 5 211/16 2.563 330558. 587308. 30807. 18346.p
18.37 IEU NC46(XH) 6 3 3.125 330558. 901164. 30807. 33993.p

20.00 21.63 IEU FH 6 3 2.875 412358. 976156. 36901. 34780.p


21.63 IEU H90 6 3 2.875 412358. 1086246. 36901. 45258.p
21.62 EU NC50(IF) 6 3 /8 3 5 /8 3.452 412358. 1025980. 36901. 41235.p
22.09 IEU NC46(XH) 6 3 2.875 412358. 1048426. 36901. 39659.p

22.82 24.07 EU NC50(IF) 63/8 3 5 /8 3.452 471239. 1025980. 40912. 41235.p


24.59 IEU NC46(XH) 6 3 2.875 471239. 1048426. 40912. 39659.p

5 19.50 22.26 IEU 5 FH 7 3 3.625 395595. 1448407. 41167. 62903.b


20.89 IEU NC50(XH) 6 3 /8 3 3.625 395595. 939095. 41167. 37676.p
25.60 28.26 IEU 5 FH 7 3 3.375 530144. 1619231. 52257. 62903.b
26.89 IEU NC50(XH) 6 3 /8 3 3.375 530144. 1109920. 52257. 44673.p

5 21.90 23.77 IEU FH 7 4 3.875 437116. 1265802. 50710. 55933.p


24.70 26.33 IEU FH 7 4 3.875 497222. 1265802. 56574. 55933.p

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September 2000

SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

Another characteristic of the connection is the thread


form or shape. Various types of the thread forms are
shown in Fig (3). All NC connections have a V-038R
thread form which has thread root whose radius of
curvature is 0.038. Thread forms which have rounded
thread roots as in Fig (3a) and Fig (3b) are better than
those which have sharp corners as shown in Fig (3d) and
Fig (3e). The sharp corners tend to act as stress
concentrators and make the thread more susceptible to
failure than threads with rounded roots.

There are two additional API connections which are in


use. These are the API regular connection (Reg) and the
API full hole connection (FH). These connections are
inferior to the NC connection because they have a
sharper root radius. There are other proprietary
connections which were made obsolete such as Hughes
XH, Hughes H-90, Reed open hole (OH), slim hole
(SH), double streamline (DSL), PAC and external flush
(EF). Table (4) shows some of the API, NC and obsolete
connections that are interchangeable.
Fig. (3)
Thread Forms for Tool
Joint Connections

Table 4
Rotary Shouldered Connection Nomenclature
(Connections in the same column are interchangeable, though not identical)
(From T.H. Associates)
CURRENT API NAME
NC-26 NC-31 - - NC-38 NC-40 NC-46 NC-50
OBSOLETE API NAME
Internal Flush (IF) 2-3/8 2-7/8 - - 3-1/2 - 4 4-1/2
Full Hole FH - - - - 4 - -
OTHER OBSOLETE NAME
Extra Hole (XH) - - 2-7/8 3-1/2 - - 4-1/2 5
Double Streamline (DSL) - - 3-1/2 - - 4-1/2 - 5-1/2
Slim Hole (SH) 2-7/8 3-1/2 - 4 4-1/2 - - -
External Flush (EF) - - - 4-1/2 - - - -
Semi-Internal Flush - - - - - - - 5

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September 2000

SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

The classification of drill pipe is based on wear. As new drill pipe is rotated in the hole it
wears and, therefore, it must be reclassified according to its wear. Exterior wear includes
OD wear, dents and mashes, slip area crushing, cuts, pitting and corrosion. The working
strength is reduced because of loss in cross-sectional area. The drill pipe is inspected
periodically to detect cracks, pits, reduction in wall thickness and other defects.
Inspection methods include electromagnetic inspection of pipe body to locate cracks and
pits, sonic inspection to measure wall thickness, visual inspection to detect mashes and
caliper measurements.

The API has established guidelines for pipe classes in API RP7G. The classes are
summarized as follows:

New:- No wear and has never been used.


Premium:- Uniform wear and a minimum wall thickness of 80% of original wall
thickness.
Class 2:- Allows drillpipe with a minimum wall thickness of 65% with all wear on
one side so long as the cross-sectional area is the same as premium class,
that is to say, based on not more than 20% uniform wall reduction.
Class 3:- Allows drillpipe with a minimum wall thickness of 55% with all wear on
one side.

Selection of Tool Joints

The factors that must be considered in the selection of tool joints are outside diameter,
inside diameter, tensile and torsional ratings and cost. Tool joints with large OD and
small ID will result in high pressure losses inside and outside the drill pipe. Large OD
tool joints have better wear characteristics. The OD of the tool joint should be small
enough to facilitate fishing the tool joint with standard fishing tools. One rule of thumb in
the selection of tool joints is that when all other factors are equal the larger the tool joint,
the better it will perform. In the selection of tool joints the operating engineer or
supervisor must rely on the advice of the technical personal who represent the tool joint
manufacturer. These people are knowledgeable in the design and operation of the tool
joints. However, they may not be familiar with the conditions of the well. This may cause
a problem, but it is the responsibility of the engineer to prevent such occurrence. To do
this, the engineer should (1) be familiar with the tool joint design and operation, (2) be
able to clearly communicate his needs to the sales representative, and (3) ensure that the
people advising him are knowledgeable and clearly understand the problem.

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

Buoyancy

Drill strings and subsurface well equipment are subjected to forces created by the
hydrostatic pressure of the fluid in the well. The effect of the hydrostatic pressure is
called buoyancy. Buoyancy is understood most easily for a vertical solid bar of circular
cross-section immersed in liquid as shown in Fig (4). Hydrostatic pressure acting on one
side of the bar is balanced by an equal pressure acting on the opposite side. Thus the net
force exerted by the fluid is the force F acting upward on the bottom end of the bar. The
magnitude of the force is given by,

Surface of liquid

F
Fig (4)
Fig (5)

f
F = PA = LA .........................................................................(1)
144
where,
P = hydrostatic pressure, psi
A = cross-sectional area of bar, in2
L = depth below surface of liquid, ft
f = weight of fluid, 1b/ft3

The weight of the bar in the fluid is given by,


Wf = W - F..................................................................................(2)
where,
Wf = weight in fluid, lb
W = weight in air, lb
F = buoyant force, lb

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CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

The weight of the steel bar in air can be expressed as the volume times density, or

A
W= L s ............................................................................(3)
144

Where, s is the density of steel in lb/ft3.


If we substitute Equation (1) and (3) in Eq (2),

A f
Wf = L s LA
144 144

LA s f
Wf = 1 = W 1 f
144 s s

s f
Wf = W ..................................................(4)
s

Substituting the density of steel 490 lb/ft3 yields,

490 f
Wf = W ...............................................(5)
490

The expression between the parenthesis is called the buoyancy factor.

Example (1)

A drill string which consists of 6000 ft of 5,19.5 lb/ft drill pipe (ID = 4.276 in) and 500
ft of 9 OD x 3 ID drill collars is suspended in a well filled with 80 pcf mud. Calculate
the weight of the string in the fluid (a) by using Eq (2), and (b) by using Eq (5).

Solution

a) The hydrostatic forces acting on the drill string are shown in Fig (5). The force F1 is
acting downward at the shoulder areas between the drill pipe and drill collars. The
force F2 is acting upward on the wall cross-sectional area of the drill collars.

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CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

The shoulder area between the DP and drill collars is,


A=
314
.
4
(
9 2 52 +
314
.
4
) (
4.276 2 32 ) . in 2
= 5124
80
Pressure at 6000 ft = x 6000 = 3333 psi
144
F1 = 3333 x 51.24 = 170,800 lb 5" DP
4.276" ID

Section area of DCs =


314
.
4
( )
9 2 32 = 56.52 in 2 F1 6000

9" Drill
80
Pressure at 6500 ft = x 6500 = 3611 psi Collars
F2 6500
144 3" ID

F2 = 3611 x 56.52 = 204,100 lb Fig (5)

The resultant force acting on drill string is,

F = F2-F1 = 204,100 - 170,800 = 33,300 lb

Weight of drill string in air (disregard couplings) = weight of DP + weight of DC

Weight DP = Vol. x density =


314
.
4 x 144
( )
52 4.276 2 x 6000 x 490 = 107,635 lb

Weight DC =
314
.
4 x 144
( )
9 2 32 x 500 x 490 = 96,162 lb

Weight of string in air = 107,635 + 96,162 = 203,797 lb


From Eq (2),

Wf = W - F =203,797 - 33,300 = 170,497 lb

490 80
b) Buoyancy factor = = 0.836
490

From Eq (5),
Wf = W x 0.836 = 203,797 x 0.836 = 170,524 lb

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CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

Example (2)

A 6000 of 3-1/2 14.69 lb/ft actual weight drill pipe (ID = 2.76 in) got stuck in the well
while spotting a cement plug as shown in Fig (6). The weight of the mud in the well is 75
pcf. What is the weight of the drill pipe in the mud.

Solution

Since the bottom end of the DP is sealed in


hard cement there will be no hydraulic force
acting on the bottom end of the DP.
Therefore, from Eq (2), 3-1/2" DP
75 pcf mud
Wf = W - F
Wf = W - 0 = W = 6000 x 14.69 = 88,140 lb

The weight of DP in fluid is the same as the


weight in air.

CEMENT

Fig (6)
DRILL STRING DESIGN

A drill string should be designed to deliver sufficient weight to the bit and provide
sufficient torsional and tensile strength to withstand the vigorous and dynamic conditions
of drilling. The drill string should also withstand burst and collapse pressure loads and be
designed to minimize hole stability problems. There are many factors that must be
considered in the design of the drill string. These factors are:

Total depth
Hole size
Mud weight
Over pull
Bottom hole assembly
Hole angle
Pipe weights and grades
Corrosive environment
Ability to fish tools out of hole

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

The drill string is designed so that the uppermost joint of each section of drill pipe is
loaded to no more that 80% of the minimum tensile yield strength of that particular
weight and grade pipe for a single size and grade drill pipe. The total load exerted on the
top joint of the drill pipe consists of the buoyed weight of the drill pipe plus the buoyed
weight of the bottom hole assembly (heavy-weight drill pipe plus drill collars) and the
margin of overpull (MOP). The MOP is the desired amount of load in excess of the
buoyed weight of the drill string to account for hole drag and provide excess pull
capacity in the event the drill string becomes stuck in the hole. The amount of overpull
ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 lb. The design criterion can be expressed as,

Y x 0.8 = LWBf + LcWcBf + LHWHBf + MOP ..........................(6)


where,
L = length of DP, ft
W = Actual weight of drill pipe, lb/ft
Lc = length of drill collars, ft
Wc = weight of collars, lb/ft
LH = length of heavy weight drill pipe, ft
WH = weight of heavy weight drill pipe, lb/ft
MOP = Margin of overpull, lb
Bf = buoyancy factor
Y = minimum yield strength, lb

Solving Eq (6) for the maximum length of drill pipe that can be used,
0.8Y MOP LCWC Bf L HW H Bf
L= ...............................(7)
WBf

If the drill string consists of two sections of drill pipe of different grade and weight, then
the maximum length of the second drill pipe section (top section) is,

0.8Y2 MOP L1W1 B f LcWc B f L HWH B f


L2 = ...............(8)
W2 B f

where,
L1 = length of first section of drill pipe (lower section), ft
W1 = actual weight of first section of drill pipe, lb/ft
L2 = length of second section of drill pipe, ft
W2 = actual weight of second section of drill pipe, lb/ft
Y2 = minimum tensile strength of second section of drill pipe (top section), lb.

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CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

In drill string design the pipe of the lowest grade (weakest) is placed on bottom. Each
section of drill pipe is designed starting with the BHA and working upwards. This design
is checked at various depths, for often the most critical section of hole is not at TD, but
further up the hole due to mud weight changes.

Example

A vertical Khuff well is to be drilled to a total depth of 15000 ft by using 5 19.5# grade
G and S drill pipe with FH connections. The mud weight at 7000 ft is 70 pcf and
increases to 90 pcf at 15000 ft. The BHA (heavy weight drill pipe plus drill collars) is
1200 ft long and weighs 150,000 lb in air. Calculate the length of each section of drill
pipe assuming 100,000 lb overpull.

Solution

The actual weights and strengths of the drill pipe are obtained from API RP7G Table (9).
Actual wt, lb/ft Tensile Strength, lb 80% Tensile Strength, lb
5, 19.5# G, FH 22.46 553,833 443,066
5, 19.5#, S, FH 23.4 712,070 569,656
489 70
Buoyancy factor for 70 pcf mud = = 0.856
489
489 90
Buoyancy factor for 90 pcf mud = = 0.815
489

Let us first design for a TD of 7000 ft.


Using Eq (7), the length of the bottom section of drill pipe (grade G) is,

443,066 100,000 150,000 x 0.856


L= = 11162 ft
22.46 x 0.856

Since the length of the BHA and the G drill pipe (1200 + 11162) is greater than 7,000
ft, there is no need to use grade S drill pipe when drilling to 7000 ft TD.

Now, for a TD of 15,000 ft, the length of the first drill pipe (grade G) is calculated by
using Eq (7),

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CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

443,066 100,000 150,000 x 0.815


L1 = = 12,063 ft
22.46 x 0.815

The length of the second section of DP from Eq (8) is,

569,656 100,000 12063 x 22.46 x 0.815 150,000 x 0.815


L2 = = 6638 ft
23.4 x 0.815
We can use a maximum of 6638 ft of grade S drill pipe, but all we need is,
15000 - 12,063 - 1200 = 1737 ft.

Therefore, the string design at 15000 is,


Length, ft
BHA 1,200
5 19.5#, grade G 12,063
5 19.5# grade S 1,737
Total 15,000

Maximum Pull
The maximum pull that can be exerted on stuck drill pipe should not exceed 80% of the
maximum tensile strength of the weakest grade drill pipe. The maximum pull for each
crossover point must be calculated to determine the maximum pull that can be exerted on
the drill string. The calculation procedure is illustrated in the following example.

Example
If the drill string in the previous example becomes stuck at the bit at 14000 ft, what is the
maximum pull that can be exerted on the DP at the surface?

Solution
With the bit at 14000 ft the drilling assembly would consist of the following:
Section 80% Tensile
Section Length, ft Air weight, lb Strength, lb

BHA 1200 150,000 lb


5 Grade G DP 12,063 270,934 lb 443,066
5 Grade S DP 737 17,245 lb 569,656

14,000 ft

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

First we check the maximum pull on the weakest DP. The maximum pull that can be
exerted on the top of grade G DP without exceeding 80% of Grade G tensile strength
is 443,066 lb.

Now the maximum pull that can be exerted on top of grade S DP is,
Max pull = 443,066 + 17245 = 460,311 lb.
Since 460,311 lb are less than 80% of the grade S tensile strength (569,656 lb), then it
is safe to pull 460,311 lb. So when we pull 460,311 lb at the surface the pull exerted on
top of Grade S DP is 460,311 lb. The pull exerted on top of Grade G DP is 460,311
minus the weight of grade S DP, or 460,311-17245 = 443,066 lb.

Slip Crushing
Slips exert hoop compression on the drill pipe which can deform the pipe if conditions
are unfavorable. A unit tensile stress St from hanging weight will result in a hoop stress
Sh that is a function of many factors such as slip length, coefficient of friction between
slips and bowl, pipe diameter and others. The slip crushing constant is defined for a given
set of conditions as the ratio Sh/St. Slip crushing constants for a variety of conditions are
listed in Table (6).
Table (6)
SLIP CRUSHING CONSTANTS
Slip Coefficient Pipe Size-Inches
Length of 2-3/8 2-7/8 3-1/2 4 4-1/2 5 5-1/2
In Friction Minimum Ratio Sh.St
12 0.06 1.27 1.34 1.43 1.50 1.58 1.66 1.73
0.08 1.25 1.31 1.39 1.45 1.52 1.59 1.66
0.10 1.22 1.28 1.35 1.41 1.47 1.54 1.60
0.12 1.21 1.26 1.32 1.38 1.43 1.49 1.55
0.14 1.19 1.24 1.30 1.34 1.40 1.45 1.50
16 0.06 1.20 1.24 1.30 1.36 1.41 1.47 1.52
0.08 1.18 1.22 1.28 1.32 1.37 1.42 1.47
0.10 1.16 1.20 1.25 1.29 1.34 1.38 1.43
0.12 1.15 1.18 1.23 1.27 1.31 1.35 1.39
0.14 1.14 1.17 1.21 1.25 1.28 1.32 1.36

A coefficient of friction of 0.08 between slips and bowl is normally used. If the pipe is
not stuck, the maximum tension carried by the slips is the working load, Pw, which is the
buoyed weight of the drill pipe and BHA. In order to prevent any deformation of the
pipe, the working load Pw times the crushing constant should be less than 0.8Y, or

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

Sh
x Pw 0.8Y ..................................................(9)
St

Example

Will the slips cause any deformation of DP in the previous two examples. Assume
coefficient of friction of 0.08 and slip length of 16 in.

Solution

a) When drilling at 7000 ft the buoyed weight of the drill string is,
Air Buoyed
Section Length, ft Weight, lb Weight, ft

BHA 1200 150,000 128,400


5 19.5# G 5800 130,268 111,509

239,909

From Table (6), the crushing constant for 5 DP and 16 slip length is 1.42
Substituting in Eq (9),

0.8Y 239,909 x 1.42


443,066 340,670

Therefore, there will be no deformation to the pipe.

b) With the bit at 15,000 ft the buoyed weight of the drill string is as follows:

Buoyed
Section Length, ft AirWeight, lb Weight, lb

BHA 1200 150,000 122,250


5 19.5 G pipe 12,063 270,934 220,812
5 19.5 S pipe 1737 40,645 33,126

15,000 461,579 376,188

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

At 15000 ft the drill pipe that will be in the slips is the grade S pipe whose yield
strength, Y, is 712,070 lb.

Substituting in Eq (9),

0.8(712,070) 1.42 x 376,188


569,656 534,186
Therefore, there will be no damage to the 5 grade S pipe.

c) When the bit becomes stuck at 14000 ft, the grade S drill pipe will be inside the slips.
From the previous example, the maximum allowable pull was calculated to be 460,311
lb. Substituting in Eq (9),

0.8(712,070) 1.42 x 460,311


569,656 653641

Since the above equality is not true, then the pipe will be deformed if it is set in the slips
with 460,311 lb of tensile force exerted on it. Normally, when pull is applied to release
stuck drill pipe, the pipe is not set in the slips and, therefore, no damage will occur to it.

If it is required to have the DP set in the slips, how much maximum pull can be exerted
without deforming the pipe?

From Eq (9),
0.8 x 712,070 = 1.42 x P
569,656
P= = 401166
, lb
142
.

Collapse Pressure

The drill pipe may at certain times be subjected to external pressure which is higher than
the internal pressure. This condition usually occurs during drill stem testing and may
collapse the drill pipe. The differential pressure (external pressure minus internal
pressure) required to produce collapse is calculated for various sizes and grades of new
and used drill pipe and is presented in API RP7G Tables (3), (5) and (7). Collapse
pressure ratings for new drill pipe are presented in Table (7). The tabulated collapse
pressure ratings must be divided by a safety factor in order to establish the allowable
collapse pressure.

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Pc
= Pac ...........................................................(10)
S. F.
where,
Pc = theoretical collapse pressure rating from tables, psi
Pac = allowable collapse pressure, psi
S.F. = safety factor = 1.1 to 1.2

If the drill pipe is subjected to an axial tensile load, the collapse pressure ratings from the
tables must be derated. The effective collapse corrected for tension load can be calculated
from the equation,

Nominal Collapse ( 4 3Z 2 Z )
Effective Collapse = ...............(11)
2

Tension Load, lb
where, Z =
Area of Metal x Ave Yield Strength

The average yield strength of various grades of drill pipe are:

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

Grade Average Yield Strength, psi

E 85,000
X 110,000
G 120,000
S 145,000

Table (7)
New Drill Pipe Collapse and Internal Pressure Data
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
Nom
Weight
Size Thds & Collapse Pressure Based on Internal Pressure at
OD Couplings Minimum Values, psi Minimum Yield Strength. psi
in. lb. E 95 105 135 E 95 105 135
2-3/8 4.85 11040. 13984. 15456. 19035. 10500. 13300. 14700. 18900.
6.65 15599. 19759. 21839. 28079. 15474. 19600. 21663. 27853.

2-7/8 6.85 10467. 12940. 14020. 17034. 9907. 12548. 13869. 17832.
10.40 16509. 20911. 23112. 29716. 16526. 20933. 23137. 29747.

3-1/2 9.50 10001. 12077. 13055. 15748. 9525. 12065. 13335. 17145.
13.30 14113. 17877. 19758. 25404. 13800. 17480. 19320. 24840.
15.50 16774. 21247. 23484. 30194. 16838. 21328. 23573. 30308.

4 11.85 8381. 9978. 10708. 12618. 8597. 10889. 12036. 15474.


14.00 11354. 14382. 15896. 20141. 10828. 13716. 15159. 19491.
15.70 12896. 16335. 18055. 23213. 12469. 15794. 17456. 22444.

4-1/2 13.75 7173. 8412. 8956. 10283. 7904. 10012. 11066. 14228.
16.60 10392. 12765. 13825. 16773. 9829. 12450. 13761. 17693.
20.00 12964. 16421. 18149. 23335. 12542. 15886. 17558. 22575.
22.82 14815. 18765. 20741. 26667. 14583. 18472. 20417. 26250.

5 16.25 6938. 8108. 8616. 9831. 7770. 9842. 10878. 13986.


19.50 9962. 12026. 12999. 15672. 9503. 12037. 13304. 17105.
25.60 13500. 17100. 18900. 24300. 13125. 16625. 18375. 23625.

5-1/2 19.20 6039. 6942. 7313. 8093. 7255. 9189. 10156. 13058.
21.90 8413. 10019. 10753. 12679. 8615. 10912. 12061. 15507.
24.70 10464. 12933. 14013. 17023. 9903. 12544. 13865. 17826.

6-5/8 25.20 4788, 5321. 5500. 6036. 6538. 8281. 9153. 11768.
27.70 5894. 6755. 7103. 7813. 7172. 9084. 10040. 12909.
Note: Calculations are based on formulas in API Bulletin 5C3.

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

Example

A drill stem test is conducted using 5 19.5# grade G drill pipe and a packer set at
13000 ft. The DP-casing annulus has a surface pressure of 3000 psi and is filled with 90
pcf mud. The DP has 3000 ft of water cushion above the packer. The DP at 13000 ft has a
tensile load of 50,000 lb. Will the DP
collapse at 13000 ft? Use a S.F. of 3000
1.125. psi

Solution air

First calculate the differential pressure 90 pcf


at 13000 ft. 10,000'
mud

External Pressure at 13000 ft =


water
Hydrostatic Pressure + Surface
Packer
Pressure. at
External Pressure at 13000 ft = 13000'
90
x 13000 + 3000 = 11125
, psi
144

62.4
Internal Pressure at 13000 ft = x (13000 10000) = 1299 psi
144

Differential Pressure (collapse load) at 13000 ft = 11125-1299 = 9826 psi.

From Table (7), the collapse pressure rating of 5 19.5 G pipe = 12999 psi.
Since the DP is under tension, then we have to derate the collapse pressure rating by
using Eq (11).

Z= Tensile Load, lb
Area of metal x Avg. Yield Strength, psi

Area of Metal =
314
.
4
(
52 4.276 2 ) = 5.27in 2

Ave Yield Strength = 120,000 psi


Tensile load = 50,000 lb

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CHAPTER DRILL STRING DESIGN

50,000
Z= = 0.079
5.27 x 120,000

From Eq (11),

Nominal Collapse
Effective Collapse = 4 3Z 2 Z
2
12999
= 4 3 x 0.079 2 0.079 = 12,455 psi
2

12455
The allowable collapse = = 11071 psi
1125
.

Since the collapse load 9826 psi is less than the allowable collapse, then the drill pipe
will not collapse.

Burst Pressure
The differential pressure acting across the drill pipe wall due to an internal pressure
greater than the external pressure is known as the burst load. The maximum burst load
normally occurs at the depth where there is no external pressure, or backup. This
normally occurs at the surface just below the wellhead where there is often no surface
pressure. Burst pressure rating for various sizes and grades of new drill pipe are shown in
Table (7). As in the case of the collapse pressure, a safety factor of 1.125 must be used
to determine the maximum allowable burst load.

Example

A well is to be acidized by using 5 19.5# G drill pipe and bottom hole packer set at
13000. The 15% HCl (67 pcf) will be pumped at maximum surface pressure of 8000 psi.
The DP-casing annulus is filled with 90 pcf mud.
a) Determine the worst burst load.
b) Will the drill pipe burst?

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Solution
a) Burst load at 13000 ft = Internal pressure - External pressure
67
Internal Pressure = x 13000 + 8000 = 14,048 psi
144

90
External Pressure = x 13000 = 8125 psi
144
8000 psi
Burst load = 14048 - 8125 = 5923 psi
Now let us calculate the burst load at the surface.
Acid
Burst load = DP Surface Pressure - Surface
annular pressure = 8000 - 0 = 8000 psi. 90 pcf
mud
Since 8000 psi is greater than 5923 psi, the worst
burst load is at the surface.
Packer 13000'
b) The burst rating of 5 19.5# G drill pipe from
Table (7) is 13304 psi
13304
The allowable burst pressure = = 11825 psi
1125
.

Since the burst load of 8000 psi is less than the allowable burst of 11825 psi, then the
drill pipe will not burst.

Torsional Strength of Tool Joints


Most standard tool joints are weaker in torsion than the drill pipe tubes to which they are
welded. API sets tool joint torsional strength arbitrarily at 80 percent of tube torsional
strength. This torsional strength ratio (TSR) of 0.8 is the basis for establishing tool
joints IDs and ODs. As the tool joint OD wears the torsional strength decreases. Tool
joints with TSRs less then 0.8 are used successfully in low torsion drilling, and some
high torsion drilling applications require tool joint torsional ratings higher than the
standard TSR of 0.8. The torsional strengths of tool joints of various dimensions are
given in Tables (8) and (9) of API RP7G. Tool joints for 4-1/2 and 5 grade E drill
pipe are shown in Table (3).

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Tool joints are made up by applying sufficient makeup torque to force the pin and box
shoulder tightly together and make a seal. This is accomplished when makeup stretches
the pin and compresses the box shoulder as shown in Fig (7). Makeup torque is
determined by the tool joint OD and ID and not by the properties and dimensions of the
drill pipe tube. For a given pin ID the makeup torque increases as the tool joint OD
increases. Similarly, for a given tool joint OD the makeup torque decreases as the pin ID
increases. The standard makeup torque is the torque that would stress the weaker pin or
box to 60% of its minimum yield strength of 72,000 psi. (Minimum yield strength of all
tool joints is 120,000 psi regardless of the grade of the drill pipe). Recommended
makeup torque of tool joints can be obtained from Figs 1-25 in API RP7G.
Recommended torques for various selected sizes of NC -50 tool joints are shown in
Table(5). Tool joints should be selected such that the makeup torque exceeds the
maximum torsional load anticipated during drilling operations.

Fig. (7) Makeup puts elastic stretch in pin and box

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Table 5
Tool Joint Make-up Torque
For NC-50 Connection, ft-1b

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
OD(in.)
6- /8
5
6- /16
9
6- 6-7/16 6-3/8 6-5/16 6- 6-3/16 6-1/16 6
ID (in.)
2-3/4 38040 36170 34190 32240 30290 28370 26500 24660 21020 19240
2-7/8 36400 36170 34190 32240 30290 28370 26500 24660 21020 19240
3 34680 34590 34190 32240 30290 28370 26500 24660 21020 19240
3-1/16 33800 33710 33630 32240 30290 28370 26500 24660 21020 19240
3-1/8 32890 32810 32720 32240 30290 28370 26500 24660 21020 19240
3-1/4 31020 30950 30870 30790 30290 28370 26500 24660 21020 19240
3-3/8 29090 29020 28940 28870 28790 28370 26500 24660 21020 19240
3-1/2 27080 27010 26940 26870 26800 26740 26500 24660 21020 19240
3-5/8 24990 24930 24870 24800 24740 24680 24620 24550 21020 19240
3-3/4 22840 22780 22720 22660 22610 22550 22490 22430 21020 19240

Note: Box-weak connections are shown in bold type

Example

A 5 19.5 # grade E drill pipe with 6-5/16 OD x 3-3/4 ID NC-50 tool joints will be
used to drill a horizontal well where the anticipated torque is 20,000 ft.-lb.

a- Are the tool joint ID and OD adequate for the job?


b- How much tool joint wear can be tolerated?

Solution

a) From Table (5) the recommended makeup torque of NC-50 6-5/16 OD x 3-3/4 ID
tool joint is 22550 ft-lb. Since the anticipated torsion of 20,000 ft-lb is less than the
makeup torque then the tool joint dimensions are adequate.

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b) From Table (5) the makeup torque of 6-1/16 OD x 3-3/4 ID tool joint is 21020 ft-
lb which is higher than the anticipated torque of 20,000 ft-lb. If the OD of the tool
joint wears down to 6 OD, the makeup torque drops to 19240 ft-lb which is
unacceptable as it is less than the
anticipated torque. Therefore, the
smallest OD that can be tolerated is
6-1/16 or a wear of about .

If the predicted torque is higher than the


makeup torque, the torsional capacity of
the tool joint can be increased by
increasing the makeup torque. Higher
makeup torque will increase the pin
neck tensile stress and therefore reduce
the pin neck capacity to carry external
tensile load. The engineer should make
sure that the pin tensile capacity is at
least equal to the drill pipe tensile
capacity. The relationship between the
pin neck tensile capacity and makeup
torque for NC50 connection for various
pin IDs is shown in Fig (7a). The
horizontal lines represent the tensile
capacity of premium class drill pipe tube
(under no torsion loads) being used with
the tool joint.

Example

A 3-1/4 ID, 6.5 OD, NC50 tool joint


is being used with 5 19.5# grade S
premium class drill pipe. You anticipate
high operating torque and you wish to
Fig (7a) increase the makeup torque to 34,000 ft-
Failure of a rotary shouldered lb. Can you do this and still have a tool
connection under static loads (top). joint stronger for externally applied
Measurement points (center). tension than the drill pipe tube?
Example problem (bottom)

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Solution

Tensile capacity of grade S DP = 560,000 (Fig 7a).


Normal makeup torque of tool joint = 30870 ft-lb.
Connection tensile capacity at normal makeup torque = 625, 000 lb (Fig 7a)
New makeup torque = 34,000 ft-lb
New connection tensile capacity = 500,000 (Fig 7a)

So the new tensile capacity of tool joint is now weaker than that of the drill pipe. Now
the tensile loads should be limited to less than 500,000 lb.

Torsional Strength of Drill Pipe


The torsional strength of drill pipe becomes critical when drilling deviated or horizontal
holes or when pipe is stuck. Torsional strength of various sizes and grades of new drill
pipe are listed in Table (8). The actual torque applied to the drill pipe during drilling is
difficult to measure, but may be approximated by the following equation,
HP x 5250
T= ...................................................(12)
RPM
where,
T = torque delivered to DP, ft-lb
HP = horse power used to produce rotation of pipe, hp
RPM = revolutions per minute

The torque applied to DP while drilling should not exceed the tool joint make up torque
listed in API RP7G Table (10).

If a tensile load is exerted on the drill pipe, the torsional strength values in Table (8) must
be derated. The torsional yield strength under tension may be calculated from the
following equation,

0.09616 J P2
Q= Y2 ...........................................(13)
OD A2

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where.
Q = minimum torsional yield strength, ft-lb

J = polar moment of inertia =


314
.
32
(
OD 4 ID 4 ) OD = outside diameter, in

ID = inside diameter, in Y = minimum yield strength, psi


P = tensile load, lbs A = metal cross section area, in2

Example

A well is being drilled using 12000 ft of 5 19.5# G drill pipe and BHA which weighs
150,000 lb in air. The weight on bit is 60,000 lb and the mud weight is 90 pcf. What is
the maximum torque that can be applied to the drill pipe at surface? Use a safety factor of
1.2.

Solution

First calculate the tensile load exerted on the drill pipe at surface.

489 90
Buoyancy factor = = 0.815
489

Buoyed weight of DP = 12000 x 22.46 x 0.815 = 219,915 lb


Buoyed weight of BHA = 150,000 x 0.815 = 122,250 lb
Tensile load at surface = 219,915 + 122,250 - 60,000 = 282,165 lb

Now, calculate the minimum torsional strength.

J=
314
.
32
( )
54 4.276 4 = 28.5

A=
314
.
4
( )
52 4.276 2 = 5.27 in 2

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Table (8)
New Drill Pipe Torsional and Tensile Data
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
Nom.
Weight
Size Thds & Torsional Data Tensile Data Based on Minimum Values
OD Couplings Torsional Yield Strength, ft-lb Load at the Minimum Yield Strength, lb:
in. lb. E 95 105 135 E 95 105 135
2-3/8 4.85 4763. 6033. 6668. 8574. 97817. 123902. 136944. 176071.
6.65 6250. 7917. 8751. 11251. 138214. 175072. 193500. 248786.

2-7/8 6.85 8083. 10238. 11316. 14549. 135902. 172143. 190263. 244624.
10.40 11554. 14635. 16176. 20798. 214344. 271503. 300082. 385820.

3-1/2 9.50 14146. 17918. 19805. 25463. 194264. 246068. 271970. 349676.
13.30 18551. 23498. 25972. 33392. 271569. 343988. 380197. 488825.
15.50 21086. 26708. 29520. 37954. 322775. 408848. 451885. 580995.

4 11.85 19474. 24668. 27264. 35054. 230755. 292290. 323057. 415360.


14.00 23288. 29498. 32603. 41918. 285359. 361454. 399502. 513646.
15.70 25810. 32692. 36134. 46458. 324118. 410550. 453765. 583413.

4-1/2 13.75 25907. 32816. 36270. 46633. 270034. 342043. 378047. 486061.
16.60 30807. 39022. 43130. 55453. 330558. 418707. 462781. 595004.
20.00 36091. 46741. 51661. 66421. 412358. 522320. 577301. 742244.
22.82 40912. 51821. 57276. 73641. 471239. 596903 659734. 848230.

5 16.25 35044. 44389. 49062. 63079. 328073. 415559. 459302. 590531.


19.50 41167. 52144. 57633. 74100. 395595. 501087. 553833. 712070.
25.60 52257. 66192. 73159. 94062. 530144. 671515. 742201. 954259.

5-1/2 19.20 44074. 55826. 61703. 79332. 372181. 471429. 521053. 669925.
21.90 50710. 64233. 70944. 91278. 437116. 553681. 611963. 786809.
24.70 56574. 71660. 79204. 101833. 497222. 629814. 696111. 894999.

6-5/8 25.20 70580, 89402. 98812. 127044. 489464. 619988. 685250. 881035.
27.70 76295. 96640. 106813. 137330. 534199. 676651. 747877. 961556.

From Eq (13),
0.09616 x 28.5 282,1652
Q= 105,000 2
= 49,507, ft - lb
5 5.27 2
49507
Allowable torque = = 41,256 ft - lb
1.2

The combined load capacity of the tool joint should be checked, as it may be weaker than
the drill pipe. Refer to API RP7G Tables 8,9 and 10.

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Fig (7b) Effect of Torsion on Tensile Strength

The effect of torsion on the tensile capacity of 5 19.5 lb/ft premium class drill pipe of
different grades is shown in Fig (7b). The graph is constructed by using Eq (13) using
adjusted OD for premium class pipe.

DRILL COLLARS

Drill collars are large diameter-small bore steel pipes which posses great weight and
great stiffness. Drill collars are run above the bit and make up the predominant
component of the bottom hole assembly. Some of the functions of drill collars are:

provide weight on the bit


minimize bit stability problems from vibrations, wobbling and jumping
minimize directional control problems by providing stiffness to the BHA.

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Drill collar sizes range from 3 to 12 OD in increments of 1/4. The inside diameter
varies from 1 to 3-1/4. The weight per foot can be obtained from published tables or
calculated by using a steel density of 489 lb per ft3. The length of a drill collar joint is
normally about 30 ft.

Example
Calculate the weight of a 9 OD x 3 ID x 30 ft long drill collar.

Solution
The area of metal cross section =
314
.
4 x 144
( )
9 2 32 ft 2 = 0.392 ft 2

The volume of 1 ft = area x length = 0.392 x 1 = 0.392 ft3


Weight of 1 ft = density x volume = 489 x 0.392 = 192 lb
Weight of one joint = 192 lb/ft x 30 ft = 5760 lb

Collar Size Selection

Woods and Lubinski pointed out that using an unstabilized bit and small OD drill collars
can cause an undersized hole, making it difficult to run casing. They determined that the
actual drift, or useful diameter, of the hole would be equal to the bit diameter plus the
drill collar diameter, divided by two,
Bit OD + Collar OD
Drift diameter =
2

The above equation can be rewritten to determine the minimum drill collar OD which
would insure passage of casing with its larger coupling diameter. Substituting casing
coupling diameter for drift diameter,
Bit OD + Collar OD
casing coupling OD =
2
or,
Minimum Collar OD = 2 (Casing Coupling OD) - Bit OD ....... (14)

Table (9)

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Minimum Drill Collar Sizes


Bit Size, In. Casing to be run Minimum drill
Size, In. Coupling OD collar diam In.
6-1/8 4-1/2 5.000 *3.875
6-1/4 4-1/2 5.000 *3.750
6-3/4 4-1/2 5.000 *3.250
7-7/8 4-1/2 5.000 *2.125
5-1/2 6.050 4.225
8-3/8 5-1/2 6.050 *3.725
6-5/8 7.390 6.405
8-1/2 6-5/8 7.390 6.280
7 7.656 6.812
8-3/4 6-5/8 7.390 6.030
7 7.656 6.562
9-1/2 7 7.656 5.812
7-5/8 8.500 7.500
9-7/8 7 7.656 5.437
7-5/8 8.500 7.125
10-5/8 7-5/8 8.500 6.375
8-5/8 9.625 8.625
11 8-5/8 9.625 8.250
12-1/4 9-5/8 10.625 9.000
12-1/4 10-3/4 11.750 11.250
13-3/4 10-3/4 11.750 9.750
14-3/4 11-3/4 12.750 10.750
17-1/2 13-3/8 14.375 11.250
20 16 17.000 14.000
24 18-5/8 19.750 15.500
26 20 21.000 16.000
*minimum drill collar size satisfies the equation but a larger size drill collar would be recommended

Table (9) lists the sizes of drill collars recommended for popular hole sizes. It should be
noted that the collar sizes in Table (9) are the minimum sizes, and larger sizes are
preferable. As a general rule, the largest drill collars that can be washed over and fished
out should be selected. Table (10) lists the largest drill collar sizes that can be washed

over and fished out. Large drill collars are preferred because fewer drill collars and less
tripping time would be required. Also, large drill collars are stiffer and have less
tendency to buckle or bend. This characteristic promotes even load distribution on the bit
for better bit performance and lessens hole deviation problems. The stiffness of pipe is
related to its moment of inertia,
I=
314
.
64
( )
OD 4 ID 4 .. ............................................(15)

It can be seen that the stiffness is proportional to the fourth power of the pipe diameter.

Example

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Compare the stiffness of 9 x 3 and 6.5 x 2.25 drill collars

Solution
Moment of inertia for the 9 x 3 drill collar is,

I=
314
.
64
(
9 4 34 ) = 318

Moment of inertia for 6.5 x 2.25 drill collar is,

I=
314
.
64
(
6.54 2.254 = 86 )
Note that by increasing the drill collar OD by a factor of 1.38, the stiffness increased by a
factor of 3.69. In other words, if the 9 in diameter drill collar is deflected 1 in under a
certain load, the 6.5 in diameter drill collar would deflect 3.69 in under the same load.

Weight On Bit Calculations


As was mentioned earlier, one of the functions of drill collars is to provide weight on the
bit. The number of drill collars that are required to provide a desired weight on bit is
usually based on buckling considerations in the BHA. There are two methods for
calculating the required number of drill collars; the buoyancy factor method and the
pressure area method.

The buoyancy factor method ensures that buckling is restricted to the drill collars and
no buckling occurs in the heavy-weight drill pipe (HWDP) or drill pipe above the
drill

collars. Buckling is a problem that must be avoided at all times. Buckling in HWDP or
DP induces stresses in the pipe which will cause premature pipe fatigue and pipe failure.
The required collar length to provide a desired weight on bit can be calculated as follows,
WOB x SF
Lc = .................................................(16)
BF x Wc x COS
where,
WOB = desired weight on bit, lb
SF = safety factor (1.1-1.15)
BF = buoyancy factor
Wc = drill collar weight in air, lb/ft
= maximum hole angle at BHA, degrees

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Table (10)
Minimum Drill Collar Sizes that
Can Be Caught with Overshot and/or
Washed Over with Washpipe
Hole Overshot Washpipe Maximum fish OD
size, In. Size, In. Max. Size, In Max. fish to catch and/or
catch, In OD, In washover, In.
6-1/8 *5-3/4 5-1/8 5-1/2 4-3/4 4-3/4
6-1/4 *5-3/4 5-1/8 5-3/4 4-7/8 4-7/8
6-3/4 *6-3/8 5-1/4 6 5-1/8 5-1/8
7-7/8 *7-3/8 6-1/4 7-3/8 6-1/2 6-1/4
8-3/8 *7-7/8 6-3/4 7-5/8 6-3/4 6-3/4
8-1/2 *8 6-7/8 7-5/8 6-3/4 6-3/4
8-3/4 *8-1/4 7-1/8 8-1/8 7-1/8 7-1/8
9-1/2 *9 7-7/8 9 8 7-7/8
9-7/8 *9-1/8 8 9 8 8
10-5/8 *9-3/4 8-5/8 9-5/8 8-1/2 8-1/2
11 10-1/2 8-7/8 10-3/4 9-5/8 8-7/8
12-1/4 11-3/4 10-1/8 11-3/4 10-1/2 10-1/8
13-3/4 12-3/4 11-1/4 12-3/4 11-1/2 11-1/4
14-3/4 13-3/4 12 13-3/8 12 12
17-1/2 15-1/8 13-3/8 26 14-1/2 13-3/8
20 16-3/4 14-3/4 18-5/8 17-3/8 14-3/4
24 20-1/4 16-3/4 21 19-1/2 16-3/4
26 24-3/4 22 21 19-1/2 19-1/2
*Overshots are not full strength and are limited in pulling, torsional and jarring strain.
Note: Some sizes of Overshots and Washpipe may not be available.

As we will see later, the drill collar length calculated by Eq (16) is not enough to provide
all the desired weight on the bit, and, therefore, the remainder of the weight will be
provided by the HWDP or DP above the drill collars.

Lubinski defined the buckling neutral point as the point in the drill collar string below
which the pipe is buckled or will have a tendency to buckle, and above which no
buckling will occur. The buckling neutral point should not be confused with the axial
stress neutral point, the point where the axial stress is equal to zero (compressive and
tensile stresses are zero). The buckling neutral point is calculated by the following
equation,
WOB
Buckling Neutral Point = ...................................(17)
BF x Wc

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Equation (17) states that no buckling occurs above the drill collars as long as the weight
on the bit does not exceed the buoyed weight of the drill collars.

It can be seen from Eq (16) that the buoyancy factor method considers only forces related
to weight on bit and the weight of the drill collars and does not take into account the
hydraulic forces acting on the bottom end of the drill collars and on the shoulder areas
between the drill collar and the HWDP or DP as shown in Fig (10). The hydraulic forces
are a result of the hydrostatic pressure of the mud and are computed by multiplying the
hydrostatic pressure times the respective section area. In some cases it may be necessary
to calculate the axial stress in the drill string or locate the axial stress neutral point. When
axial stress must be determined, all forces acting on the BHA must be considered
including the hydrostatic forces.
F T

HWDP
W 1
L F T
H

F 1
P 1

W 2
W 2

L L C
DC C

P 2

F 2
WOB WOB F 2

Fig
Fig(8)
(8) Fig
Fig (9)
(9)

To determine the axial stresses in the HWDP


above the drill collars, consider the free body Mud
diagram in Fig (8). The BHA in Fig (8) DP
F
consists of drill collars of length LC and 3

HWDP of length LH. The hydraulic force HW DP

acting on the cross sectional area between the F1


DC and HWDP is denoted by F1. The hydraulic
force acting on the bottom of the drill collars is DC
denoted by F2. The weight on bit WOB acts on F2
the formation, but since for every action there
is a reaction equal in magnitude, there will be a Fig (10)
reaction force equal to WOB acting upward on Fig (10)

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the bottom end of the drill collars. The total weights of the HWDP and DC are denoted
by W1 and W2 respectively. The tensile force acting at the cut off point in the HWDP is
denoted by FT. Now for the system to be in static equilibrium, the forces acting upward
must be equal to the forces acting downward, or
FT + WOB + F2 = W1 + W2 + F1 ..................................(18)
If we define,
W1 = LH WH
W2 = LC WC
F1 = P1 (A2-A1)
F2 = P2 A2

Substituting in Eq (18) and solving for FT,


FT = LH WH + LC WC + P1 (A2 - A1) - P2 A2 - WOB .................(19)
where,
WH = weight in air of HWDP, lb/ft
WC = weight in air of drill collars, lb/ft
LH = length of HWDP, ft
LC = length of drill collars, ft
P1 = hydrostatic pressure at top of drill collars, psi
P2 = hydrostatic pressure at bottom of drill collars, psi
A1 = steel cross sectional area for HWDP, in2
A2 = steel cross section area for drill collars, in2
FT = tensile force, lb

It should be noted that FT is assumed to be a tensile force. If the magnitude of FT is


negative then it is a compressive force.

To determine the axial stresses in the drill collars consider the free body diagram in Fig
(9). Note that in this case there is no hydrostatic force acting on the top of the drill collars
because there is no change in diameter (no shoulder area). Adding the forces gives,

FT + WOB + F2 = W2

FT + WOB + A2 P2 = LC WC
Solving for FT,
FT = LCWC - WOB - A2P2 ..........................................(20)

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Example
A vertical Khuff well is drilled to 7600 ft with a mud weight of 103 pcf and WOB of
70,000 lb utilizing 10 OD x 3 ID drill collars and 5-1/2 OD x 3.375 ID 62.7 lb/ft
HWDP.

a) Calculate the length of drill collars required to provide 70,000 lbs WOB using the
buoyancy factor method. Assume safety factor of 1.1.

b) Determine the position of the buckling neutral point.

c) Which parts of the BHA will buckle when weight is applied on the bit?

d) Determine the axial stress 2 ft below the top of the drill collars.
e) Determine the axial neutral point.

Solution
a) WOB = 70,000 lb
489 103
BF = = 0.789
489
WC =
314
.
4 x 144
( )
10 2 32 x 489 = 242.6 lb / ft

SF = 1.1
cos = cos (0) = 1.0

From Eq (16),
70,000 x 11
.
Length of drill collars = = 402.3 ft
0.789 x 242.6 x 10
.
402.3
or 14 drill collars
30

WOB 70,000
b) Buckling neutral point = = = 365.7 ft
BF x Wc 0.789 x 242.6

The buckling neutral point is 365.7 ft from bottom end of drill collars or 36.6 ft
below the top of the drill collars.

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c) All pipe below the buckling neutral point will buckle, i.e., the bottom 365 ft of the
drill collars will buckle. The top 36.6 ft of the drill collars and all the HWDP will
not buckle because they are above the buckling neutral point.

d) Since we need to calculate the axial stress in the drill collars below the cross over
between the drill collar and HWDP then Eq (20) must be used.
LC = 402.3 - 2 = 400.3 ft
WC = 242.6 lb/ft
WOB = 70,000 lb
A2 =
314
.
4
( )
10 2 32 = 7143
. in 2

103
P2 = x 7600 = 5436 psi
144

Substituting in Eq (20),
FT = 400.3 x 242.6 - 70,000 - 71.43 x 5436 = - 361,180 lb

Since FT is negative then the axial force is a compressive force. This means that the
drill collars are all in compression.

e) Since the drill collars are in compression, the point of zero axial stress must be in
the HWDP. The axial neutral point can be calculated by using Eq (19) and setting
the value of FT equal to zero, or

0 = LHWH + LCWC + P1(A2 - A1) - P2A2 - WOB

Solving for LH,


P2 A2 + WOB LcWc P1 ( A2 A1 )
LH =
WH

Refer to Fig (11).


P2 = 5436 psi
103
P1 = x 7197.7 = 5148 psi
144
LC = 402.3 ft
WC = 242.6 lb/ft
A2 = 71.43 in2

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A1 =
314
.
4
(
55. 2 3375
. 2 ) = 14.8 in 2

WH = 62.7 lb/ft

F1 = P1(A2-A1) = 5148(71.43 - 14.8) = 291,531 lb


F2 = P2A2 = 5436 x 71.43 = 388,293 lb

Substitution in the equation above,


5436 x 71.43 + 70000 - 402.3 x 242.6 - 5148(71.43 - 14.8)
LH = = 1103 ft
62.7
This means that the axial neutral point is 1103 ft above the F =0
top of drill collars. In other words, the bottom 1103 ft of T

HWDP will be in compression when weight is applied on


the bit. All HWDP and DP above the axial neutral point
LH
will be in tension.
P1 F1
In the previous example we have seen that the drill collars and 7197

1103 ft of HWDP are all in compression when weight is applied


on the bit. It was also shown that the drill collars are buckled 402.3

but the HWDP has no tendency to buckle. The function of the


drill collars is to provide weight on the bit and, therefore, they P2
7600
are expected to be buckled and in compression. However, the F2
WOB
questions that arise are if the WOB is provided by the drill
collars, why 1103 ft of HWDP above the bit are in Fig
Fig(11)
(11)
compression? and if they are in compression why arent they
buckled?

To answer the first question let us go back to the Buoyancy Factor method and Eq (16)
which was used to calculate the length of the drill collars. This simple equation considers
only the mechanical forces acting on the BHA, namely, the WOB and the weight of the
drill collars, and does not take into account the hydraulic forces F1 and F2. In order to
analyze the problem correctly, both the mechanical and the hydraulic forces should be
taken into account. Referring to Fig (11), the forces that contribute weight to the bit are
the forces that are acting downward, namely, F1 and the weight of drill collars LCWC. In
the previous example F1 = 291,531 lb and the weight of drill collars is 402.3 x 242.6 or
97,598 lb for a total of 389,129 lb. The force F2(388,293 lb) acts upward and cancels out
some of the downward force. So the net force acting downward is 389,129 - 388,293 or
836 lb. It is obvious that the available weight of 836 lb is much less than the desired
weight on bit (70,000 lb).

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So when the driller slacks off 70,000 lb weight on the bit, where does the remaining
69,164 lb (70,000-836) come from? The answer is that they come from the HWDP or DP
directly above the drill collars. The length of HWDP required to provide 69164 lb of
weight is 69164 divided by 62.7 lb/ft or 1103 ft, which is equal to the length of HWDP
that is in compression. Therefore, the answer to the first question is that the HWDP is in
compression because it is providing some (or most) of the weight on the bit. The fraction
of the total WOB that is provided by the HWDP depends on the total depth and mud
weight. The fraction of the WOB contributed by the HWDP or DP above the drill collars
increases as well depth and mud weight increase, and visa versa.

Normally, if an axial compressive force is exerted at the end of a pipe, the pipe tends to
buckle or bend. In the previous example the HWDP is under compression but we said it
is not buckled because it is above the buckling neutral point. So how can we have a pipe
under compression but not buckled? Lubinski has shown that buckling of drill strings can
be induced only by mechanical compressive forces and that hydraulic compressive
forces do not cause buckling (the reader is cautioned that this applies only to drill string
assemblies and does not apply to tubing strings landed into bottom hole production
packers). In the previous example if there were no hydraulic forces F1 and F2, the weight
of the drill collars would have been more than enough to provide 70,000 lb on the bit,
and the HWDP would have been in tension. What caused the HWDP to be in
compression are the hydraulic forces F1 and F2, and these forces do not cause buckling.
The drill collars are buckled because of the reaction force WOB acting upward on the
bottom end of the drill collars. This force is a mechanical force and causes buckling.

Example
4000 psi
A 7000 ft string of open ended 5 19.5# (ID =
4.276) drill pipe is run in a cased well filled F2
with 90 pcf mud. The BOP was closed on the
DP at the surface and 4000 psi surface pressure
was applied in the DP.

a) Calculate the forces acting on the drill pipe.

b) Calculate the axial neutral point. 90 pcf mud

c) Does the drill pipe has a tendency to buckle? 7000' F1

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Solution

a) There are two hydraulic forces acting on the DP. A compressive force (F1) is acting
upward on the bottom end and an upward tensile force (F2) acting on the top of the
DP.
F1 = P1 A1
90
P1 = x 7000 + 4000 = 8375 psi
144
A1 =
314
.
4
( )
52 4.276 2 = 5.27 in 2

F1 = 8375 x 5.27 = 44,136 lb


F2 = P2 A2
A2 =
314
.
4
( )
4.276 2 = 14.35 in 2

P2 = 4000 psi
F2 = 4000 x 14.35 = 57,412 lb

b) Take a free body diagram of the drill


pipe as shown on the right. The forces FT
Axial neutral point
acting on the system are the weight of
the drill pipe W, the compressive force
F1 and the tensile force FT. To be in
equilibrium the upward forces must W
L
equal the downward forces, or
FT + F1 = W
Since the axial stress is zero at the axial
F1
neutral point, then FT = 0 or
F1 = W = L x WH,
Substituting for F1 and WH

44136 = L x 22.46
L = 1965 ft
The axial neutral point is 1965 ft above the bottom end of the DP. This means that the
bottom 1965 ft of the drill pipe are in compression and the remainder is in tension.

c) The drill pipe will not buckle because the compressive force F1 acting on the bottom
end is a hydraulic force which does not cause buckling.

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Most drilling engineers and drillers use the Buoyancy Factor method and Eq (16) to
calculate the number of drill collars required to apply a desired weight on the bit. They
erroneously believe that all the weight on bit is provided by the drill collars calculated
from Eq (16) and that the DP or HWDP above the drill collars is always in tension. As
we have shown above, all these concepts are incorrect. The sources of these
misconceptions are errors and confusing statements made in some drilling books, service
company literature and drilling seminars and courses.

In summary, if the drilling engineer or driller decides to use the Buoyancy Factor
method, he must remember the following:

The number of drill collars calculated by the Buoyancy Factor method is not enough
to provide all the WOB. Some of the WOB will be provided by the DP or HWDP
directly above the drill collars. For this reason the DP or HWDP above the drill
collars will be in compression but not buckled. It is an acceptable practice to use
HWDP or DP in compression as long as it is not buckled.

The buckling neutral point is always near the top of the drill collars. The drill collars
below the neutral point will have a tendency to buckle. The drill collars and HWDP
above the neutral point will not buckle as long as the actual weight applied on the bit
while drilling does not exceed the WOB used in the calculations. If the actual WOB
exceeds the WOB used in the calculations then the number of drill collars must be
increased, otherwise, the HWDP or DP above the drill collars will buckle. DP or
HWDP should never be used in a buckled condition.

The Pressure-Area Method

Unlike the Buoyancy Factor method, the Pressure-Area method takes into account all the
forces acting on the BHA including the hydraulic forces. Consider the free body diagram
in Fig (12). A force balance yields,

F1 + W = F2 + WOB

W = F2 + WOB - F1

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HWDP

where W is the weight of drill collars, P1 F1

Substituting expressions for F1, F2 and W,

LCWC = A2P2 + WOB - P1(A2-A1)


Lc
The length of drill collars required to
provide weight on bit is, W

A2 P2 + WOB P1 ( A2 A1 ) P
Lc = ....... 21 2
Wc WOB
F2

Fig (12)

Example

Using the same data in the previous example,


a) Calculate the length of the drill collars required to provide WOB by using pressure
area method.
b) Determine the position of the buckling neutral point.
c) Which parts of the BHA will buckle when weight is applied on the bit?
d) Determine position of the axial neutral point.

Solution

a) Using Eq (21), the length of the drill collars is,

A2 P2 + WOB P1 ( A2 A1 )
LC =
WC

From the previous example,


A2P2 = 388,293 lb P1(A2-A1) = 291,531 lb
WOB = 70,000 lb WC = 242.6 lb/ft

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388,293 + 70,000 291,531


LC = = 687.4 ft
242.6

b) The buckling neutral point is calculated from Eq (17),

WOB 70,000
Buckling Neutral Point = = = 365.7 ft
Wc x BF 242.6 x 0.789

c) All drill collars below the buckling neutral point will buckle. The top 321.7 ft of drill
collars and HWDP will not buckle.
d) Consider the free body diagram on the right
FT
F T + WOB + F2 = F 1 + W F1
Neutral point
F T = 0 (neutral point)
Substituting the values of the variables,

0 + 70,000 + 388,293 = 291,531 + L x 242.6


L
W
70,000 + 388,293 291,531
Solve for L, L = = 687.3 ft
242.6

The axial neutral point is at the top of drill collars. This WOB
F
2
means that the DP or HWDP on top of drill collars is in
tension.

A comparison between the Buoyancy Factor method and the Pressure-Area method is
shown in Fig (13). It can be seen that the drill collar length calculated by the Pressure-
Area method is almost twice that calculated by the Buoyancy Factor method and,
therefore, is enough to provide all the weight on the bit. For this reason, only the drill
collars are in compression while the HWDP is in tension. The buckling neutral point is
the same in both cases. Either of the two methods can be used to calculate the length of
the drill collars. However, the Pressure-Area method has the following disadvantages:

Requires more drill collars to keep the HWDP or DP in tension. This serves no
useful purpose because whether the pipe above the buckling neutral point is in
tension or compression is irrelevant to fatigue damage, if the pipe is not buckled.

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The need to procure, transport, maintain, inspect and handle the extra drill collars
increase the cost of the drilling operation.
Adding more drill collars reduce the available overpull.
Adding more drill collars increases the weight of the drill string and the tensile
stress in the drill pipe at all depths. The increase in stress will increase the rate of
fatigue attack and reduce the life of the drill pipe.

H WD P
Ax ia l Str e s s in T ension
N e u tr a l Po in t

Ax ia l Str e s s
N e u tr a l Po in t
6913'
1103'

C ollars in
H WD P in C ompression
C ompr ession but not buckled
( N ot Buckled)

7198' 687'
Bu c k lin g
N e u tr a l Po in t

402' 365'

C ollars in
C ompr ession
and Buckled
7600'
7600'

WOB = 70,000 lb WOB = 70,000 lb

Buoyancy F actor M ethod


Pr essure Area M ethod

Fig (13)
F ig (13)

HEAVY WEIGHT DRILL PIPE

In the past, the two main components of the drill string consisted of the drill pipe and the
drill collars. The point where the relatively small OD and flexible drill pipe connects to
the large stiff drill collars is called the transition zone. Field studies have shown that
almost all of the drill pipe fatigue failures are the result of an accumulation of fatigue
damage occurring when the drill pipe joints were run in the transition zone, or were
stressed above the endurance limit in crooked holes. Downhole data has indicated that the
large change in diameter at the transition zone caused accelerated fatigue damage as a
result of the concentration of cyclic bending stress reversals in the bottom joints of the
flexible drill pipe, since the stiff drill collars bend very little from these stress reversals.
Field tests indicated that fatigue build up in the drill pipe in the transition zone is related
to the relative stiffness of the drill collar and the adjacent drill pipe. The stiffness ratio of
two sections of pipe in the drill string is expressed by the equation,

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SR =
( I / C) lower
( I / C) upper
where,
I = moment of inertia =
314
.
64
(
OD 4 ID 4 ) C = external radius =
OD
2
OD = outside diameter, in ID = inside diameter, in

The field tests showed that the higher the stiffness ratio at the transition zone the greater
the fatigue build up. Criteria for permissible stiffness ratio varies between different
operators and areas. The following maximums are typical:

For shallow or routine drilling or low failure rate experience, keep stiffness ratio
below 5.5.

For more severe drilling or for significant failure rate experience, keep SR below
3.5.

In order to reduce the stiffness ratio and increase service life of the drill pipe, heavy
weight drill pipe having the same OD as the drill pipe and a wall thickness of up to 1 in
and weight up to 78 lb/ft is used between the drill pipe and the drill collars. The number
of joints used varies between 15 to 21 joints. Use of heavy weight drill pipe offers the
following advantages:

Reduces drilling cost by eliminating drill pipe failures in the transition zone.

Significantly increases performance of small rigs through the ease of handling

Provides substantial savings in directional drilling by replacing most of the drill


collar string, reducing down hole drilling torque and drag.

reduces tendency to become differentially stuck. This is due to the fact that large
diameters are easier to stick than small diameters.

Heavy weight drill pipe normally has the same external dimensions as the regular drill
pipe. In some types of HWDP the tool joints are longer and, in some types, an extra mock
tool joint is located in the center of the joint as shown in Fig (12). Dimensions and
weights of HWDP vary for different manufacturers. Typical dimensions are shown in
Table (11).

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Fig (14) Heavyweight Drill Pipe

Table (11)

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Heavy Weight Drill Pipe Dimensions and Weights


SMITH INTERNATIONAL (DRILCO) - STANDARD
1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10
(W)
Nom. Appro Center Upset Tool Joint data
Size x ID OD Length Type ID OD Length
(in) wt/ft (in) (in) (in) (in) (in) (in)
(lbs)
3-1/2 26.7 2-1/4 4 24 NC38 2-3/8 4-3/4 25/23
4-1/2 45.0 2-3/4 5 24 NC46 2-7/8 6-1/4 25/23
5 53.7 3 5-1/2 24 NC50 3-1/16 6-1/2 25/23
5-1/2 62.7 3-3/8 6 24 5-1/2FH 3-1/2 7 25/23
6-5/8 76.3 4-1/2 7-1/8 24 6-5/8FH 4-1/4 8 25/23

BOTTOM HOLE ASSEMBLY

The bottom hole assembly (BHA) is the part of the drill string below the drill pipe. It
consists of several types of components or tools which provide different functions. The
most common components of the BHA are drill collars, stabilizers, shock absorbing subs,
jars, reamers, heavy weight drill pipe and the bit. The drill collars and HWDP were
discussed in the previous sections, and the remaining components are described
individually below. This section provides the reader with a general understanding of the
concepts involved and how certain assemblies will react under average conditions. It is
the responsibility of the drilling engineer to apply these concepts to his own particular
case and gain practical experience to continue improving the selection of BHAs in his
area of concern.

The purpose of the BHA is to drill a usable hole economically. This objective is achieved
with the proper selection of the drill bit and drill collars which are required to provide
high bit weights to improve the penetration rate. Stabilizers are needed to minimize the
rate of hole angle change and prevent the formation of doglegs and key seats. Shock
absorber play an important part to prolong the service life of the bit and drill pipe. Down
hole drilling jars may be needed to unstick the BHA.

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Fig (15)

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Stabilizers

Stabilizers are used to centralize the drill collars in the hole and increase its rigidity or
stiffness. This increases the ability of the drill collars to drill a smooth and straight hole
and reduces the undesirable bit movement, such as bit wobble, which reduces bit life.
Stabilizers also provide some reaming action and wipe the walls of the hole to ensure a
full-gauge hole. There are several types of stabilizers which are described below.

The most common type of stabilizers is the steel body spiral stabilizer. These stabilizers
shown in Fig (15) have wings or blades that are an integral part of the stabilizer body.
The blades make a 360o contact with the well bore. The outer surfaces of the blades are
curved to fit the curvature of the well bore wall. This bearing surface provides bore hole
wall contact and permits the stabilizers to hold the drill collar assembly centered in the
hole. The outer surface of the blades are covered with hard metal such as tungsten
carbide to resist erosion. The stabilization efficiency of the stabilizer increases as the OD
of the stabilizer blades approaches bit diameter. For 6 through 12-1/4 holes sizes the
blade diameter is equal to the bit diameter or 1/32 under gauge. For 13-3/4 through 17-
1/2 hole sizes the blade diameter is equal to bit diameter or 1/16 under gauge. When
the spiral blade stabilizer becomes worn, the bearing surfaces are built up by welding on
a layer of hard metal that is then machined to the correct OD. The length and width of the
blades depend on hole size and type of formation. For 14-3/4 to 26 hole sizes the blade
length varies from 18 to 36, whereas for 6 to 12-1/4 holes sizes the blade length is
about 12. Large blade areas are needed to provide adequate support in soft formations.
Thicker blades increase the torque and are harder to mill over if the stabilizer becomes
stuck.

There are two types of spiral blade stabilizers: the integral blade stabilizer and the
replaceable sleeve stabilizer. The blades of the integral blade stabilize are an integral
part of the stabilizer body. Whenever the stabilizer has worn down to an unacceptable
condition the entire stabilizer is sent to the shop for reconditioning. This stabilizer is
sturdier than the replaceable sleeve stabilizer and is suitable for hard and abrasive
formations. The replaceable sleeve stabilizer consists of the mandrel and the spiral
sleeve. When the blades wear out, the sleeve can easily be detached from the mandrel at
the rig and replaced with a reconditioned or new sleeve. Saudi Aramco uses both types of
stabilizers; the integral blade stabilizer is used in the small hole sizes whereas the sleeve
stabilizer is used in large holes.

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The replaceable wear pad (RWP) stabilizer shown in Fig (16) consists of four 3 ft long
vertical (straight) replaceable pads. Large diameter, pressed-in tungsten carbide compacts
on the surface of the pad prolong wear and keep the stabilizer in gauge. The long pads
provide large contact area which make the stabilizer suitable for areas of extreme
deviation tendencies. The wear pads can be changed easily at the rig. The stabilizer may
be resized to a different hole size by replacing the pads with a set that has been
manufactured to a different diameter.

Fig (16) Fig (17)

The RWP stabilizer is good for deviation control. However, the RWP stabilizer is
difficult to wash over because of the inserts used and it generates higher torque than the
spiral stabilizer because of its longer pad length. The RWP stabilizer is not used in Saudi
Aramco drilling operations.

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A third type of stabilizers is the non-rotating stabilizer shown in Fig (17). It consists of
a mandrel and a polyurethane stabilizer sleeve which is
free to rotate on the mandrel

Since the polyurethane stabilizer sleeve does not rotate


during drilling (only the mandrel rotates), the non-rotating
stabilizer is used for reducing drilling torque by
employing the ease of rotation between the polished
mandrel and the polyurethane sleeve. Its use is most
common in the very large hole sizes where the use of
spiral steel stabilizers would generate excess torque. Non
rotating stabilizers are rarely used as near bit stabilizers
because their radial stiffness is no more than the drill bit
itself. Rather, they are used two or three collars above the
bit.

Advantages of the non-rotating stabilizer are low cost and


low torque and drag. The disadvantages include low radial
stiffness, rapid wear and tearing of the urethane pads and
inability to ream undergauge holes. The non-rotating
stabilizers are used in Saudi Aramco to stabilize the drill
string in large hole sizes.

Reamers
The basic function of the reamer is to open an under-
gauge hole to its original full-gauge size. Most reamers
today have roller cutters which are free to rotate on their
own axes. A three-point reamer has three roller cutters
spaced 120o apart on the reamer body as shown in Fig
(18). A six-point reamer has two rows of roller cutters and
are staggered such that the six rollers are spaced around
the reamer body 60o apart. Various types of cutters are
available, ranging from mill-toothed cutters, flat faced
cutter from medium to hard formations and tungsten
3 PT. Reamer 6 PT. Reamer

Fig (18)

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Reamers are often run as a near bit stabilizer. Stabilizers may cause excessive torque due
to the dragging action of the blades. Roller reamers prevent this action. If roller reamers
are used as a stabilizer in a packed-hole assembly, hard cutters should be used to ensure
that they maintain full gauge.

Shock Absorbers
Shock absorbers are used between the bit and drill collars to reduce the vertical
oscillation (bouncing) of the drill string. Field studies have shown that the frequency of
the oscillations was consistently three oscillations per revolution with a three cone bit. It
is believed that the bit does not drill the bottom of the hole evenly (completely flat) with
a resulting condition of high and low places, the number of high and low places being the
same as the number of cutters on the bit. The peak-to-peak amplitude is approximately
0.5 inch. This bottom hole condition could account for the three oscillations per
revolution when drilling with a three cone bit.

Fig (19)

The studies show that the placement of a shock absorber between the bit and the drill
collars can almost completely eliminate the vertical oscillations as shown in Fig (19).
Vertical bouncing causes fluctuations in the bit load which has adverse effect on bit
footage. Field tests have shown that the use of shock absorbers increases the bit footage
(bit life). The use of the shock absorbers has also shown substantial reduction in drill
collar connection failures in hard formations by dampening the high fluctuating
buckling

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loads imposed by bit vibrations. Unfortunately, shock absorbers are prone to mechanical
failure due to the complexity of the device and the fact that it cannot be made as strong as
the drill collars.

For maximum effectiveness, the shock tool should be placed immediately above the bit to
minimize the amount of unsprung mass below the tool. It is important that the tool is
placed in a position where it is exposed to minimum side loading or bending stress.
Ideally, the tool should have the same degree of stabilization at both ends to minimize
buckling.

The principle of operation of a Griffith shock absorber can be explained with the aid of
Fig (20). Vibrations from the bit cause the shaft to move down inside the mandrel and
compress the spring (compression stroke). Some of the vibration force will not be
transmitted to the drill string above the tool because some of that force has been stored as
energy in the spring, thus reducing the shock or impact on the drill string. As the shaft
moves up (expansion stroke) the oil below the spring support between the shaft and
mandrel is forced to flow through a small restriction to the upper chamber. The flow of
oil generates high pressure drop which is converted to heat, thus dissipating some of the
vibration energy into heat.
D r ill C o lla r

S h a ft

S p ri n g

S p rin g S u p p o r t
O uter M an dr e l

O il

O -r in g
Seal
attac hed
to s haf t

D r i l l C o l l ar

(b ) (a )
E xpa nti on S tr oke C om pr e s s i on s tr oke

F i Fig
g (2(20)
0)
S cSchematic
he m a ti c of
o faaGriffith
G ri ffi th S ho Absorber
Shock c k A b s o rb e r

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Jarring Devices

Jars are placed in the BHA to generate upward or downward impact loads to free stuck
pipe or release a fish. There are many factors which affect the decision of when to use
jars and where to position them for maximum benefit. Jars should be used when:

there are sloughing formations in a given area or at a particular depth.


there are sensitive swelling shales.
the mud system used does not have good suspension properties to
suspend cuttings..
There is costly equipment in the bottom hole assembly, such as monel
drill collars, downhole motor or MWD tools that need to be recovered.

Jars can be run in compression or tension according to manufacturer recommendation,


but never at the axial neutral point. To be of most benefit, the jars should be positioned in
the BHA a small distance above the point where sticking is likely to occur. If the jars are
placed far above the stuck point, some of the jarring action is wasted in stretching the
pipe between the jars and stuck point . Jars are rendered useless if they become stuck or
are placed below the stuck point. Prediction of the location of the stuck point is not
straight forward and depends on the types of formations drilled, wellbore conditions and
drillers experience in the area. For example, if a BHA with three stabilizers is used to
drill sloughing shale, it is likely that the shale will slough and pack around all three
stabilizers. In this case the jars are often placed above the top stabilizer. Usually, few
drill collars are placed above the jars to achieve effective jarring force on the drill collars
below the jars. If differential sticking is likely to occur, all drill collars could become
stuck. In this case, it would be advantageous to place the jars in the HWDP above the
drill collars.

The most common type of hydraulic jars operates on a time delay sequence wherein
hydraulic fluid is metered through a small opening for the initial extension of the
mandrel. After moving a small distance over several minutes, the fluid opening size
increases dramatically and the jar opens unrestrained. Finally, when the jar has reached
the end of its stroke a tremendous jolt is achieved by rapidly decelerating the collars and
drill pipe above the jars that had built speed during the unrestrained portion of the
opening cycle. The magnitude of the jars impact depends on the tension applied to the
jars when they are fired.

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The time required for a hydraulic jar to fire depends on the type of hydraulic fluid used,
the size of the metering hole and the temperature of the hole. Repeated firing of jars
generally increases the hydraulic fluid temperature and, therefore, lowers the viscosity of
the fluid and the time required for firing to occur to a point where the jar becomes
useless.

The principle of operation of the jar can be Seal


explained with the aid of the schematic diagram Anvil
in Fig (21). When the drill string is pulled, the oil oil Hammer
piston moves up inside the housing and forces Mandrel
the hydraulic oil to move down through the oil Housing
small annular clearance between the piston and Piston
the housing which restrains the movement of the
piston. It takes several minutes for the piston to oil
move out of the small diameter housing. Once
the piston moves into the larger ID area, the
piston velocity increases dramatically, and when
the hammer hits the anvil a tremendous jolt is
achieved. The magnitude of the impact is Fig (21)
directly proportional to the amount of tensile
pull applied on the jars before firing.

Mechanical Jars

Another common type of jars are mechanically operated ones. These are preset at surface
or in the shop to fire at a given tension. While they do not allow various jarring tensions,
there is no time delay present as in the case of hydraulic jars. To increase or decrease the
jarring tension, the jars must be tripped to surface, in other words the string must become
unstuck.

BOTTOM HOLE ASSEMBLY DESIGN

As was mentioned earlier, the purpose of the bottom hole assembly is to drill a useful
vertical hole with full gauge, smooth bore and free of doglegs and ledges. The simplest
bottom hole assembly is the slick assembly which consists of a bit and drill collars and no
stabilizers as shown in Fig (22). In the vicinity of the bit, the string does not contact the
wall of the hole. At some distance above the bit, the string contacts the wall. Above the
point of contact the string lies on the low side of the hole. With no weight on the bit,
the

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only force acting on the bit is the force F which


is the weight of the portion of the string between
the bit and the point of contact. This force can
be resolved into two components, F cost I along
I
the centerline of the hole and F sin I
Point of tangency perpendicular to the hole axis. The force
component F sin I is a beneficial force because
it tends to bring the hole toward vertical. The
Active D.C.
Length F sin I
second force acting on the BHA is the weight on
I bit W, which can be resolved into components
F cos I W1 and W2 . The force component W2 is
F
responsible for hole deviation and its magnitude
increases with increasing clearance between
Drill collar axis
W2
Hole axis drill collars and hole and with increases in
W1 weight on bit. The magnitude and direction of
W the resultant hole deviation is dependent on the
Fig (22) difference between W2 and F sin I.

The major source of natural hole deviation is formation characteristics. Laminated


structures composed of alternating soft and hard bands can cause hole deviation. Practical
experience has shown that laminated dipping formations cause hole deviation. When the
dip angle is less than 45o, the bit tends to drill up dip. When the dip angle is greater than
45o, the bit tends to drill down dip.

In general there are three types of bottom hole assemblies: slick, pendulum and packed
BHA. The slick BHA consists of a bit and drill collars without stabilizers. This BHA is
suitable for formations which have mild crooked hole tendencies. Slick bottom hole
assemblies are seldom used.

The pendulum BHA is used primarily to reduce or maintain hole deviation. The
pendulum technique relies on the force of gravity to deflect the hole to vertical. The force
of gravity, F sin I in Fig (22), is related to the length of drill collars between the drill bit
and the point of tangency. The along-hole component of the force F is F cos I, which
attempts to maintain the present hole direction.

The pendulum BHA consists of a bit, several drill collars to provide the pendulum force
and one or more stabilizers. Lubinski presented charts for determining the location of the
first stabilizer from the bit and the weight that can be applied on the bit to maintain

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present hole deviation. It was found that the


best position of the stabilizer is as high as
possible provided the collars below stabilizer
do not contact or barely contact the wall of
Stabilizer the hole as shown in Fig (23). The optimum
position of the stabilizer depends upon the size
of the collars, size of hole, hole
Drill inclination and weight on bit. If the weight on
Collars
bit obtained from the graphs is maintained
constant, the hole deviation will not change. If
the weight on bit is increased, the hole angle
will increase and the opposite is true.
One Stabilizer The main disadvantage of the pendulum BHA
is that the stabilizer must be placed within a
Two Stabilizers
few feet of a definite position obtained from
Pendulum Assemblies the charts. Also, if there is a need to change
(After Wilson, 1979) the weight on bit the BHA must be pulled out
Fig. (23) to change the position of the stabilizer.

The packed bottom hole assembly relies on the 3


principle that two points will contact and follow a 2

sharp curve, while three points will follow a 2 2


straight line as shown in Fig (24). A three-point
1
stabilization is obtained by placing three or more
stabilizers in the portion of the hole immediately 1
1
above the bit. There are three different types of
packed BHA:

1. Mild Crooked Hole Packed BHA The packed BHA results from the
A typical BHA is shown in Fig (25a). This is basic idea that three points cannot
contact and form a curved hole.
used for formations which have mild crooked Fig. (24)
hole tendency that produce little or no
deviation such as hard and isotropic rocks. The three-point stabilization is provided at
Zone-1, immediately above the bit, at Zone 2, immediately above a short, large OD
drill collar; and at Zone 3, on top of a standard length drill collar. This type of BHA is
commonly used in Saudi Aramco drilling operations. If a vibration dampener (shock
absorber) is required, it should be placed at Zone-2 for maximum effectiveness.

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2. Medium Crooked Hole Packed BHA.


This BHA is used for formations which have medium crooked hole tendency such as
medium and soft formations. In this type of BHA a second stabilizer is included at
Zone-1 in order to provide increased bit stabilization against deviation effects of the
formation.

3. Severe Crooked Hole Packed BHA


This type of BHA is used for drilling formations which have severe crooked hole
tendency such as medium and soft formations which show a great degree of dipping,
fracturing and variation in strength. In this type of BHA three stabilizers are included
in Zone-1.

Stabilizer

Zone III
Stabilizer 30 ft Drill Collar

30 ft Drill Collar Vibration Dampener,


or Shock-Sub
Stabilizer
Vibration Dampener,
or Shock-Sub
Zone II
Stabilizer Short Drill Collar

Short Drill Collar Stabilizer

Zone I Stabilizer or Reamer Stabilizer or Reamer

(a) (b) (c)

Fig (25)
Packed Hole Assembly for (a) Mild, (b) Medium,
(c) Severe, Crooked Hole Tendencies, (After Wilson, 1979)

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FATIGUE DAMAGE
Most drill pipe failures are a result of fatigue damage. Drill pipe will suffer fatigue when
it is rotated in a section of hole in which there is a change of hole angle and/or direction,
commonly called a dogleg. The amount of fatigue damage depends upon the tensile load

in the pipe at the dogleg, the severity of the dogleg and the dimension and properties of
the pipe. Since tension in the pipe is critical, a shallow dogleg in a deep hole often
becomes a source of difficulty. Rotating off bottom is not a good practice since additional
tensile load results from the suspended drill collars.

Lubinski and Nicholson have published methods of calculating forces on tool joints and
conditions for fatigue to occur. Curves are published in API RP7G to determine the
maximum permissible dogleg severity above which fatigue damage will occur for a given
tensile load below the dogleg. The curves are based on the following equations,
432,000 b tanh( KL )
C= .....................................(22)
314
. ED KL

T
K=
EI

where,
C = maximum permissible dogleg severity, deg/100 ft
E = Youngs modulus, psi (30 x 106 for steel).
D = OD of pipe, in
L = half the distance between tool joints, 180 in for 30 ft joint.
T = buoyant weight suspended below the dogleg, lb
b = maximum permissible bending stress, psi
I = moment of inertia =
314
.
64
(
D4 d4 )
d = drill pipe ID, in

Equation (22) holds true for range 2 pipe only.

The maximum permissible bending stress, b, is calculated from the buoyant tensile
stress t,
T
t = ..........................................................(23)
A

where,

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A = cross sectional area of pipe body, in2

For Grade E drill pipe,


10 0.6
b = 19500 t 2 (t 33500) 2 .....................(24)
67 ( 670)
Eq (24) holds true for values of t up to 67,000 psi.
For Grade S drill pipe,
t
b = 2000 1 ......................................(25)
145000

If doglegs of sufficient magnitude are present, it is good practice to string ream the
dogleg area. This reduces the severity of the hole angle change and reduces fatigue.
Corrosive conditions have detrimental effect on the fatigue life of drill pipe. In corrosive
environment, the dogleg severity calculated from Eq (22) should be reduced to a fraction
of the calculated value (0.6 for very severe corrosive condition). The fatigue life of steel
drill pipe may be increased by maintaining a mud pH of 9.5 or higher.

Example
A 5 19.5# Grade E, R-2 drill pipe and 600 ft of 9 x 2.5 drill collars are used to drill a
well at 11,600 ft. A dogleg developed at 3,000 ft. What is the maximum dogleg severity
that can be allowed at 3,000 ft to avoid fatigue damage?
Drill pipe ID = 4.276 in
Mud weight = 80 pcf
Actual drill pipe weight = 22.6 lb/ft
Weight on bit = 60,000 lb
Weight of collars = 200 lb/ft

Solution
489 80
Buoyancy factor = = 0.836
489
The tensile load at the dogleg = [(11,000 - 3000) 22.6 + 600 x 200] 0.836 - 60,000

T = 191,468 lb

A=
314
.
4
(
52 4.276 2 ) = 5.27 in 2

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191,468
t = = 36,318 psi
5.27

10 0.6 2
b = 19,500 - (36,318) - 2 (36,318 - 33,500) = 19,500 - 5420 - 10.6 = 14,069 psi
67 ( 670 )

I=
314
.
64
(
54 4.276 4 ) = 14.26
T 191,468
K = = = 0.0211
EI 30 x 10 6 x 14.26

KL = 0.0211 x 180 = 3.80

e kl e kl 44.7 0.0223 44.677


tanh KL = kl
= = = 0..9989
e kl
+e 44.7 + 0.0223 44.722

From Eq (22),
432000 14069 0.9989
C= 6
x = 3.4 deg / 100 ft
314
. 30 x 10 x 5 38
.

Therefore, in order to avoid fatigue damage the dogleg severity at 3000 ft should be less
than 3.4 deg/100 ft.

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DRILL STRING DESIGN FOR INCLINED AND HORIZONTAL WELLS

As was discussed in the previous sections, the drill string in vertical wells is designed so
that the mechanical weight on the bit is provided by the drill collars. The buckling neutral
point should always be below the top of the drill collars to prevent any buckling to the
DP and HWDP. The drill pipe in vertical hole should always be in tension because drill
pipe has very low resistance to buckling. A small mechanical compressive force of few
thousand pounds will buckle the drill pipe. It is common practice in drill string design
that the drill pipe should not be rotated in a buckled condition as this will cause rapid
fatigue failure.

In drilling inclined and horizontal wells there are two additional factors, which are not
present in vertical wells, that must be considered. These are
(1) the frictional forces between the drill string and the hole and
(2) the ability to use the drill pipe or HWDP to provide weight on the bit without
buckling.
Because of the hole geometry some or all of the weight of the drill string in inclined or
horizontal wells is exerted on the low side of the hole. This will create a frictional force
or drag between the drill string and the hole that will require additional force or pull to
move the drill string up or down the hole. The frictional force will also increase the
torque that is required to rotate the drill string. The second factor that must be considered
in the design of the drill string is the fact that drill pipe can be used in compression to
provide weight on the bit. In inclined and horizontal wells the drill pipe can tolerate
significant levels of compression without buckling in small-diameter holes. The reason
that the drill pipe in inclined holes is so resistant to buckling is that the hole is
constraining and supporting the pipe throughout its length. The low side of the hole
forms a trough that resists even a slight displacement of the pipe from its initial straight
configuration. The effect of gravity and the curving sides of the hole form a restraint
against buckling.

Prediction of Torque and Drag


Ft
An object of weight W is resting on a horizontal plane W
as shown in Fig (26). In order to slide the object a
force Ft must be exerted to overcome the force of
friction Ff between the object and the plane surface. Ff
Fig. (26)

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The magnitude of the frictional force is

Ff = W ...................................................................................... (26)
where,
Ff = frictional force, lb
= coefficient of friction, dimensionless
W = normal force acting perpendicular to the surface, lb

Therefore, the force Ft required to slide the object should be slightly greater than Ff or,

Ft > Ff = W.............................................................................. (27)

The force Ft is called the drag force and acts in


the opposite direction of the frictional force as Ft
shown in Fig (26). The coefficient of friction is
a constant that depends on the roughness of the
object and plane surface. The value of is
determined experimentally. Fx
Now consider a section of drill pipe in a Fn
wellbore inclined at an angle as shown in Fig
Ff
(27). The buoyed weight of the drill pipe W is W
acting vertically downward and can be resolved
into two forces Fn and Fx. The force Fn is the
normal force acting perpendicular to the hole Fig. (27)
and is equal to,

Fn = W sin ............................................................................... (28)

The force Fx is the weight component acting parallel to the hole axis and is equal to,

Fx = W cos ............................................................................. (29)


The frictional or drag force Ff is the normal force times the coefficient of friction, or

Ff = Fn = W sin ............................................................... (30)

The force Ft required to move the drill pipe is determined by making a force balance,
forces acting up must equal forces acting down, or

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Ft = Fx + Ff
Ft = W cos + W sin .....................(31)

The frictional force or drag always acts in the opposite direction of the pulling force Ft. If
the drill pipe is lowered into the hole, the frictional force will act in a direction opposite
to that shown in Fig (27).

Example

A 5, 19.5# drill pipe is in a tangent section 2000 ft long inclined at an angle 60 deg from
vertical. The mud weight is 90 pcf and the coefficient of friction is 0.25.
(a) How much drag does the section of drill pipe contribute while tripping out of the
hole?
(b) What is the tension required to move the drill string up hole assuming no drag?
(c) How much tension (pull) is required to move the drill string up hole?

Solution

(a) The normal force acting perpendicular to the hole is,

Fn = W sin

490 90
Buoyancy factor = = 0.815
490
W = 2000 x 19.5 x 0.815 = 31785 lb

Fn = 31785 sin60
= 31785 x 0.866
= 27525 lb

Ff = 27525 x 0.25
= 6881 lb

(b) By doing a force balance along the wellbore axis in Fig (27),

Ft = Fx + Ff

Assuming there is no friction,

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Ff = 0, and

Ft = Fx = W cos

Ft = 2000 x 19.5 x 0.815 x cos60


= 15892 lb

(c) Ft = Fx + Ff

Fx = W cos = 15892 lb
From Eq (30)
Ff = Fn = W sin
= 2000 x 19.5 x 0.815 x 0.25 x 0.866
= 6881 lb

Ft = 15892 + 6881
= 22773 lb

The drag force expressed by Eq (30) is Ft + Ft


for straight inclined holes where the
angle of inclination and azimuth are
constant across the hole section. In a
curved section of the wellbore where
inclination and azimuth change across
the section, the calculation of the drag
force is more difficult. Fig (28) shows NET SIDE LOAD, Fn
the forces acting on a short slightly
curved element of the drill string. In
Ff
addition to the normal force from the
weight of the element, there are normal
Wcos
forces from the tension forces Ft and
Ft + Ft as a result of the change in the W
angle of inclination and the azimuth of Ft
the wellbore. The magnitude of the Fig. (28)
resultant normal force can be estimated Force balance on drillstring
by an equation presented Johancsik, element illustrating sources of
Friesen and Dawson, normal force

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[( ) + (F + W sin ) ]
1
2 2 2
Fn = Ft sin t ................................... (32)

where
Fn = resultant normal force, lb
Ft = axial tension on lower end of element, lb
= average inclination angle, degrees
= change in inclination angle, radians (1 deg = 0.0174 radians)
= change in azimuth, radians
W = buoyed weight of element, lb

( )
The first term in Eq (32) Ft sin is the normal force due to change in azimuth, the
second term Ft is the normal force due to change in angle of inclination, and the third
term W sin is the normal force due the weight of the element. If there is no change in
azimuth and angle of inclination then and are zero and Eq (32) will reduce to

Fn = W sin
which is the same as Eq (28).

Calculation of Drag

Calculation of drag across a hole of constant inclination and azimuth (tangent section) is
simple as was illustrated by the above example problem. Calculation of drag across a
curved section is more complex. The drill string is divided into small elements 100 to 50
+ ft long and the drag is calculated across each element. The total drag is the sum of the
drag across all elements.

The drag across an element is the coefficient of friction times the normal force, or

Ff = Fn ..................................................................................... (33)

Referring to Fig (28), if the tension at the bottom of the element is Ft, then the tension at
the top of the element is (by force balance),

Ft + Ft = Ft + Wcos + Fn.................................................... (34)


or,
Ft = Wcos + Fn .................................................................. (35)

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If the string is lowered in the hole, then

Ft = Wcos - Fn ................................................................... (36)

It should be noted here that is the average of the angles of inclination at the bottom
and top of the element. The value of Fn is calculated by Eq (32) for each element. in
Eq (32) is the inclination at the bottom of the element minus the inclination at the top of
the element. is calculated in a similar manner. The value of Ft + Ft for the first
element (bottom most element) becomes Ft for the second element. The calculation
process is repeated for all elements to the surface. The value of Ft + Ft for the last
element at surface will be the total tension that must be applied to move the string up
hole. The total tension is the sum of all drag forces and the weight components parallel to
the hole axis, or

(F ) + W
n n
Total tension Ft = f n cos n .......................................... (37)
n =1 n n =1

Calculation of drag forces in an inclined wellbore with curved section is illustrated by the
following example.

Example

Given:
Well bore
9-5/8 40# casing at 5000 ft
Total Depth = 10,000 ft
Hole Size = 8-1/2
Kick off Point = 5000 ft
Build Rate = 10 deg/100 ft
End of Build at = 5600 ft
Tangent Section = 5600 to 10,000
Inclination across tangent section = 60 deg
Azimuth = 0 deg north (surface to 5000 ft)
Azimuth is changed at the rate of 5 deg / 100 ft from 5000 ft to 5600 ft
Azimuth = 30 deg from 5600 ft to 10,000 ft
Mud Weight = 90 pcf
Coefficient of friction = 0.25 in open hole and 0.2 in casing

Drill String

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Drill pipe 5 OD, 5.276ID, 19.5# normal weight 20.89# adjusted weight
Drill Collars 7 OD, 2.25 ID, 117.42#, 400 ft long
With the drill string at bottom, calculate:
a) The tension at surface required to move the drill string up hole
b) Total drag force when moving string up hole
c) The hook load when the string is off bottom and not moving

Solution

The first step is to divide the drill string into small elements from bottom to top as shown
in Table (12). The drill collars are considered as one element since there is no change in
inclination or azimuth across them. The drill pipe in the tangent section from 9600
5600 is also taken as one element for the same reason. The drill pipe in the curved
section from 5600 to 5000 is divided into twelve 50-ft elements because the inclination
and azimuth change across the curved section. The last element is the vertical section
from 5000 to surface. The entries in the columns are defined as follows:
Column # 1: element sequence number
Column # 2: depth of the bottom of the element
Column # 3: element length in feet
Column # 4: angle of inclination in degrees at the bottom of the element
Column # 5: average angle of inclination across the element, or angle at bottom of
element plus angle at top of element divided by 2.
Column # 6: change in angle of inclination across the element in radians, or angle at
bottom of element minus angle at top of element. Multiply answer by
0.0174 to convert from degrees to radians.
Column # 7: azimuth at bottom of element in degrees.
Column # 8: change in azimuth in radians, or azimuth at bottom minus azimuth at
top multiplied by 0.0174.
Column # 9: buoyed weight of the element which is the weight in air times the
buoyancy factor. For drill pipe use the actual or adjusted weight per
foot.

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Column # 10: tension force Ft at the bottom of the element. In this case since the drill
string is off bottom Ft = 0 for element # 1. If the string is on bottom
then Ft is a compressive force equal to the weight on bit.
Column # 11: normal force Fn calculated by using Eq (32).
Column # 12: Ft calculated by Eq (35).
Column # 13: tension at the top of the element and is equal to the value of Col# 11
plus the value of Col# 12.

Calculations for Element # 1


Column # 1: Element #1 consists of the entire drill collars which lie across the
tangent section.
Column # 2: Depth at the bottom of drill collars is 10000 ft.
Column # 3: Length of drill collars is 400 ft.
Column # 4: Inclination at bottom of drill collars is 60 deg.
Column # 5: Average inclination is 60 deg because it is across tangent section, i.e.
inclination at bottom of drill collars is same as at top.
Column # 6: Change in inclination in zero 60-60=0
Column # 7: Azimuth at bottom of drill collars is 30 deg.
Column # 8: Change in azimuth is zero because azimuths at top and bottom of drill
collars are the same.
Column # 9: buoyed weight of drill collars
490 90
Buoyancy factor = = 0.815
490
W = 400 x 117.42 x 0.815
= 38278 lb
Column # 10: The tension at the bottom of the drill collars is zero because the drill
string is off bottom.
Column # 11: The normal force Fn is calculated by Eq (32)

Fn = (F sin ) + (F + W sin )
t
2
t
2

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= 0 + (0 + 38278 W sin 60 )
2

= 33149 lb
Column # 12: Ft is calculated by Eq (35)
Ft = Wcos + Fn
= 38278cos60 + 0.25 x 33149
= 27426 lb
Column # 13: Ft + Ft = 0 + 27426 = 27426 lb
This is the tension at the top of the drill collars which is equal to the
tension Ft at the bottom of element # 2

Calculations for Element # 2


Column # 1: This element is the bottom 4000 ft of 5 DP across the tangent section.
Column # 2: Depth of bottom end is at 9600 ft.
Column # 3: Length is 4000 ft.
Column # 4: Inclination angle across tangent section is 60 deg.
Column # 5: Average inclination angle is 60 deg.
Column # 6: No change in inclination angle.
Column # 7: Azimuth is constant at 60 deg.
Column # 8: No change in azimuth, zero
Column # 9: Weight of DP is,
W = 4000 x 20.89 x 0.815
= 68101 lb
Column # 10: This is the tension at the bottom of the element which is equal to the
tension at the top of the previous element.
Column # 11: The normal force is from Eq (32)
Fn = 0 + (0 + 68101 sin 60)
2

= 58977 lb
Column # 12: Ft from Eq (35)
Ft = Wcos + Fn

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= 68101 x cos60 + 0.25 x 58977


= 48794 lb
Column # 13: Tension at top of element is
Ft + Ft = 27426 + 48794
= 76220 lb

Calculations for Element # 3


Column # 1: This is a 50-ft element of 5 DP at the bottom of the build section. The
inclination angle at the lower end is 60 deg and at the upper end is 55
deg (build rate of 10 deg/100 or 5 deg per 50 ft). The azimuth at lower
end is 30 deg N and at upper end is 27.5 deg N (azimuth is changed at
rate of 5 deg/100 ft or 2.5 deg per 50 ft.)
Column # 2: Depth of lower end of element is 5600 end of tangent section.
Column # 3: length of element is 50 ft.
Column # 4: Inclination at bottom of element is 60 deg. Inclination at top of element
is 55 deg.
Column # 5: Average inclination is
55 + 60
= 57.5 deg
2
Column # 6: Change in inclination angle is 60-55 = 5 degrees
5 x 0.01744 = 0.0872 radians
Column # 7: Azimuth at lower end is 30 deg.
Column # 8: Change in azimuth is
Azimuth at lower end Azimuth at upper end
30 27.5 = 2.5 deg
` 2.5 x 0.01744 = 0.0436 radians
Column # 9: W = 50 x 20.89 x 0.815 = 851 lb
Column # 10: Tension at bottom of element is equal to tension at top of previous
element 76220 lb.

Fn = (76220 0.0436 sin 57.5) + (76220 0.0872 + 851 sin 57.5)


2 2
Column # 11:
= 7879 lb

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Column # 12: Ft = 851cos57.5 + 0.25 x 7879


= 2427 lb
Column # 13: Tension at top of element is
2427 + 76220 = 78647 lb
Calculations for elements 4 through 14 are done in the same manner.

Calculations for Element # 15

Column # 1: This is the last element. It is the DP in the vertical section from surface
to the kick off point at 5000 ft.
Column # 2: Depth of lower end is at 5000 ft.
Column # 3: Length is 5000 ft.
Columns # 4 through 8: All values are zero because the pipe is vertical
Column # 9: W = 5000 x 20.89 x 0.815
= 85126 lb
Column # 10: Tension at bottom end is 110427 lb

Fn = (110406 0 0) + (110406 0 + 85126 0 )


2 2
Column # 11:
=0
The normal force is zero because the pipe is vertical and is not lying on
the hole.
Column # 12: Ft = 85126 x cos0 + 0.25 x 0
= 85126 x 1.0 + 0
= 85126 lb
Column # 13: Tension at the surface is
85126 + 110427 = 195,553 lb
Therefore, it requires a pull of 195,553 lb to move the pipe uphole. The Landmark torque
and drag software (WELL PLAN) gave a value of 193, 500 lb.

b) The total drag force is the sum of all drag forces generated by all elements, or
15
Total Drag Force = F
n =1
n

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This is the sum of all normal forces times the friction coefficient. The sum of all
normal forces is obtained by adding all values of Fn in Col # 11 which is 195176 lb.
Therefore,
Total Drag = 195176 x 0.25
= 48794 lb
c) The hook load when the pipe is static is 195553 - 48794
= 146,759 lb
The hook load is also equal to
15
Hook load = W Cos
n =1
n n

Calculation of Drag with Rotation


If the drill string is moved up hole (or down hole) while being rotated as in back reaming,
the drag force is calculated by using the following equation,

T
Ff = Fn ............................................................................... (38)
V

where,
T = Trip speed, in/sec
Fn = Normal force, lb
= Coefficient of friction
V = Resultant speed = T 2 + A2
A = Angular speed, in/sec
rpm
= D x 3.14 x
60
D = Diameter, inch

Example
In the previous example, what would be the approximate total drag if the drill string was
pulled out while rotating it at 100 rpm? Assume a tripping speed of 2000 ft/hr
ft 12in 1hr
T = 2000 = 6.66 in/sec
hr ft 3600 sec

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5 3.14 100
A= = 26.16 in/sec
60

V= 26.16 2 + 6.66 2 = 26.99 in/sec

T
Drag = Fn
V
6.66
= 48794 x = 12040 lb
26.99
This shows that rotation decreases drag force.

Critical Hole Angle


When the weight component of the drill string in the direction of the hole axis is equal to
the drag force resisting downhole movement, the drill string is not able to slide down
hole by its own weight and when drilling in the sliding mode the drill string will require
pushing with pipe higher in the hole. The angle at which down hole movement becomes
impossible is called the critical hole angle, Referring to Fig (27), down hole movement
becomes impossible when

Ff = Wcos

Note that in this case Ff is acting in the opposite direction of Wcos because the
movement is downward
Wsin = Wcos
sin 1
=
cos
1
tan =

1
cr = arctan ................................................................. (39)

Where cr is the critical hole angle in degrees.

Example

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At which hole angle the drill string cannot move downward by its own weight when
drilling a tangent section where the coefficient of friction is 0.30

Solution
1
cr = arctan
0.3
= arctan 3.33
= 73.3 degrees

Calculation of Torque
The torque required to turn the drill string is calculated by the following equation,
A
Torque = Fnr ............................................................ (40)
V
where
T = Torque, ft-lb
Fn = normal force as defined by Eq (32)
r = Radius of drill string component ft (for drill collars use outer radius of collar,
for DP, HWDP and casing use outer radius of tool joint)
= Coefficient of friction
A = Angular speed as defined in Eq (38)
V = Resultant speed as defined in Eq (38)
+
If the drill string is not tripped while
rotating, then T = 0 and A is equal to V and
M + M
Equation (40) reduces to
Fn
Torque = Fnr ........................... (41)
M If the torque acting on the lower end of the
drill string element is M, then the torque
, acting at the top of the element is M + M
as shown in Fig (29). The torque increment
W
M is
Fig. (29) Torque acting on a M = Fnr ...............................(42)
drillstring element

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where Fn is the normal force exerted on the element. The torque required to turn the
entire drill string is the sum of all torque increments for all the elements. Torque
calculations are illustrated by the following example

Example
In the last example,
a) Calculate the surface torque required to turn the string off bottom with no tripping.
b) Calculate the torque while drilling. Use a bit torque of 2000 ft-lb. Drill pipe tool
joint OD is 6.625 in.

Solution
The drill string is divided into small elements as was done for calculating drag.
Calculations are tabulated in Table (13). The data in columns 10, 11 and 13 are
calculated in the same manner as was done for the drag calculations in the previous
example. For drag calculations the tension increment Ft in column 12 is calculated by
Eq (35)
Ft = Wcos + Fn
where Fn in the incremental drag caused by moving the element uphole. However, since
in this example there is no tripping, the drag increment due to uphole or downhole
movement is zero, and the tension increment Ft is
Ft = Wcos ............................................................... (43)
Column 14 is the torque at the bottom of the element. If the string is off bottom the
torque is zero. For the case of drilling the torque is the bit torque which have to be
estimated. The torque increment M in Column 15 is the torque resistance exerted by
the element and is calculated by using Eq (42). Column 16 is the torque at the top of the
element which is M + M. The torque at the top of the element ( M + M ) is the
torque at the bottom of the next element. The calculations are repeated for all elements to
the surface.

Calculations for Element # 1


Columns 2 through 11 are calculated as in the previous example.
Column # 12. is calculated by Eq (43)
Ft = 38278 x cos60
= 19139 lb

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Column # 14. The torque at bottom of element in this case is zero because the drill
string is off bottom (no bit torque)
Column # 15. Torque increment M
M = Fnr
OD of DrillCollar 7
r= = =3.5 in
2 2
3.5
= =0.2916 ft
12
M = 33149 x 0.25 x 0.2916 = 2416 ft-lb
Column # 16. Torque at top of element #1 is M + M = 0 + 2416 ft-lb = 2416 ft-lb

Calculation for element # 2


Columns # 10 and 11 are calculated in same manner as in the drag example
Column # 12: Ft = 68101 cos60
= 34050 lb
Column # 14: Torque at bottom of element # 2 is same as torque at top of element # 1
or 2416 ft-lb
Column # 15: M = Fnr
tool joint OD
r=
2
6.625
= = 3.312 in
2
3.312
= .276 ft
12
M = 58977 x 0.276 x 0.25 = 4069 ft - lb
Column # 16: Torque at top of element # 2 is
M + M = 4069 + 2416
= 6485 ft-lb
Calculations for elements 3 through 14 are done in the same manner as for element # 2.

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For element # 15 since the inclination angle is zero, the normal force Fn is zero and the
torque increment, M is also zero. In other words, drill pipe in vertical hole can be
turned with no or very little torque. So the torque at top of element # 15 (the surface) is
equal to torque at top of element #14 which is 11032 ft-lb

b) If the bit torque is 2000 ft-lb then the torque at surface is


Torque = 11032 + 2000 = 13032 ft-lb
It can be seen from the above example problems that the calculation of torque and drag
consumes large amount of time and is best done by using computer software.

Determination of Friction Coefficient


The coefficient of friction determines how much of the normal force is transformed into
drag or torque and it is an important factor in calculating torque and drag in a wellbore.
Friction coefficients can be calculated from actual drilling situations for a particular well
geometry using a computer program with drill string surface loads as input data. Input
includes pickup weight, slack-off weight and torque readings, each of which can produce
independent friction coefficient. Agreement among the three coefficients from one well
lends credibility to the model and also provides confidence in the friction coefficient for
its use in the prediction of torque and drag in subsequent wells.

To calculate the friction coefficient during tripping out of hole, the pick up load is read
from the weight indicator. The reading from the weight indicator includes the weight of
the kelly and travelling equipment. In calculating drag forces, the tension at the top of the
drill pipe below the kelly, is required. Thus, it is necessary to subtract the weights of the
traveling equipment and kelly from weight indicator reading. The tension at the top of
the drill pipe, the drill string and wellbore geometry data are entered in the computer
program. The program calculates the tension required to pick up the drill pipe by using
different coefficients of friction until the calculated tension is equal to the tension read by
the indicator. The coefficient of friction at which the calculated tension is equal to the
measured tension is the correct coefficient to use for that wellbore. To ensure accurate
results, the weight indicator must be calibrated to give accurate readings. Also accurate
weights of the traveling equipment and kelly must be known.

The friction coefficient can also be determined by measuring the torque while turning the
drill string off bottom. The torque must be in foot-pounds rather than amperes. The
coefficient of friction where the measured torque is equal to the calculated torque is the
correct coefficient for the wellbore. Most rigs are not equipped with calibrated torque

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indicators and, therefore, it is recommended to determine friction coefficients by


measuring tension.

Friction coefficients depend on the mud type and whether the hole is cased or open.
Friction coefficients from a number of similar wells must be compared to verify useful
values for prediction use. Typical ranges of friction coefficients are shown in Table (14).
Table (14 )
Coefficients of Friction

Water Based Mud Oil Based Mud


0.15 0.3 0.15 0.25
Open Hole
0.125 0.4 0.125 0.25
Cased Hole

Torque and drag arise not only from friction, but also from the effects of hole tortuosity,
cuttings accumulations, swelling shale, differential sticking, and other mechanical
impediments to drill string movement. Thus, the friction coefficient in the torque and
drag programs could more accurately be considered a drag coefficient or coefficient
factor, that is, a composite coefficient that includes all factors affecting torque and drag.
Furthermore, the drag coefficients for rotational movement, for axial movement or for a
combination of the two, will often be different, and may also vary with the direction of
movement. Finally, because these mechanical impediments to string movement
frequently change with changing hole conditions, friction coefficient will also fluctuate,
particularly for axial movement.

Factors that Affect Torque and Drag


Kick-Off Point: The kick-off point is often the major factor influencing torque and drag
in a well. This is due to the fact that shallow doglegs combined with pipe tension will
cause a high normal force, thus a high drag and torque at that point. In deep directional
wells, the kick-off point should be considered from a torque and drag standpoint, in
addition to the other factors influencing the kick-off point.

Dogleg Severity: As seen from Equation (32), the change in inclination and azimuth
influence the normal force acting on the pipe. The larger the change in either, meaning
increasing dogleg severity, the larger the normal force and the larger the increase in drag
due to that point. Smaller doglegs lead to less torque and drag.

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Mud Lubricity: Mud lubricity is a term generated from a lab test (on a specific piece of
equipment) that is intended to mimic the drill pipe/casing interaction. The lubricity is
scaled opposite the friction factor, increasing lubricity reduces the friction factor. The
measurement is a lab test, and the results do not always directly correlate with field
observations. The mud lubricity, as measured in the lab, strongly influences the friction
factor, or coefficient of friction, between the pipe and casing, or pipe and borehole, but
does not always accurately reflect the influence of the specific material, be it pipe or
formation. It is usually assumed, based on the mathematical model, that raising the mud
lubricity will generally lower torque and drag by lowering the coefficient of friction. This
is not always the case, because the source of the torque or drag may be generated by a
factor not included in the mathematical model. These factors are discussed below.

Cutting Beds: There is no provision in the mathematical model for the local influence of
cutting beds. Cuttings beds will locally change the effective coefficient of friction, and
can be modeled in that manner if the location, length and friction factor of the cuttings
bed is known. Unfortunately, these parameters continually change in the presence of a
cuttings bed. The typical technique is to deduce the presence of a cuttings bed when
unexplained trends in torque and drag develop in well. This would be seen very
practically on trip out of the hole when pick-up weight begins increasing during the trip,
rather than decreasing, then suddenly returns to the baseline trend.

Drilling Tools: Once again, there is no provision in the mathematical model for the
impact of individual drilling tools. It is not hard to imagine that the influence of a
stabilizer on drag would be much greater than that of a similar length of drill pipe or drill
collar and that the interaction of the stabilizer with the wellbore may include additional
components than does the simple model we have been working with.
Drilling tools can greatly impact torque and drag are stabilizers, drill pipe protectors, bit
type (roller cone vs. drag type), drill collars (flex vs. slick) and hard banding on drill
pipe.

Minimizing Torque & Drag


Several techniques have been developed to aid in the reduction of torque and drag in a
wellbore. Many of these are direct consequences of the mathematical model we have
studied, while others are based on field experience.

Deep Kick-off Point: By lowering the kick-off point, the tension in the pipe is lowered
and the normal force reduced. This will reduce the drag and torque generated at the point.

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Raise Mud Lubricity: As mentioned in prior section, raising the lubricity of the mud
corresponds to lowering the coefficient of friction between the pipe and casing or pipe
and bore hole. This can be accomplished by 1) changing mud type. Oil based mud
generally has a lower lubricity than does water based mud. 2) Adding a lubricant. 3)
Adding a mechanical aid to the mud, such as drilling beads or walnut hulls. Beads are
typically very expensive, but have the benefit of being environmentally safe.

Remove Cutting Beds: Quite often the presence of cuttings beds will dramatically
increase the torque and drag observed in a well. The cuttings beds can be identified by
various means, and the effect of a cutting bed can only be changed by eliminating the
bed.

Minimize DLS in Tangent Section: A smoothly drilled tangent section will help
minimize the torque and drag on a well. Because the tangent section represents the major
length of a well, cumulative DLS in this section can greatly impact the total drag and
torque generated in the well.

Soft Type Hard Banding: Tungsten carbide hard banding on drill pipe greatly increases
the effective coefficient of friction, as well as causes casing wear. Current technology for
hard banding is to apply a softer metal for hard banding, which minimizes casing wear
and drag, while still protecting tool joints.

Drill Pipe Protectors: Non-rotating drill pipe protectors have been demonstrated to
dramatically reduce torque when placed in the build section of well. These protectors
(Western Oil Tool) work by effectively reducing the normal force on the drill pipe
through the build section by providing standoff from the casing and by creating a fluid
bearing between the drill pipe and protector.

Flex Drill Collars: Flex drill collars provide standoff from the bore hole, thus
minimizing the differential sticking force on the collar. This in turn eliminates the need to
use stabilizers, which create a large amount of drag, to prevent differential sticking.
Tapered edges on the flex collars also reduce drag.

Minimize use of Stabilizers: It has been found the use of conventional stabilization
techniques are not necessary, and even detrimental, on horizontal, high angle, and
extended reach wells. Stabilizers cause a large downward drag force which reduced or
prevents transfer of weight-on-bit, thus affecting penetration rate. In addition, the
movement of stabilizers is much more of a slip/stick motion, which leads to rapid
application of weight-on-bit and subsequent stalling of a positive displacement motor.

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Calculation of Buckling

Sinusoidal Buckling in Straight Inclined Holes


When a mechanical compressive load over a critical value is applied on drill pipe, the
drill pipe will buckle. The drill pipe will first buckle into a sinusoidal wave shape as
shown in Fig (30). As the compressive force increases it will ultimately buckle into a
helix as in Fig(31).

Fig. (30) Sinusoidal snake Fig. (31) Helical buckling of pipe


buckling of pipe

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The critical mechanical compressive load at which sinusoidal buckling of pipe is


expected to occur in a straight inclined hole can be calculated from the following
equation developed by Paslay,

EIWK b sin
Fcrit = 2 ............................................................. (44)
12r

Fcrit = Critical buckling force lb


E = Youngs modulus, 30 10 6 , psi
I = Moment of inertia, in4
=
3.14
64
(OD 4 ID 4 )
OD = Outside diameter of pipe, in
ID = inside diameter of pipe, in
W = Adjusted (actual) weight of pipe in air, lb/ft
= Angle of inclination, degrees
Kb = Buoyancy factor, unitless
r = Radial clearance between pipe and hole, in (Some computer software use
clearance between tool joint OD and hole which gives higher Fcrit)

Equation (44) is used to predict the onset of buckling of pipe in a straight inclined hole.
For pipe in vertical hole the critical buckling force is,

EIW 2 K 2 b
Fcrit = 1.94 3 ............................................................ (45)
144

Example
Calculate the critical sinusoidal buckling force for 5 19.5 # drill pipe in (a) 8-1/2
vertical hole and (b) in 8-1/2 deviated hole where the angle of inclination is 60 degrees.
Mud Weight = 90 pcf
Drill pipe ID = 4.276 in4
Actual air weight = 20.89 lb/ft

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Solution

a) E = 30 106 psi

I =
64
(5 4.276 4 ) = 14.262 in4
3.14 4

EI = 14.262 x 30 106 = 4.278 108


8.5 5
r = = 1.75 in
2
490 90
Kb = =0.816
490

From Eq (45),

3 4.278 108 20.89 2 0.816 2


Fcrit = 194 = 1846 lb
144

b) From Eq (44),

4.278 10 8 20.89 0.816 sin60


Fcrit = 2
12 1.75
= 34,677 lb

It can be seen from the above example that drill pipe in vertical holes has small resistance
to buckling. The critical buckling force is so small that it is assumed to be zero. This is
the reason in vertical drilling the drill pipe should be kept in tension to prevent buckling.
The critical buckling force in the inclined hole in the above example is large (34,677 lb).
This means that it will require a compressive force of 34677 lb to buckle the drill pipe
into a sinusoidal shape. The critical buckling force increases with the angle of inclination
until it reaches a maximum at an angle of inclination of 90 deg. The reason that the drill
pipe in an inclined hole is so resistant to buckling is that the low side of the hole forms a
trough that resist even a slight displacement of the pipe from its initial straight
configuration. The effect of gravity and the curving sides of the hole form a restraint that
resists buckling. Because of its ability to withstand large mechanical compressive loads
without buckling , drill pipe and HWDP are used in compression to provide weight on bit
while drilling inclined and horizontal holes.

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Buckling in Curved Holes.

The critical buckling load in a curved wellbore of increasing angle (build section) is
always higher than that in a straight wellbore of the same inclination. Positive wellbore
curvature has a stabilizing effect on pipe in mechanical compression because
compression increases the side load of the pipe against the outside of the wellbore curve.
This is added to the stabilizing effect of the pipe weight at any angle. Therefore, a drill
string in a positive build section, being mechanically compressed from straight hole
sections above and below must buckle first in one or the other of the straight sections.
The amount of mechanical compression that a uniform string can carry without any
where buckling will be limited by the critical buckling loads in the straight sections
above and below a positive build section, not in the build section itself. In a dropping
wellbore the critical buckling load of drill pipe can be more or less than that in a straight
well bore of the same inclination angle. The critical buckling loads of pipe in a curved
wellbore can be estimated by the following equation.

In a build section of the well


2
2EIK EIK EIWK bsin
Fcrit = +2 + ............................... (46)
r r 12r
where
K = The wellbore curvature
1
= =BR in radians per inch
R
BR = Build rate in radians per inch
R = Radius of build, inch
180 degrees = pi(3.14) radians
1 degree = 0.01744 radians

In a drop section of the well,

rWK bsin
Ktest = .................................................................... (47)
12 EI

If K > Ktest then,


2
2EIK EIK EIWK bsin
Fcrit = 2 ................................ (48)
r r 12r

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If K < Ktest then


2
- 2EIK EIK EIWK bsin
Fcrit = +2 + .............................. (49)
r r 12r

Example
Calculate the critical buckling force for the 5 19.5# drill pipe in the previous example in
a build section drilled at a build rate of 5 degrees per 100 ft. Assume same angle of
inclination of 60 degrees.

Solution
Since this is a build section then Eq (46) will be used to calculate the critical buckling
force.
5 deg deg
K = BR = = 0.05
100 ft ft
0.05
= deg/inch
12
0.05
= x 0.01744 radians / inch
12
= 0.0000727 radians/inch
2
2 4.278 108 0.0000727 4.278 108 0.0000727 4.278 108 20.89 0.816 0.866
Fcrit= +2 +
1.75 1.75 12 1.75

= 3.55 10 4 + 2 3.15 108 + 3 108


= 85,128 lb

It can be seen from the above example that the critical buckling force in the build section
is 2.45 times (85128/34677) the critical force in the straight (tangent) section of the same
angle of inclination of 60 degrees. Therefore, a drill string in a wellbore which has a
build section will buckle first below the build section (below end of build) or above the
build section (above the kickoff point). So the amount of mechanical compressive force
that a drill string can carry without buckling is limited by the straight sections below and
above the build section.

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Helical Buckling
As the mechanical compressive force increases beyond the critical sinusoidal buckling
force, the tubular will take the shape of a helix as shown in Fig (31). Helical buckling
will occur at compressive loads which are 1.4 times the critical force for sinusoidal
buckling. Once the tubular takes the shape of a helix it will be forced against the wall of
the wellbore and additional drag forces will develop. The drag forces will ultimately
prevent the tubular from sliding down the wellbore. This condition is called lock-up.
Drill pipe should never be rotated when it is buckled.

Example
What is mechanical compressive force required to helically buckle 5, 19.5 # drill pipe in
8-1/2 wellbore inclined at 60 degrees?

Solution
From the previous example, the critical sinusoidal buckling force for 5 DP was
calculated to be 34,677 lb. Therefore, the force required to initiate helical buckling is
34677 x 1.4 = 48547 lb.

Bending
Bending is a point load, that is the effect of bending occurs at the point of bending, and
the stress it generates is localized. The force or stress generated by bending is additive to
the existing tensile force or stress in the tubular at the point of bending, but does not
increase the tensile force in the tubular at other points. Bending does not affect the
hookload on the drill string.

The maximum stress on the convex side of the pipe caused by bending is given by,
z = 218BRd
and the equivalent force caused by bending is,
Fb = 64 BRdW ............................................................... (50)
Where
Fb = Bending force, lb
BR = Dog leg severity or build rate, deg / 100 ft
d = Outside diameter of tubular, in
W = Weight of tubular in air, lb/ft

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The total tensile force in the pipe is the bending force plus the existing tensile force at
that point, and the sum should remain below the tensile strength of the tubular. Bending
forces become important at high build rates such as in drilling short radius horizontal
wells.

Example
A short radius sidetrack is performed in a well by using 2-7/8, 6.85 lb/ft grade E drill
pipe. The axial tensile force in the drill pipe in the build section as a result of applying
weight on bit is 10,000 lb. The maximum build rate in the build section is expected to
reach 110 degrees per 100 ft. Is it safe to use this drill pipe for drilling the short radius
hole? Tensile strength for grade E pipe is 75,000 psi, drill pipe ID= 2.441 in.

Solution
The force caused by bending in the build section is,
Fb = 64 x 110 x 2.875 x 6.85 = 138644 lb
Total axial force = 10,000 + 138644
= 148644 lb
Tensile strength of drill pipe is

Y = 75000
3.14
4
(2.8752 2.4412 )
= 135,833 lb
Since the total axial force exceeds the tensile strength of the drill pipe, the drill pipe will
fail and therefore, it is not safe to use it for drilling.

Fatigue
Most drill pipe failures are related to fatigue, and result from the cyclical forces induced
on the pipe during rotation. Fatigue implies a change in material properties with the total
number of revolutions of the drill pipe. During rotation in a dogleg, the drill pipe
experiences variable stress levels along a given circumference, and if the stress variation
is severe enough, the metallurgy of the pipe will eventually be altered.
Fatigue is not well understood, once fatigue occurs, the life of a given tubular is very
difficult to predict. Most efforts are concentrated on operating below the conditions
which cause fatigue.

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The essential factors in fatigue failure are tension in the pipe at the dogleg, dogleg
severity, and number of revolutions (cycles) made by the pipe in a given DLS and under
a given tensile load. The failure model is mathematically presented by Eq (22). The
model does not guarantee elimination of failure but it provides an engineering basis in
drill string design.

Drill String Design for High Angle and Horizontal Wellbores

The design approach in high angle and horizontal wellbores differs from the approach in
vertical wells in the following respects:
a) In high-angle holes, traditional BHA components are often eliminated. Bit
weight is likely to be applied by running normal weight drill pipe in
compression, a practice never recommended in vertical holes.
b) For a given measured depth, surface tension load from hanging weight
decreases in a high-angle hole due to wall support, but torque and drag required
to move the drill string are higher compared to vertical holes. The load limit for
the drill string will be its tensile capacity in a vertical hole, but is more likely to
be its torsional capacity in horizontal and extended reach holes.
c) In vertical wells, loads are calculated based on hanging weight. Friction effects
are often small and are traditionally ignored. In horizontal wells, friction effects
will probably be large enough that they cannot be ignored.
d) Drill string design for vertical holes is a once-through calculation. In horizontal
and ER wells, drill string design is an iterative process.

The objectives of drill string design in horizontal wells are:


1. Provide adequate weight on bit without buckling the drill pipe or heavy weight
drill pipe.
2. Ensure that the components in the drilling assembly are not subjected to
mechanical loads that exceeds their design limitation

Thus the problem is to determine where and at what bit weight the drill pipe will first
begin to buckle. If this bit weight is sufficient to drill the well, buckling can be avoided
by staying below it. If the bit weight needed causes the pipe to buckle, then heavy weight
drill pipe should be run in the buckled sections.

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Fig. (32)

As was mentioned above, the critical buckling load in a curved section is greater than that
across tangent and vertical sections. Therefore, buckling of drill pipe will initiate in the
tangent section (below the tangent point) or above the kickoff point. The maximum
weight that can be applied on the bit without buckling the drill pipe is determined in two
steps:
1. Calculate the maximum weight that can be applied on the bit without buckling
the drill pipe below the tangent point refer to Fig (32)
2. Calculate the maximum weight that can be applied on the bit without buckling
the drill pipe above the kickoff point. The lower of the two weights is the
correct weight to be used for drilling.

Maximum Weight on Bit Below Tangent Point


If the tangent angle of a curved or build section is less than horizontal, the highest
mechanical compression in the drill pipe will occur in the joint at the top of the bottom
hole assembly. A free body diagram of the drilling assembly across a tangent section is
shown in Fig (33). The force F1 is the effective weight of the HWDP and F2 is the
effective weight (along the hole axis) of the BHA. Fcrit is the critical buckling force of the
drill pipe at the top of HWDP which is equal to the maximum mechanical compressive
force that can be applied (slacked off) without buckling the drill pipe. Taking a force
balance along the hole axis,

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DF x Fcrit + F1 + F2 = Drag + WOB


Substituting for F1 and F2 Fcrit

F1 = LHWH BF cos
F2 = LBHAWBHA BF cos
HWDP
The maximum weight on bit that can be
applied without buckling the drill pipe is Drag F1

WOB < DF x Fcrit + LHWH BF cos +


LBHAWBHA BF cos Drag .(51) (51)
BHA
where
F2
Fcrit = Critical sinusoidal buckling
force, lb
DF = Design factor (0.9+) WOB
LH = length of HWDP, ft
Fig. (33)
WH = Weight of HWDP in air, lb/ft Free Body Diagram of Drilling
BF = Buoyancy factor, unitless Assembly across a Tangent
= Angle of inclination, degrees Section
LBHA = length of bottom hole assembly, ft
WBHA = Weight of BHA in air, lb/ft
WOB = Weight on bit, lb
Drag = Drag force, lb

If the hole below the tangent point is horizontal, then cos 90=0 and
WOB < DF Fcrit Drag............................................................. (52)
For sliding mode drilling the drag force is calculated as was described previously. For
rotary mode drilling, the drag force is small and is assumed to be zero.

Maximum Weight on Bit Above the Kick-off Point


A free body diagram of the drilling assembly below the kick-off point is shown in Fig
(34). The forces in the diagram are defined as follows:
F2 = Effective weight of BHA, lb
= WBHALBHA BF cos

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Fcrit
Kickoff Point

F4
DP
Tangent Point

DP
Drag
HWDP
F3 BHA
F1
F2
WOB

Fig. (34) Free Body Diagram of Drilling Assembly


below Kickoff Point

F1 = Effective weight of HWDP, lb


= WHLH BF cos
F3 = Effective weight of DP across tangent section, lb
= WDPLDP BF cos
F4 = Effective weight of DP across build section, lb
Fcrit = Critical buckling force of DP at the kickoff point, lb

Balancing the forces along the hole axis yields,


WOB < Fcrit x DF + WBHALBHA BF cos + LHWH BF cos + WDPLDP BF cos + F4-
Drag.(53)
where,
LDP = Length of DP across tangent section, ft
WDP = Weight of DP in air, lb/ft

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Since the inclination angle across the build section is not constant the value of F4 is
computed by dividing the build section into small increments and adding the effective
weights of all the increments.

n
F4 = WDPBF L
n 1
nDP cos n ....................................................................... (54)

A simpler way of calculating the effective weight of the drill pipe across the build section
is by using the following equation,
(
5729.6 sin t sin
WDPBF
)
F4= ........................................................... (55)
BR
where,
BR = Build rate, degrees per 100 ft
t = Inclination angle at tangent point (end of build), degrees.
= Inclination angle at kickoff point, degrees

Calculation of Axial Mechanical Forces


In drill string design of horizontal wells, the engineer
may want to check if the applied WOB will buckle F
the drill pipe at the top of BHA. This is
accomplished by drawing a free body diagram of the DP

BHA showing only the mechanical forces as shown


in Fig (35). The mechanical force F at any point in HWDP

the drill pipe is calculated by making a force balance. F1


BHA
It should be noted here that the force F is the Drag
mechanical force trying to buckle the drill pipe and it F2

is not the total or actual axial force. The actual axial


force is calculated by including the hydrostatic WOB
pressure forces acting on the shoulder areas as was
done in Fig (8) and Eq (19). The actual axial stress in
the drill pipe is calculated by dividing the actual Fig. (35)
force by the metal area of the drill pipe. Taking a
force balance,

F + F1 + F2 = WOB + DRAG
F1 = LHWH cos BF
F2 = LBHAWBHA cos BF

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Substituting for F1 and F2,


F= - LHWH cos BF - LBHAWBHA cos BF + WOB + DRAG

If drilling in the rotary mode, the drag force is zero. If the calculated value of F is less
than the critical buckling force Fcrit of the drill pipe, then the drill pipe will not buckle. If
F is greater than the Fcrit, then the drill pipe will buckle.

Drill String Design Summary

1. Calculate the drag forces and torque by using a computer program such as
Landmark Well Plan.
2. Calculate the sinusoidal critical buckling force below the tangent point and above
the kickoff point.
3. Calculate the maximum WOB that can be applied without buckling the DP below
the tangent point using Eq (51)
4. Calculate the maximum WOB that can be applied without buckling the DP above
the kickoff point by using Eq (53). Take the lower of the two values. If the WOB is
not sufficient then add more HWDP in the drilling assembly.
5. Calculate the actual forces on DP below the tangent point and above the kickoff
point. Include bending forces and check for fatigue if the build rate is high. If the
actual forces exceed 90% of the DP yield strength, then select a DP with higher
yield strength.
6. Check the actual torque at all depths and make sure it is less than the makeup
torque of DP

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Example
You are drilling a build and hold wellbore with the following characteristics:
Hole Geometry:
Hole size = 8-1/2 @ 8000 ft
Casing = 9-5/8 40# @ 7000 ft
Kickoff point = 5500 ft
Angle at KP = 0 Deg
Build rate = 5 deg/100 ft
Tangent point = 7000 ft
TD = 8000 ft
TVD = 6865 ft
TVD at top of BHA = 6841 ft
Tangent angle = 75 deg
Mud weight = 75 pcf

Drill String
Drilling assembly = 90 ft, 82.68 lb/ft 6 OD, 2.25 ID
HWDP = 90 ft, 49.7 lb/ft, 3 ID, 5 OD
DP = 5, 22.26#, grade E, 4.276 ID
Bit at 8000 ft

Drag Forces
BHA = 2200 lb
HWDP = 1300 lb
DP in tangent section = 5200 lb
DP in build section = 5400 lb
Buckling DF = 0.9

a) What is the maximum rotary mode bit weight that can be applied without buckling
the drill pipe?
b) What is the maximum sliding mode bit weight that can be applied without buckling
the drill pipe?
c) What is the maximum rotary mode bit weight that can be applied if the DP is to
remain in tension?
d) Calculate the actual stress in the DP at top of HWDP when applying 27431 lb
WOB in rotary mode.
e) What is the mechanical force at top of HWDP that will cause buckling?

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Solution
a) Lets first calculate by using Eq (51) the maximum WOB that will not cause
buckling above the drilling assembly.
Calculate critical buckling force by using Eq (44)
E = 30 10 6 psi

I=
64
(5 4
4.276 4 ) = 14.26 in 4

EI = 30 10 6 14.26 = 4.278 108


W = 22.26 lb/ft
8.5 5
r = = 1.75 in
2
490 75
KB = = 0.846
490
sin = sin75 = 0.965

4.278 108 22.26 0.846 0.965


Fcrit = 2
12 1.75
= 38482 lb
LHWHKBcos = 90 x 49.7 x 0.846 x 0.258 = 979.4 lb
LBHAWBHAKBcos = 90 x 82.68 x 0.846 x 0.258 = 1624 lb
Drag = 0 lb because of drilling in rotary made

From Eq (51)
0.9 x 38482 + 979.4 + 1624 0 > WOB
WOB < 37237 lb

Now lets calculate the maximum weight on bit for no DP buckling above the
kickoff point by using Eq (53)

From Eq (44)
Fcrit = 0 lb (because = 0, sin0=0)

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LHWHKBcos = 979.4 lb
LBHAWBHAKBcos = 1624 lb
LDPWDPKBcos = (8000 90 90 7000) X 22.26 X 0.846 X 0.258
= 3984 lb
F4 = effective weight of DP in build section

From Eq (55)
5729.6(sin 75 sin 0)
F4 = 22.26 x 0.846 (
5
= 20844 lb
Drag = 0 lb (rotary mode)

From Eq (53)
WOB < 0 + 1624 + 979.4 + 3984 + 20844 0
< 27431 lb

So the maximum WOB that can be applied without buckling the DP while drilling
at 8000 ft in rotary mode is the smaller of the two values or 27,431 lb.

b) To calculate the maximum WOB in the sliding mode we repeat the calculations
made in part (a) keeping in mind that the drag forces are not zero.

Maximum WOB for no DP buckling above the drilling assembly using Eq (51) is,
0.9 x 38482 + 979.4 + 1624 drag > WOB
Drag = drag of BHA + drag of HWDP
= 2200 + 1300 = 3500 lb
WOB < 33,737 lb

Maximum WOB for no DP buckling above the kickoff point is,


WOB < 1624 + 979.4 + 3984 + 20844 - drag

Drag = drag of BHA+drag of HWDP+drag of DP in tangent section+drag in build


section
= 2200 + 1300 +5200 + 5400
= 14100 lb

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WOB < 13,331 lb


The WOB is the smaller of the two values or 13,331 lb.

c) If the DP is to remain in tension, the WOB can be provided only by the effective
weights of the BHA and the HWDP
WOB < 1624 + 979.4
WOB < 2603.4 lb
It can be seen from the above example that only 2603 lb can be applied on the bit if
the DP is to remain in tension, whereas if the DP is used in compression (but below
the critical buckling force) 27, 431 lb can be applied on the bit. Applying 27,431 lb
of WOB with the DP in tension requires a very long HWDP which will increase the
cost and the torque and drag that are associated with it. Therefore, the benefit of
using DP in compression in horizontal drilling is that the BHA weight is kept low
which in turn helps reduce torque and drag.

d) Draw a free body diagram of the drilling assembly below the drill pipe. Show all
mechanical and hydrostatic pressure forces acting on the drilling assembly as
shown Fig (36).

F
DP

F1
HWDP
F4

F2
BHA
F5

F3

WOB
Fig. (36)

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The forces are:


F = The axial force on DP, unknown
F1 = hydrostatic pressure force acting at shoulder area between HWDP and DP
F2 = Hydrostatic force acting at shoulder area between HWDP and BHA
F3 = Hydrostatic force acting at bottom of BHA
F4 = Effective air weight of HWDP
F5 = Effective air weight of BHA

There are no drag forces because string is rotating.


Making a force balance yields,
F + F1 + F4 + F2 + F5 = F3 + WOB

Now determine the TVD at top of HWDP and at top of BHA


TVD at bottom = 6865 ft
TVD at top of BHA = 6865-90 x cos75 = 6841 ft
TVD at top of HWDP = 6865-180xcos75= 6818 ft

75
P1 = 6818 = 3551 psi
144
75
P2 = 6841 = 3563 psi
144
75
P3 = 6865 = 3575 psi
144

A1 =
4
(4.276 2
32 ) = 7.28in 2

A2 =
4
(6 2
2.252 )
4
(5 2
32 )

= 24.28 12.56 = 11.72 in 2



A3 =
4
(6 2
2.252 ) = 24.28in 2

F1 =P1A1 = 3551 x 7.28 = 25851 lb

F2 = P2A2 = 3563 x 11.72 =41758 lb

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F3 = P3A3 = 3575 x 24.28 = 86801 lb


F4 = 90 x 49.7 x cos75 = 1157 lb
F5 = 90 x 82.68 x cos75 = 1926 lb
WOB = 27431 lb
F = F3 + WOB F1 F2 F4 F5
= 86801+27431-25851-41758-1157-1926
= 43540 lb
Actual axial stress = F/A

A=
4
(5 2
4.276 2 ) = 5.27in 2

43540
Actual axial stress = = 8261 psi
5.27
The stress is less than the minimum compressive strength of grade E drill pipe
which is 75,000 psi.
Note:
The actual force F calculated above (43540 lb) is greater than the critical buckling
force Fcrit (38482 lb). However, this does not mean that the DP will buckle. The
reason is that the force F is a combination of mechanical forces and hydrostatic
forces. Only the mechanical component of F will cause buckling. See part (e)
below

e) Do a force balance as in part (d) but do not include the hydrostatic forces. Use
only the mechanical forces which are the effective buoyed weight of the string
and WOB.
F + F4 + F5 = WOB
F4 and F5 in this case are the effective buoyed weights of HWDP and BHA
F4 = 90 x 49.7 x cos75 x 0.846 = 979 lb
F5 = 90 x 82.68 x cos75 x 0.846 = 1629 lb
F = WOB F4-F5
= 27431 979 1629 = 24823 lb

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The mechanical force F is less than Fcrit, therefore, the DP at top of HWDP will not
buckle.

In the previous discussion it was emphasized that drill pipe can be used in
compression to provide weight on bit as long as the mechanical compressive force
is less than the critical buckling force required to initiate sinusoidal buckling (Fcrit).
Field practice has shown that drill pipe can tolerate sinusoidal buckling when there
is no rotation, that is, when drilling in the sliding mode. This means that
mechanical compressive forces up to 1.4 Fcrit, which is the force required to initiate
helical buckling in the sliding mode, can be applied on drill pipe while drilling in
the sliding mode. In rotary drilling mode the mechanical compressive force should
not exceed Fcrit. The mechanical compressive force should never exceed 1.4 Fcrit in
any drilling mode. In other words, helical buckling must be avoided at all times.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE 1

RHEOLOGICAL FLUID MODELS 2


NEWTONIAN MODEL 2
- LAMINAR AND TURBULENT 4
- PIPE FLOW OF NEWTONIAN LIQUIDS 4
REYNOLDS CRITERION 5
- LAMINAR FLOW 6
- TURBULENT FLOW 7
BINGHAM PLASTIC FLUIDS 10
- PSEUDO PLASTIC AND DILATANT FLUIDS 12
THE POWER-LAW MODEL 13
INITIATING CIRCULATION IN A WELL 18

HYDRAULIC POWER 20
PRESSURE DROP ACROSS BIT NOZZLES 20
HYDRAULIC IMPACT FORCE 21

CUTTINGS SLIP VELOCITY 23

OPTIMIZATION OF BIT HYDRAULICS 24


MAXIMUM BIT HYDRAULIC HORSEPOWER 24
MAXIMUM JET IMPACT FORCE 25
- BOTTOM HOLE CLEANING NEEDS 26
- GRAPHICAL SOLUTION 26
ON-SITE NOZZLE SELECTION 44
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Fluid mechanics is very important for the drilling engineer. Large fluid pressures are
developed in the long wellbore and drill strings by the drilling fluid. The presence of
these pressures must be considered in almost every well problem. In this chapter the
relations to determine subsurface fluid pressures are presented for
1) the static condition in which the wellbore fluid and drill pipe are at rest, and
2) the circulating operation in which fluids are pumped down the drill pipe and up the
drill pipe-hole annulus.

Some of the important drilling applications of the fundamental concepts are also
presented. These applications are
1) calculations of subsurface hydrostatic pressures,
2) pressure losses in circular pipe and annuli, and
3) bit nozzle size selection.

HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE
The hydrostatic pressure of the drilling fluid is an essential feature in maintaining control
of a well and preventing blowouts. It is defined as the static pressure of a column of fluid.
The hydrostatic pressure of a mud column is a function of the mud weight and the true
vertical depth of the well. Remember that the true vertical depth is used and not the
measured depth. The formula to calculate hydrostatic pressure in the units common for
Saudi Aramco is:
D
PH = ............................. (1)
144

where,
PH = hydrostatic pressure, psi
= mud weight, pcf
D = vertical depth, ft

Drilling operations often involve several fluid densities, pressures resulting from fluid
circulating and induced surface pressures during kick control operations. For practicality
these different pressures are put into a common descriptive system called equivalent
mud weight. This provides the same pressures in a static system with no surface
pressure.

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EMW = (total pressures 144) / true vertical depth ............. (2)


where,
EMW is equivalent mud weight in pcf and 144 is the reciprocal of 0.0069456

RHEOLOGICAL FLUID MODELS


The movement of drilling fluids in the drill string creates large frictional pressure losses
which must be evaluated by the drilling engineer in many of the drilling engineering
applications. A mathematical description of the viscous forces in a fluid is required for
the development of the frictional pressure loss equations. The rheological fluid models
used by drilling engineers to approximate fluid behavior are
1) the Newtonian model,
2) the Bingham plastic model, and
3) the power-law model.

NEWTONIAN MODEL
The fluid property responsible for frictioned drag when one layer of fluid is caused to
slide over another is called viscosity. Viscosity is defined as the ratio of the shear stress
to the resulting shearing rate. In Fig (1), the shear stress acting on the moving upper plate
is,
F
= .............................................. (3)
A

where,

F = force required to move plate at a velocity v


A = area of plate.
dv
The shearing rate caused by the shear stress is equivalent to the velocity gradient
dy
The absolute viscosity of the fluid is given by

= = .............................. (4)
dv / dy

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where,
dv
= shear rate =
dy

Fig. 1 Simple Planar Shearing of a Fluid

If the viscosity of a fluid is influenced only by temperature and pressure, the fluid is
called Newtonian. Some of the Newtonian fluids are water, gases and thin oils. For a
Newtonian fluid the ratio of shear stress to shear rate is constant, namely . A plot of
shear stress versus shear rate for a Newtonian fluid is a straight line with a slope equal to
as shown in Fig (2)

Fig. 2 Shear Stress v/s Shear Rate for Newtonian Fluid

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All fluids which do not have a direct proportionality between shear stress and shear rate
at constant temperature and pressure are classified as non-Newtonian fluids. Examples of
non-Newtonian fluids are, drilling mud, clay suspensions, cement slurries and viscous
gelled fracturing fluids. The viscosity of these fluids will vary with the magnitude of
applied shear stress.

Laminar and Turbulent Flow


Fluid flows through a conduit according to either laminar or turbulent flow. When all the
fluid particles move in straight lines parallel to the conduit axis, and adjacent layers of
fluid slip past each other with no mixing between layers, the flow pattern is called
laminar. Steady laminar flow in pipes can be visualized as a series of thin concentric
cylinders each sliding past its neighbors like the tubes of a telescope. The cylinder in
contact with the pipe wall remains stationary while the inner cylinders move
progressively faster as their diameters become smaller.

At higher average flow velocities when the fluid particles move down stream in a chaotic
motion so that voticies and eddies are formed in the fluid, the flow is called turbulent. In
turbulent flow there is no orderly shear between fluid layers but a random shearing and
impact of the fluid masses caught up in the swirls and eddies of the flow.

Pipe Flow of Newtonian Liquids


Theoretical and experimental evidence have established that within a pipe carrying a
Newtonian liquid in laminar flow, the maximum velocity of the fluid occurs at the center
of the pipe and decreases to zero at the pipe wall as shown in Fig (3). The average
velocity defined as q/A is exactly half the maximum velocity.

In turbulent flow, the velocity profile is flatter and the velocity gradient near the pipe
wall is much larger than the laminar flow profile for a corresponding value of average
velocity.

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Fig. 3 Velocity Profiles for Pipe Flow

Reynolds Criterion
The magnitude of the dimensionless Reynolds number indicates whether the pipe flow of
a Newtonian fluid is laminar or turbulent. The Reynolds number is defined by,

123.9 (dv )
NR = .................................. (5)

where,
NR = Reynolds number, dimensionless.
d = diameter of pipe, in.
v = velocity, ft/sec.
= fluid density, pcf
= viscosity, cp

When the Reynolds number exceeds the critical value of approximately 2100 in round
pipes, turbulent flow starts, while for lower values of NR the flow is laminar.

Example
Water is circulated down 3.5 drill pipe (ID= 2.76). Calculate the maximum pumping
rate in bbl/min that will maintain laminar flow.

Solution

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d = 2.76 in
= 62 pcf
= 1 cp
NR = 2000

For laminar flow the Reynolds number should not exceed 2100,

123 .9 2 .76 62 v
2100 =
1

Solving for v,
2100
v= = 0 .099 ft / sec
123 .9 ( 2 .76 ) 62

( 2 . 76 ) 2
Flow rate = Av = 0 . 099
4 144

= 0.0041 ft3/sec

0.0041 60
= = 0.04 bbl / min
5.61

Laminar Flow
The frictional losses (pressure loss) in laminar Newtonian flow in circular pipes can be
calculated from the equation,
Lv
= .......................... (6)
1500 d 2

Equation (4) is expressed to accept the practical engineering units:

P = pressure loss, psi.


L = length, ft.

= viscosity, cp

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v = average velocity, ft/sec.


d = diameter, in.

For annular flow, the pressure loss of Newtonian liquids is expressed in practical
engineering units by the equation,

Lv
= ............................... (7)
1000 ( d 2 d 1 ) 2

where,
d2 = inside diameter of outer pipe, in
d1 = outside diameter of inner pipe, in

Turbulent Flow
The pressure loss of Newtonian fluids in pipe is calculated by using the Fanning
equation,

fL v 2
= ................................... (8)
193 d

where f is the Fanning friction factor which depends on the Reynolds number and
surface condition of the pipe. The value of f can be obtained from the plot shown in Fig
(4).

The pressure loss of a Newtonian fluid in an annulus is calculated by the equation

fL v 2
= ................................................ (9)
193 d e

where,
de = equivalent diameter = 0.816 (d2-d1)

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The Reynolds number for an annulus is calculated from the equation


123 .9 v d e
NR = ..................................... (10)

The annular velocity is expressed


q
v= ........................................ (11)
2.448( d 22 d 12 )

Example
A workover rig is circulating brine in the tubing-casing annulus at a rate of 200 gpm.
Calculate the pressure loss in 1000 ft of annulus using the following data:

Brine density = 66 pcf


Brine viscosity = 0.8 cp
Casing ID = 4.892 in
Tubing OD = 2.375 in

Solution

de = 0.816(d2-d1) = (4.892 - 2.375) 0.816


= 2.053 in

200
Annular velocity = = 4 .4 6 ft / sec.
2 .4 4 8 ( 4 .8 9 2 2 2 .3 7 5 2 )

123.9(66)( 4.46)(2.05 3)
NR = = 93594 (turbulent )
0.8

From Fig (4) (with de = 2.05 in)


f = 0.005

From Eq.(9)

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0 . 0050 1000 66 4 . 46 2
= = 16 . 5 psi
193 2 . 053

BINGHAM PLASTIC FLUIDS


The Bingham plastic flow model was proposed by E.C. Bingham and is described by the
flow curve shown in Fig (5)

Fig. 5 Flow curves of Newtonian and Bingham Plastic Fluids

The defining equation of the curve is ,

( y ) = p

where y is the positive intercept on the shear stress axis and p is the plastic viscosity.
Unlike a Newtonian fluid, a Bingham plastic fluid will not deform (or flow) continuously

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until the applied shear stress exceeds a certain minimum value y which is known as
the yield point. After the yield point value has been exceeded, equal increments of
additional shear stress will produce equal increments of shear rate in proportion to the
plastic viscosity p. The plastic viscosity and the yield point specify completely the flow
properties of a Bingham plastic fluid. At least two experimental determinations of shear
rate at different values of applied shear stress are necessary to define the flow curve. The
Bingham plastic model is used to approximate the behavior of drilling fluids and cement
slurries.

The rotational viscometer is used to measure the rheological properties of a Bingham


plastic or drilling fluid. The fluid is sheared between an inner bob and a rotating sleeve.
Six standard rotational speeds are available with a rotational viscometer.

The plastic viscosity is computed using the equation.


p = 600 300 ........................................... (12)
or
300( N2 N1 )
p =
N2 N1

where 600 is the dial reading with the viscometer operating at 600 rpm and 300 is the
dial reading at 300 rpm. The yield point Y in 1b/100 ft2 is computed using.

= 300 p .............................................. (13)

A third parameter called the gel strength, in units of lb/100 ft2 is obtained by noting the
maximum dial reading when the viscometer is turned at a low rotor speed of 3 rpm. If the
reading is obtained after the mud is allowed to remain static for 10 sec. the dial reading
obtained is called the initial gel. If the mud is allowed to remain static for 10 minutes the
maximum dial reading is called the 10 min gel strength.

The frictional pressure loss of Bingham plastic fluids in laminar pipe flow can be
calculated from the equation,
p Lv YL
= 2
+ ....................................... (14)
1500d 225d

The pressure drop for annular laminar flow is,

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p Lv YL
= 2
+ ....................... (15)
1000( d 2 d 1 ) 220( d 2 d 1 )

The frictional pressure loss for turbulent pipe flow is,

fL v 2
= .............................................. (16)
193 d

For pipe flow the Reynolds number is calculated by using p instead of or


123.9 vd .......................................... (17)
NR =
p

The Reynolds number for annular flow is,


101.2 ( d 2 d 1 )
NR = .................................
p
(18)

The frictional pressure loss for turbulent annular flow can be obtained from the equation,

Lf v 2
P = ....................................... (19)
157 .8( d 2 d 1 )

Pseudo Plastic and Dilatant Fluids


Fluids which do not behave as Bingham plastic are assigned the class of generalized non-
Newtonian. Fluids of this type do not have yield points but their viscosity is a nonlinear
function of shear stress and possibly duration of shear. Within this general class are two
major sub groups called pseudoplastic and dilatant fluids. The viscosity of a pseudo
plastic fluid will decrease with increasing values of shear stress. A dilatant fluid displays
rheological properties opposite to pseudoplastic in that its viscosity increases with
increasing shear stress.

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THE POWER-LAW MODEL


The power-law model is represented by the relationship

= K n .............................................. (20)

A plot of Eq. (20) is shown in Fig (7). The constants K and n characterize the flow
behavior of the fluid. K is the consistency index which corresponds to the viscosity of a
Newtonian fluid and n is the flow behavior index which indicates the degree of departure
from Newtonian behavior. The value of n ranges between zero and 1.

Fig. 6 Flow Line for a Fig. 7 Flow Curve for a


Power-law Fluid Power-law Fluid

Equation (18) can be written as,


log = log K + n log ............................... (21)

A logarithmic plot of shear stress versus shear rate is linear as shown in Fig (6). The
slope of the line is n and the intercept on the stress axis defines K at =1.

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The stress-shear relationship for a power-law fluid or a pseudoplastic fluid is nonlinear


but approach linearity at high shear rates. Thus, if stress readings at high shear rates are
extrapolated to the axis, there appears to be a yield point similar to that of a Bingham
plastic fluid; hence the name pseudoplastic. Typical pseudoplastic fluids are suspensions
of long-chain polymers such as XC polymer.

The consistency curves of most drilling fluids are intermediate between the ideal
Bingham plastic and power-law flow models. Low - solid, polymer fluids and oil-base
muds tend towards power-law behavior, whereas high-solid muds and untreated and
flocculated clay muds act more like Bingham plastic fluids.

The frictional pressure loss in pipe for a power-law or pseudoplastic fluid in laminar flow
is

1
n

LKv n 3+
P = n ............................... (22)
144000d 1+ n .0416

where,

n = 3.32 log 600

300

5 1 0
K = 300

5 1 1n

The frictional pressure drop in an annulus is

1
n

Kv n L 2+
P = n ........ (23)
144000 ( d 2 d 1 ) 1+ n 0 .0208

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The Reynolds number for a power-law fluid flowing in a pipe is defined as,
n

11912 v 2 n 0 . 0416 d
NR = ...................
K 3+ 1

n
(24)

A plot of the friction factor f versus the Reynolds number for a power-law fluid is
shown in Fig (8). The critical Reynolds number, above which the flow is turbulent, is a
function of the index n. For example, for an n value of 0.2 the critical Reynolds number
is 4200.

For power-law annular flow the Reynolds number is,


n

14572 v ( 2 n ) 0.0208 ( d 2 d 1 )
N R = 1 ..
K 2+
n
(25)

The frictional pressure drop in a circular pipe for a power-law fluid in turbulent flow is,

f v 2 L
P = .................................... (26)
193 d

where f is obtained from Fig (8).

For turbulent annular flow the pressure drop is,

f v 2 L
P = .............................. (27)
157.8 ( d 2 d 1 )

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Example
A 67 pcf bentonite clay drilling fluid is circulated down 5 open ended drill pipe which
is inside a 9 58 casing at the rate of 5 BPM. Calculate the frictional pressure loss per
1000 ft of drill pipe and 1000 ft of annulus given the following:

Casing ID = 8.9 in
Drill pipe ID = 4.27 in
Dial reading at 600 rpm = 34.5
Dial reading at 300 rpm = 24.5

Solution

Pressure loss in drill pipe


Since the mud is bentonite clay, Bingham plastic model is used.

q 5 x 42 gpm
v= 2
= = 4 .7 ft / sec.
2.448 d 2.448 x 4 .27 2
= 600 300 = 34.5 24.5 = 10cp
p

Y = 300 p = 245 . lb / 100 ft 2


. 10 = 145

123.9 vd 123.9 67 4.7 4.27


NR = = = 16660 > 2100
p 10

Since NR is greater than 2100, the flow is turbulent.

From Fig (4) the friction factor f is 0.007

f v 2 L
From Eq (16) pressure loss per 1000 ft =
1 93 d

0.007 6 7 4.7 2 1000


= = 12.6 psi .
1 93 4.27

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Pressure loss in annulus:


q 5 42
v= 2 2
= = 1 . 406 ft / sec .
2 . 448 ( d 2 d 1 ) 2 . 448 ( 8 . 9 2 4 . 27 2 )

1 01 . 2 v ( d 2 d 1 )
NR = , Eq (18 )
p

101.2 67 1.4(8.9 4.27)


= = 4395
10

Since NR is greater than 2100, the flow is turbulent.

From Fig (8) the friction factor f is 0.0095

From Eq(19) pressure loss in 1000 ft of annulus

f v 2 L .0095 6 7 1.4 2 1000


= = = 1.71 psi
157.8 ( d 2 d 1 ) 157.8( 8 .9 4 .27 )

INITIATING CIRCULATION IN A WELL


Non-Newtonian fluids whose viscosity at a fixed shear rate do not remain constant, but
change with the duration of shear, are classified as time-dependent. While subjected to a
constant rate of shear, a thixotropic fluid exhibits a decrease in shear stress as time of
shear is increased. Drilling fluids usually will exhibit a thixotropic behavior at the time
circulation is started.

If a drilling fluid is allowed to remain static it will develop a gel strength which will
require higher pressure to initiate circulation. The circulation pressure decreases with
time until a steady frictional pressure loss is observed.

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The frictional pressure loss equations presented in the previous sections do not take into
account the thixotropic behavior of the mud and, therefore, should not be used to
calculate the pressure required to initiate circulation. In some cases, the pressure required

to initiate circulation is greater than the pressure required to sustain circulation at the
desired rate. The pressure required to start circulation is
L g
P = (For pipe) ............................. (28)
300d

and
L
P =
g
(For Annulus) ................. (29)
300 ( d 2 d 1 )

where g is the gel strength of the mud in lb/100 ft2

Example
Compute the pressure at the casing seat at 3000 ft when a mud having a density of 67 pcf
and a gel strength of 50 lb/100 ft2 just begins to flow. The casing has an ID of 10 in and
the drill pipe OD is 5 in.

Solution
Using Eq (29) the pressure required to initiate circulation in the annulus is,
50 3000
P = = 100 psi
300 (10 5 )

Pressure at casing seat is the hydrostatic mud pressure plus circulation pressure,
67
P = 3000 + 100 = 1495 psi
144

When the drilling fluid becomes severely gelled in an annulus of small clearance,
excessive pressures may be required to break (start) circulation. In some cases, the
pressure required to initiate circulation may exceed the fracture pressure of the exposed
formation. To reduce the pressure requirements, the drill string can be rotated before the

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pump is started. In addition, the pump speed can be increased very slowly while the drill
string is rotated.

HYDRAULIC POWER
If the flow rate q is expressed in gpm and the pump pressure P is expressed in psi, the
hydraulic power output of the pump is,
q
H = ............................... (30)
1714
where H is expressed in hydraulic horsepower .

Example
A 70 pcf mud is circulated in a well at a rate of 500 gpm and 3000 psi surface pumping
pressure. The pressure loss in the drill pipe is 1500 psi. Determine
(a) the hydraulic horsepower developed by the pump and
(b) the power lost due to viscous forces in the drill pipe.

Solution
a) From Eq (30), the power output of the pump is.
3000 500
H = = 875 Hp
1714

b) Power consumed due to friction in drill pipe is,


1500 500
H = = 437 Hp
1714

PRESSURE DROP ACROSS BIT NOZZLES


The pressure drop across bit nozzles can be calculated from the equation,

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q 2
= .......................................... (31)
8 1000 A 2

where,
= pressure drop, psi
= mud density, ppg
A = total cross sectional area of nozzles, in2

The velocity of flow through a nozzle is,


q
v = ........................................ (32)
3.1 1 7 A

where,
A = the cross sectional area of a nozzle, in2
q = the flow rate through a nozzle, gpm

The hydraulic horsepower across the bit is


q
H=
1714

Substituting for from Eq (31),

q 3
H = ....................... (33)
138.83 10 6 A 2

HYDRAULIC IMPACT FORCE


The purpose of bit jet nozzles is to improve the cleaning action of drilling fluid at the
bottom of the hole. Investigators have shown that the cleaning action is maximized by
maximizing the hydraulic impact force of the jetted fluid against the hole bottom. The
impact force developed by a bit is,

F = 0.00666 Cq b .................................... (34)

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where,
q = flow rate, gpm
C = discharge coefficient (0.95)
= mud density, pcf
Pb = pressure drop across bit, psi.

Example
A 90 pcf mud is flowing through a bit having three 13/32 in nozzles at the rate of
400 gpm.

Calculate a) Pressure drop across bit


b) Velocity of fluid through nozzles
c) Impact force developed by bit

Solution

( 13 32 ) 2
a) Cross sectional area of one nozzle = = 0 . 129 in 2
4
Total area of nozzles = 3 .129 = 0.388 in2

90 400 2
From Eq (31) pressure drop across bit = = 1181 psi
81000 ( 0 .388 ) 2

400
b) Flow rate through one nozzle = = 133.3gpm
3
133 . 3
From Eq (32) velocity through a nozzle = = 331 . 5 ft / sec
3 . 117 . 129

c) From Eq (34) impact force = .006660.95400 9 0 1181 = 825 lb

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CUTTINGS SLIP VELOCITY


Removal of drill cuttings is a primary function of the drilling fluid. Since the drill
cuttings are heavier than the drilling fluid, they tend to fall through the mud or slip
down the annulus. The settling rate of these cuttings is difficult to determine because the
cuttings densities are not uniform and the size and diameter ds vary widely. It is
important that the annular fluid velocity be greater than the slip velocity so that the
drilled cuttings are circulated out of the hole properly. According to Chien the slip
velocity for water based fluid is:



36 ,800
+ 1 1 .... (35)
d
V = 0.0561 a

s

s f

d
f S ( a ) 7.48 2 f
s

f d s

YP d s
Where a = PV for water based mud, for polymer based fluid, a = PV + 5 .
v
where,
f = fluid density, pcf
s = cutting density, pcf
PV = Plastic viscosity, cp
YP = Yield point, lb/100 ft2
v = annular velocity, ft/sec
a = apparent viscosity, cp

Example:
A surface hole is to be drilled to 3,500 ft. Many wells in the same area have experienced
loss circulation problems due to insufficient cuttings removal. If the chosen annular
velocity is 60 ft/min. will the hole be cleaned adequately?

Hole size 24 in.


Drillpipe: 4-1/2 in.
Mud: 67 pcf (water based)
Fann viscometer: 600 = 52, 300 = 31

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Cuttings: 0.25 in. (diameter)


157 pcf (density)

Solution:
Since the mud is water based, use the plastic viscosity as the apparent viscosity

Using Eq.12, PV = 52 - 31 = 21 cp



21 36 ,800 ( 0 . 25 ) 157 67
Vs = 0 . 0561 2 + 1 1 = 0 . 76 ft / sec
67 0 . 25 ( 21 ) 7 . 48 67

67 0 . 25

Since the chosen annular velocity will be 60 ft/min = 1 ft/sec, is greater than the slip
velocity the pump rate is sufficient to move the cuttings up hole and out of the annulus.

OPTIMIZATION OF BIT HYDRAULICS


The selection of the proper jet bit nozzle sizes is important in the drilling operation.
Significant increases in penetration rate can be achieved through the proper choice of bit
nozzles. The penetration rate increase is due to mainly to improved cleaning action at the
bottom of the hole. Wasteful regrinding of cuttings is prevented if fluid circulated
through the bit removes the cuttings as rapidly as they are made. At present, there is still
disagreement as to what hydraulic parameter should be used to indicate the level of the
hydraulic cleaning action. The most commonly used hydraulic design parameters are
(1) bit hydraulic horsepower and
(2) jet impact force.
Jet bit nozzle sizes are selected such that one of these parameters is a maximum.

MAXIMUM BIT HYDRAULIC HORSEPOWER


It has been pointed out that the effectiveness of jet bits could be improved by increasing
the hydraulic horsepower at the bit. It has been shown mathematically that the bit
horsepower is a maximum when,

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d = ...................................... (36)
m+1

where P is the total pressure loss in the circulating system and Pd is the parasitic
pressure loss to and from the bit,

d = Ps + dp + dc + Pdca + Pdpa ...... (37)

where,
Ps = Pressure loss in surface equipment
Pdp = Pressure loss in drill pipe
Pdc = Pressure loss in drill collars
Pdca = Pressure loss in drill collar annulus
Pdpa = Pressure loss in drill pipe annulus
m = constant approximately equal to 1.75

Since the total pressure loss is the pressure loss across the bit Pb plus the parasitic
pressure loss then for maximum horsepower at the bit the pressure drop across the bit
should be,
Pb = P - Pd
or
P
Pb = P -
m+1
mP
= ............................................. (38)
m+1

MAXIMUM JET IMPACT FORCE


Some operators prefer to select bit nozzle sizes so that the jet impact force is a maximum
rather than bit hydraulic horsepower. It can be shown that maximum jet impact force is
obtained when the parasitic pressure drop is,
2
Pd = P ........................................ (39)
m+ 2

or the bit pressure drop is

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Pb = P - Pd
2P
= P -
m+2
m
= P ......................................... (40)
m+ 2

Bottom Hole Cleaning Needs


When high pressure pumps are available and the parasitic pressure loss is low because of
large diameter drill string, it may be possible to achieve higher hydraulic bit horsepower
or impact force than is needed to clean the bottom of the hole. The hole cleaning needs
can be determined by measuring the penetration rate at various bit hydraulics. Once the
cleaning needs are determined, it would be wasteful to provide higher bit hydraulics than
needed. Under these conditions, the pumping rate should be reduced until the desired
hydraulics are obtained. The rate should never be reduced below the rate required to lift
the cuttings.

As a rule of thumb bit power should be in the range of 2.5 to 5 HP per square inch of bit
area. In hole sizes 12 " and greater bit power of 5 to 6 HP/ in2 may be used.

The engineer should not be overly concerned about which criterion, bit power or impact
force is best. There is not a great difference in the application of the two procedures. If
the bit horsepower is maximum the jet impact force will be within 90% of the maximum
and vice versa.

Graphical Solution
The selection of bit nozzle sizes can be simplified by graphical techniques. In the case of
turbulent flow the parasitic pressure loss in the drill string can be represented by the
equation

Pd = cqm .............................................. (41)

Taking the logarithm of each side

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log Pd= log c + m log q ............................... (42)

A plot of Pd versus q on log-log paper is a straight line whose slope is m as shown in


Fig (9). For turbulent flow, the value of m is close to 1.75.

Fig. 9 Use of log-log plot for selection of proper


pump operation and bit nozzle sizes

Similarly, the hydraulic horsepower equation


P q
Hp =
1714

is represented by a straight line with a slope of -1.0 on a graph of log P versus q.

Shown in Fig (9) is a summary of the conditions for the selection of bit nozzle sizes using
the various hydraulic parameters. The conditions for proper pump operations and bit

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nozzle sizes occur at the intersection of the parasitic pressure loss line and the path of the
optimum hydraulics. The path of optimum hydraulics has three straight-line segments as
shown in Fig(9). Segment 1, defined by q = qmax, corresponds to the shallow portion of
the well where the pump is operated at maximum rate and pressure for the convenient
pump liner size and horsepower rating. Segment 2, defined by constant parasitic pressure
loss Pd, corresponds to the intermediate portion of the well where the flow rate is
reduced gradually to maintain Pd / Pmax at the proper value for maximum bit hydraulic
horsepower or impact force. Segment 3, defined by q = qmin, corresponds to the deep
portion of the well where the rate is reduced to the minimum value that will efficiently
lift the cuttings to the surface. In Fig (9), the intersection of the parasitic pressure loss
line and the path of optimum hydraulics occurs in Segment 2. This corresponds to bit at
intermediate depth. Since parasitic pressure loss increases with depth, a shallow bit run
would intersect in Segment 1 and a deep bit run would intersect in Segment 3. Once the
intersection point is obtained the proper flow rate, qopt is read from the graph. The proper
pressure drop across the bit corresponds to Pmax - Pd on the graph at the intersection
point. The proper nozzle area is calculated from the equation

q opt
2

Aopt = .............................. (43)


90000Pb ( opt ) C 2

Example
Determine the proper pump operating conditions and bit nozzle sizes for maximum jet
impact force for the next bit run given the following:

Measured parasitic pressure loss @ 485 gpm = 906 psi


Measured parasitic pressures loss @ 247 gpm = 409 psi
Mud weight = 72 pcf
Pump horsepower = 1250 hp
Pump efficiency = 0.91
Minimum rate to lift cuttings = 225 gpm
Maximum allowable pumping pressure = 3000 psi

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Solution
The two parasitic pressure loss values are plotted on log-log paper to define the parasitic
pressure loss line.

The slope of the line is,

lo g 9 0 6 lo g 4 0 9 0 .3 4 5
m = = = 1 .1 8
lo g 4 8 5 lo g 2 4 7 0 .2 9 3

The path of optimum hydraulics is determined as follows:

Segment 1
q
Hp =
1714 E
1714 H p E 1714 1250 .91
qmax = = = 650 gpm
Pmax 3000

Segment 2

For maximum impact force the parasitic pressure loss should be


2 2 3000
d = Pm ax = = 1886 psi
m+2 1 . 18 + 2

Segment 3
qmin = 225 gpm

The path of optimum hydraulics is determined by plotting the three segment lines as
shown is Fig (10).

It can be seen that the path of optimum hydraulic line intersects the parasitic pressure loss
line in Segment 1 at
qopt = 650 gpm

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Fig. 10 Application of graphical analysis techniques


for selection of bit nozzle sizes

From the graph, Pd = 1300 psi

Thus
Pb = 3000 - 1300 = 1700 psi

The proper total nozzle area is,

q 2
Aopt = 2
= 0.47 in2
C Pbopt 90000

Jet Impact Force = 0.00666 C q Pb

= 0.00666 0.95 650 72 1700 = 1439 lb

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In the previous example the impact force criterion was not used to select the nozzle size
because the segment 2 line which represents the conditions of maximum impact force did
not intersect the parasitic pressure loss line. If the impact force criterion were used, the
parasitic pressure loss would be 1886 psi. From the graph, the corresponding rate is 850
gpm. The pump pressure required to deliver 850 gpm is,
1714 EH P
P =
q

1714 .91 1250


= = 2293 psi
850

Therefore, the bit pressure drop is


Pb = 2293 - 1886 = 407 psi

The total nozzle area is

72 850 2
A = = 1.25 in2
( 0 .95 ) 2 407 90000

Jet impact force is,

F = 0.00666 0.95 850 72 407 = 920 lb

The use of the impact force criterion in this example provides a higher pumping rate.
However, a high rate does not always mean better cleaning. The high rate resulted in a
larger nozzle area of 1.25 in2 and thus a lower bit pressure drop of 407 psi and a lower
impact force of 920 lb compared to 1438 lb impact force obtained by using the qmax
criterion. This shows that the qmax criterion is the correct method to use in this example.

Example
Estimate proper pump operating conditions and bit nozzle sizes for maximum bit
horsepower while drilling at 2000 ft and 5000 ft. The well plan calls for the following
conditions:

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Pump
1000 psi maximum surface pressure at 1000 ft.
1500 psi maximum surface pressure at 5000 ft.
800 hp maximum horsepower input.
0.90 pump efficiency.

Drill string
5 19.5 #/ft (4.276 in ID) drill pipe
600 ft of 9 in OD x 2.5 in ID drill collars for 17.5 in hole
600 ft of 6 in OD x 2.5 in ID for 8 hole

Surface Equipment

Equivalent to 580 ft of 5 DP

Hole Sizes

17.5 at 2000 ft.


8.5 at 5000 ft.

Minimum Annular Velocity

50 ft/min at 1000 ft.


120 ft/min at 5000 ft.

Mud Properties
600 300
Depth Mud Weight, pcf Reading Reading
2000 64 29 22
5000 75 38 27

Polymer mud is used at both depths.

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Solution

A) Drilling at 2000 ft.

Parasitic Pressure losses


Pressure losses can be calculated at any flow rate. Flow rates of 700 and 500 gpm will
be used in this example. Since polymer mud is being used the pressure losses in each
segment of the drill pipe will be calculated using the power-law model.

n = 3.32 log 600


300

29
= 3.32 log = 0.398
22
510 300 510 x 22
K = = = 937 .6
511 n
511 0 .398

Pressure losses in drill pipe


q 500
v = 2
= = 11.17 ft / sec.
2 .448 d 2 .4 48 ( 4 .276 2 )

From Eq (24)
0 .398

11912 64 11.17 1.602 .0416 4 .276
NR =
937.6 3+ 1

.398

= 9900 (flow is turbulent)

From Fig (8)


f = 0.004

From Eq (24), the pressure loss is

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f v 2 L
=
1 93 d
. 004 64 11 . 17 2 1400
=
193 4 . 276
= 55 psi

Pressure loss in drill collars


q 500
v = 2
= = 32 . 68 ft / sec .
2 . 448 d 2 . 448 2 . 5 2
. 398

11912 64 32 . 68 1 .602 . 0416 2 .5
NR =
937 . 6 3+ 1

.398
= 44642
f = 0.0027

0.0027 64 32.68 2 600


Pressure loss = = 229 psi.
193 2.5

Pressure loss in drill collar-hole annulus


From Eq(9),
v =
q 500
2 2
= = 0 .9 0 6 ft / s e c .
2 .4 4 8 ( d 2 d 1 ) 2 .4 4 8 (1 7 .5 2 9 2 )

From Eq (23)
. 398

14572 6 4 0.906 1.602
. 0208 (17 . 5 9 )
NR =
937.6 1
2+
. 398
= 237 (flow is laminar)

From Eq (22),

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.398
1
2+
937 .6 .906 .398 .398
.0208

Pressure loss = 600
144000 (17 .5 9 ) 1 .398
= 1.6 psi.

Pressure loss in drill pipe-hole annulus


500
v = = .7 2 6 ft / sec. (Flow is laminar)
( )
2 .4 48 17 .5 2 5 2

.398
1
2+
937.6 .726 .398 .398
Pressure loss = 1400
144000 (17.5 5)1.398 .0208


= 1.997 psi

Pressure loss in surface equipment is equivalent to pressure loss in 500 ft of drill pipe,
53 . 8 580
Pressure loss = = 22 . 2 psi
1400

Parasitic pressure loss at 500 gpm = 53.8 + 228 + 1.6 +1.99 + 22.2 = 307.6 psi

The above calculations are repeated for a flow rate of 700 gpm
The parasitic pressure loss at 700 gpm = 502 psi

The parasitic pressure loss is plotted versus rate on log-log paper in Fig (11).
The slope of the line is,
log 502 log 307 .6
m = = 1.455
log 700 log 500

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Fig. 11 Hydraulic Plot for example problem

The path of optimum hydraulics is as follows:

Segment 1
1714 H p E 1714 800 .9
qmax = = = 1234 gpm
Pmax 1000

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Segment 2
From Eq (34) for optimum bit horsepower the parasitic pressure loss is,
1 1000
Pd = P m ax = = 407 psi
1 + 1.455 2 .455

Segment 3
For a minimum annular velocity of 55 ft/min, the minimum flow rate is,

(
qmin = 2.448 v d 22 d 12 )
where v is in ft/sec.

Therefore,
55
qmin = 2.448
60
(
17 .5 2 5 2 )
= 630 gpm

The path of optimum hydraulics is plotted in Fig (11). Note that the path intersects
the parasitic pressure loss line at qmin = 630 gpm. Therefore, the optimum pumping
rate should be 630 gpm.

The parasitic pressure drop at 630 gpm is 425 psi (from graph).

Therefore, the optimum bit pressure drop is,


Pb = 1000 - 425 = 575 psi

The total optimum nozzle area is,

64 630 2
Aopt = = 0 .737 in 2
0 .95 2 575 90000

0 .737
Area of one nozzle = = .246 in 2
3

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4A 4(.246)
Diameter of nozzle = = = 0.56 in
3.14 3.14

= 1 8 3 2 in

B) Drilling at 5000 ft.

Parasitic pressure losses are calculated at 500 and 700 gpm using power-law model.
600
n = 3.32 log
300

38
= 3.32 log = 0.492
27

510 300 510 x 27


K = = = 640.4
511 n
511 0 .492

Pressure Losses in Drill Pipe


v = 11.17 ft/sec (same as v at 2000 ft)
.492

11912 75 11.17 1.508 .0416 4.276
NR =
640.4 3+ 1

.492
= 10246

f = 0.0048

f v 2 L
Pressure loss =
193 d

0.0048 75 11 .17 2 4400


=
193 4.276
= 240 psi

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Pressure Loss in Drill Collars


v = 32.68 ft/sec.
.492

11912 75 32.68 1.508
.0416 2.5
NR = 1
640.4 3+
.492
= 39770

f = 0.0032

.0032 75 32.68 2 600


Pressure loss =
193 2.5
= 319 psi

Pressure Loss in Drill Collar-Hole Annulus


500
v = = 6.154 ft / sec.
2 .448 (8.5 2 6.25 2 )

From Eq (25)
.492

14572 75 6.154 1.508 .0208(8.5 6.25)
NR =
640.4 1
2+
.492
= 2934 (turbulent flow)

f = 0.007

From Eq (27),

.007 75 6.154 2 600


Pressure loss = = 33.6 psi
157.8(8.5 6.25)

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Pressure Loss in Drill Pipe-Hole Annulus

500
v = = 4.32 ft/sec.
2 .4 4 8 ( 8 .5 2 5 2 )
.4 9 2

14572 75 4.32 1.508 .0 2 0 8 (8.5 5 )
NR =
640.4 1
2+
0 .4 9 2
= 2139 (flow is laminar)

From Eq (23),
.492
1
2+
640 .4 ( 4 .32 ) .492 .492 4400
. 0208

Pressure loss =
1 .492
144000 (8 .5 5 )
= 82 psi

Pressure loss in surface pipe is equal to pressure loss in 580 ft of 5 drill pipe
239 580
Presssure loss = = 31 . 5 psi
4400

Parasitic pressure loss = 240 + 319 + 33.6 + 82 + 31.5 = 706 psi.

The above calculations are repeated at 700 gpm


The parasitic pressure losses at 700 gpm = 390+546+57+148+51 = 1192 psi

The parasitic pressure losses at 500 and 700 gpm are plotted on log-log paper in Fig
(12).

The slope of the line is,

log1192 log706
m = = 1.553
log700 log500

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Fig. 12 Hydraulic Plot for example problem

The path of optimum hydraulics is as follows:

Segment 1

1714 H p E 1714 800 .9


Pmax = = = 822 gpm
P max 1500

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Segment 2
For optimum bit horsepower the parasitic pressure loss is,
1 Pm ax
d = = 587 psi
1 + 1.553

Segment 3
Minimum flow rate is,
120
q min = 2 .448
60
(8 .5 2 5 2 ) = 231 gpm
The path of optimum hydraulics is plotted in Fig (12). The path intersects the
parasitic pressure loss line at qopt = 445 gpm and parasitic pressure loss Pd of 587
psi.
Pbit = Pmax - Pd
= 1500 - 587
= 913 psi

Total optimum nozzle area is,

75 445 2
Aopt = = 0 . 446 in 2
0 . 95 2 913 90000

0 .4 46
Area of one nozzle = = 0 .14 9 in 2
3

4 . 149
Diameter of nozzle = = 0 . 435 in
3 . 14

14
= in
32

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Example
a) In the previous example calculate the bit horsepower per square inch while drilling at
5000 ft
b) If the maximum pressure is maintained at 1500 psi, would increasing the pumping
rate from 445 to 600 gpm increase the bit horsepower?

Solution
a) The bit horsepower is calculated by using Eq (33),
3
q 3 75 445
H = 6 2
= 6 2
= 265 H
1 38 .83 10 A 1 38 .83 10 .0446

x 8 .5 2
Area of bit = = 56.7 in2
4

265
Bit horsepower/in2 = = 4.7 hp/in2
56 .7

b) From the graph in Fig (12), the parasitic pressure loss at 600 gpm is 940 psi.

The pressure loss at the bit = 1500 - 940 = 560 psi.

The total nozzle area is,


2
75 600
A = = 0 . 77 in 2
2
0 . 95 560 90000

75 600 3
H = = 218 hp
138.83 10 6 ( .95 ) 2 ( .77 ) 2

218
Bit Horsepower/in2 = = 3.85 hp/in2
56.7

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Therefore, the bit horsepower would decrease from 4.2 to 3.46 hp/in2 if the pumping rate
is increased from the optimum rate of 445 to 600 gpm. This shows that the maximum bit
horsepower that can be obtained is 4.2 hp/in2 at an optimum pumping rate of 445 gpm.
Increasing or decreasing the pumping rate (while maintaining maximum pressure of 1500
psi) would give less horsepower at the bit.

On-Site Nozzle Selection


The calculation of the parasitic pressure loss in the drill string using the pressure loss
equations is time consuming and subject to errors due to discontinuities in the drill
strings (such as jars, tool joints), washouts in the open hole and variations in the mud
properties. The easiest and the most accurate method for determining the total parasitic
pressure loss at a given depth is by direct measurement of the pump pressure (stand pipe
pressure) at the rig. The pump pressure can be measured at the rig for at least two
pumping rates. Since the total nozzle area of the bit currently in use is known, the
pressure loss across the bit can be computed at the given pumping rates by using Eq (31).
The parasitic pressure loss then can be obtained at these pumping rates as the difference
between the pump pressure and the pressure drop across the bit. The parasitic pressure
loss is then plotted versus the pumping rates and bit nozzle selection can be performed as
was shown in the previous example by using the maximum horsepower or the maximum
impact force method.

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Example
A well is being drilled at 5000 ft using 10 ppg mud and three 14/32 (0.4375) nozzles.
The driller recorded that when the mud is pumped at 500 gpm a pump pressure of 1860
psi is observed, and when the rate is increased to 700 gpm a pump pressure of 3470 psi is
observed. (a) Calculate the parasitic pressure loss at each pump rate, (b) Calculate the
slope of the parasitic pressure loss line.

Solution

3.14 .4375 2 3
a) Total area of nozzles = = 0.450 in2
4

The pressure loss across the bit at 500 gpm is,

q 2
P =
8100 A 2
75 500 2
=
81000 .45 2
= 1267 psi

Parasitic pressure at 500 gpm = 1860 - 1267 = 593 psi

Pressure loss across bit at 700 gpm is,

75 700 2
= = 2482 psi
81000 .45 2

Parasitic pressure loss at 700 gpm = 3470 - 2482 = 988 psi

b) The slope of the parasitic pressure loss line is,


log 988 log 593
m =
log 700 log 500

0 . 222
=
0 . 146
= 1.5

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

INTRODUCTION 1

CASING DESCRIPTION 2
DIAMETER 2
LENGTH RANGE 2
API CASING & TUBING WEIGHT DESCRIPTION 3
CASING GRADES 4
- PROPERTIES OF TUBULAR MATERIAL 4
YIELD STRENGTH 4
HARDNESS OF STEEL 5
HEAT TREATMENTS 6
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION 7
- API CASING GRADES 8
- NON-API CASING GRADES 9
- SAUDI ARAMCO NON-API CASING GRADES 10

CONNECTIONS 11
API CASING CONNECTIONS 11
SAUDI ARAMCO API CASING CONNECTIONS 11
- API SHORT / LONG THREAD & COUPLING 11
- API BUTTRESS THREAD & COUPLING 12
PROPRIETARY CONNECTIONS 13
SAUDI ARAMCO PROPRIETARY CONNECTIONS 13
- VAM CONNECTION 13
- NS-CC CONNECTION 14
- VETCO LS, RL-4S, & DRIL-QUIP S-60 CONNECTIONS 14

CORROSION 16
CORROSION MITIGATION 16
SULFIDE STRESS CRACKING 17
SAUDI ARAMCO APPLICATIONS IN H2S SERVICE 19
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

CARE OF OILFIELD TUBULARS 19

CASING PERFORMANCE PROPERTIES 20


BURST 20
COLLAPSE 21
TENSILE FORCE 23
BIAXIAL EFFECTS 25
SAFETY FACTORS 27

TYPES OF CASING 28
CONDUCTOR CASING 28
SURFACE CASING 28
INTERMEDIATE CASING 28
LINER 28
PRODUCTION CASING 28

SELECTION OF CASING SETTING DEPTHS 30

SELECTION OF CASING & BIT SIZES 36

SELECTION OF WEIGHT, GRADE & COUPLINGS 39


SURFACE CASING 40
INTERMEDIATE CASING 42
INTERMEDIATE CASING WITH A LINER 47
PRODUCTION CASING 47

GRAPHICAL METHOD, COLLAPSE & BURST DESIGN 49


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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

CASING CENTRALIZER SPACINGS 57

CASING LANDING PRACTICE 58


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CASING DESIGN

INTRODUCTION
From the earliest days of wells dug in the ground for various purposes, the need for some
means of supporting the walls of the hole has been recognized. Many wells of ancient
times were lined or cased with rock. Over the years casing technology has developed
from rock to plaster to wood and then to steel. The functions of casing can be
summarized as follows:

1. To keep the hole open and to provide a support for weak, or fractured formations. If
the hole is left uncased, the hole may fall in and the redrilling of the hole may become
necessary.

2. To isolate porous media with different fluid/pressure regimes from contaminating the
pay zone. This is basically achieved through the combined presence of cement and
casing, so production from a specific zone can be made.

3. To prevent contamination of near surface fresh water zones.

4. To provide a passage for oil and gas; most production operations are carried out
through special tubing which is run inside the casing.

5. To provide a suitable connection with the wellhead equipment (e.g. christmas tree).
The casing also serves to connect the blowout prevention equipment which is used to
control the well while drilling.

6. To provide a hole of known diameter and depth to facilitate the running of testing and
completion equipment.

By the year 1900 the regular oil field products had been reasonably well standardized.
The earliest American Petroleum Institute (API) specifications on oil well casing were
issued in 1924. Beginning about 1930 and continuing for the next several years,
specifications were published in several issues of API standards 5-A to cover lengths,
sizes, weights, threads, joints, and grades of the steel. In the following years many
improvements have been made in thread and coupling design as well as higher pipe
grades.

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CASING DESCRIPTION

Casing is described using the following parameters:

1. Diameter 4. Grade of steel


2. Length range 5. Type of coupling
3. Weight per unit length

Diameter
There are three types of diameter designations. They are outer diameter, inner diameter
and drift diameter. The outer diameter is the diameter of the casing measured from outer
wall across to outer wall and is the diameter measurement casing is identified with. The
inner diameter is the diameter of the casing measured from inner wall to inner wall. The
third type of diameter is the drift diameter, which is the guaranteed minimum diameter of
the casing, the drift diameter is important because it indicates whether the casing is large
enough for a specified size of bit to pass through.

Length Range
API has established three length ranges with limits and tolerances as shown below. API
specifications for casing and tubing designate the length range of each joint. There are
three length ranges for casing:

Length Ranges for Casing


Table 1
Range Length Maximum Length
Range, ft Variation, ft
1 16-25 6
2 25-34 5
3 Over 34 6

Casing is mostly run in R-3 lengths. These longer lengths reduce the total number of
threaded connections needed for the casing string. Since casing is usually run in single
joints (instead of doubles or triples), the longer R-3 lengths are easier to handle.

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API Casing & Tubing Weight Designation


Casing and tubing weights are expressed in lb/linear ft and are designated as either plain-
end weights or nominal weights.

Plain-end weight per foot is the weight per foot of the pipe
body excluding the threaded portion and coupling.

Nominal weight per foot is the weight per foot that is


reflected in casing tables and is an approximate average weight
per foot of the pipe with API connections, including upsets,
threads, and couplings.

Average weight per foot is the total weight of an average joint


of threaded pipe with one coupling divided by the total length
of the average joint.

The plain end weight of casing can be calculated by knowing the outer and inner
diameter of the pipe and the density of steel (489 lb/ft3):

W (lb/ft) =

4 144
(
De 2 Di 2 489)
( 2 2
)
= D e D i 2.67 . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .(1)
where,
De: outside diameter, in.
Di: inner diameter, in.

The difference between nominal weight and average weight is generally small and most
design calculations are performed by using nominal weight per foot.

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Casing Grades
Steel pipe grades are identified by letters and numbers which indicate various charac-
teristics of the pipe steel. It is a specification according to its yield stress, ultimate tensile
strength, chemical composition, heat treatment or other characteristics. There are many
grades of steel that make up oilfield tubulars.

Properties of Tubular Material


In order to understand strengths of tubular materials, it is important to understand the
basic terminology and process of manufacture of these materials.

Yield Strength
The strength of a steel is usually indicated by its minimum yield strength or ultimate
tensile strength. Casing and tubing are manufactured mostly from ductile steels. Whereas
brittle steels fracture without appreciable deformation, ductile steels can withstand
significant plastic deformation prior to fracture.

Basic Stress-Strain Equations


Stress and strain are common terms used in describing strengths of materials. If a
tensile load (or force) is applied to a test sample cross-sectional area, then the tensile
(or axial) stress is found by:

Stress = Force / Area

Axial strain is defined as the ratio of the test sample axial elongation to the original
length of the sample:

Axial Strain = Axial Elongation / Original Length

Hooke's Law defines stress as the product of the elastic constant or Young's modulus
of elasticity (E) and strain:
Stress = E x strain
6
Young's Modulus for steel is typically 30 x 10 psi.

Figure 1 is a stress-strain diagram for a typical ductile steel. Point 'A' represents the yield
strength or elastic limit of the steel. If the steel is stressed below the elastic limit, it will
return to its original shape upon unstressing or unloading the test sample. Below the
elastic limit, the stress-strain curve is linear.

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The API specifies that the yield stress (yield strength) is the tensile stress required to
produce a total elongation of 0.5% of the tensile test sample length. This is shown by
point 'B' in the diagram. Stresses greater than the elastic limit cause permanent
deformation of the steel and the steel will not return to its original shape when the load is
taken away.

If a steel is stressed beyond its yield strength, it will deform plastically until its ultimate
strength is reached as shown by point 'C'. The ultimate strength is the maximum stress
that the steel can sustain before it begins to fail. Beyond this point the material will
continue to deform plastically (with a reducing stress) until complete failure (breakage)
occurs as shown by point 'D'.
STRESS
(psi)
A - Elastic Limit
B - API Specified Minimum Yield

C - Ultimate Strength

D - Failure

STRAIN (%)
0.5%

STRESS-STRAIN DIAGRAM FOR DUCTILE STEEL


FIGURE 1

Hardness of Steel
Hardness is the measure of a steel's yield point in compression. When a material is
required to resist wear, corrosion, erosion or plastic deformation, it may be necessary to
specify a specific hardness. Hardness generally increases with increasing material
ultimate tensile strength. Very hard materials are brittle and will crack or fracture easily.
Hardness is determined by a test where a load is applied with a small ball or pointed
object. The hardness of the material is then expressed by the depth of the indentation
caused by the pointed object. The "Rockwell C", "Brinell", or Charpy hardness scales
are used to quantify the degree of hardness of an oilfield tubular material. Hardness can
be expressed by a Charpy Impact Test, where a weighted pendulum is dropped onto a
sample and the amount of impact it takes to break the sample is measured. This amount
of impact must exceed a minimum standard.

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Heat Treatments
Mechanical properties of steel such as yield stress, ultimate tensile strength, ductility, or
hardness can be achieved by controlling the heat treating portion of the manufacturing
process and chemical composition of the steel. Heat treating affects changes in the
microstructure, or grain structure of the steel which directly affects its mechanical
properties. Heat treating is an operation involving heating and/or cooling the solid steel
tubular to develop the desired steel microstructures.

The five basic heat treatments are:

Quenched and Tempered


The steel is heated to 1500-1600 oF. It is then rapidly quenched (or cooled) in water
or oil to produce a desired microstructure. It is then tempered (or re-heated) at 1000-
1300 oF to produce a desired combination of strength and ductility. This is the
preferred method of producing high strength casing and tubing.

Normalizing
The steel is heated to 1600-1700 oF and then cooled in air to produce a uniform
microstructure and to alter mechanical properties.

Normalized and Tempered


The steel is first normalized (as above) and then tempered and air cooled. This
tempering process slightly lowers the strength from the normalized condition but
improves ductility and helps to relieve residual stresses.

Cold Drawn and Tempered


The tubing or casing is shaped or rolled to the desired OD at room temperature. This
process causes a high residual stresses in the tube and increases the hardness due to
plastic deformation. The tubular is then tempered to reform the microstructure from
the cold drawn state. Tempering reduces the hardness and relieves the residual
stresses.

Hot Rolled
The tubing or casing is shaped or rolled to the desired OD at a very high temperature.
Hot rolling does not cause changes in the microstructure as in the cold rolling process
above. Hot rolling produces a steel similar to the normalized condition.

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Chemical Composition
The chemical composition of steel directly affects all of its mechanical properties and
corrosion resistance. Steels can be classified according to chemical composition as
follows:

Carbon Steels
These steels are considered to be a mixture of iron and carbon with up to 2% carbon
content. The high carbon steels contain up to 2% carbon, like J-55, while the low
carbon steels, like L-80, contain as low as 0.25% carbon. Carbon steels can contain
other elements such as manganese or silicon in small quantities. Most tubulars are
made of carbon steel.

Alloy Steels
These steels contain significant quantities of alloying elements other than carbon. A
steel is considered an alloy steel when the content of either manganese, silicon or
copper exceeds 1.65%, 0.6% and 0.6% respectively. A steel is also considered an
alloy if there is a minimum content specified for aluminum, boron, cobalt, chromium,
niobium, molybdenum, or nickel. Alloy steels are less susceptible to corrosion and
more expensive than carbon steel.

High Alloy Steels


High-alloy steels contain more than 5% alloy elements, in particular, high
concentrations of chromium, molybdenum, and nickel are used for high-alloy
tubulars. High-alloy steels which contain greater than 12% chromium are often
called "stainless" steels.

Low-Alloy Steels
Low-alloy steels contain less than 5% metallic alloying elements.

High Alloy Chrome-13 casing for Saudi Aramco GWI Wells


The majority of the casing used in Saudi Aramco is J-55 and made of carbon steel.
Alloy steel that contains 13% chrome is used in Abqaiq gravity water injection wells
to combat corrosion caused by the Wasia water. Chrome-13 casing is also used across
the corrosive UER and Aruma aquifers in the Safaniya field. The price of 13-chrome
casing is 3 times that of carbon steel casing, however, its use is justified since it
increases the useful life of the wells and reduces workover costs.

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API Casing Grades


To understand API casing grades, it is important to understand the terms minimum yield
stress, maximum yield stress, and minimum ultimate strength. To explain these terms,
two popular grades of oilfield tubulars will be used as an example: L-80 and N-80.

The grade of steel is denoted by a letter of the alphabet followed by the minimum yield
stress of the particular steel. For example, the API grade L-80, which is a common grade
used by Saudi Aramco, has a minimum yield stress of 80,000 psi as shown by point "A"
in Figure 2. In other words, it can support a stress of 80,000 psi with an elongation of
0.5%.
STRESS
(psi)
B - API Specified Maximum Yield

95,000

80,000
C - API Minimum Ultimate Strength

A - API Specified Minimum Yield

STRAIN (%)
0.5%

STRESS-STRAIN DIAGRAM FOR L-80 STEEL


FIGURE 2

The 'L' is a distinguishing prefix to avoid confusion between different steel grades. The
letter in conjunction with the number designates such parameters as the maximum yield
strength and minimum ultimate yield strength. In L-80 the maximum yield strength is
shown by point "B" as 95,000 psi which is 15,000 psi higher than the minimum yield
stress. The minimum ultimate strength is shown by point "C" as 95,000 psi. Note that
there is no maximum ultimate strength specified.

N-80, another API grade (see Figure 3), also has a minimum yield stress of 80,000 psi,
but is different from L-80 in that the former has a greater maximum yield stress of
110,000 psi (shown by point "B"). This is 30,000 psi higher than the minimum yield
stress and twice the tolerance of L-80. The minimum ultimate strength of 100,000 psi is
also higher as shown by point "C". Whereas N-80 has no hardness specification, L-80 has
a hardness specification of 23 HRC. The tight tolerance on yield strength and hardness
allow the L-80 to be more suitable for H2S service than N-80 grade tubulars.

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STRESS
(psi) B - API Specified Maximum Yield

The following Table 2 lists


the API casing grades and
110,000
flags the ones common to 100,000
Saudi Aramco.
80,000
C - API Minimum Ultimate Strength

A - API Specified Minimum Yield

STRAIN (%)
0.5%

STRESS-STRAIN DIAGRAM FOR N-80 STEEL


FIGURE 3

API CASING GRADES


TABLE 2
Designation
Casing Grades Min yield psi Max yield psi Min ultimate psi Common to Aramco
H-40 40,000 80,000 60,000 Yes
J-55 55,000 80,000 75,000 Yes
K-55 55,000 80,000 95,000 Yes
C-75 75,000 90,000 95,000
L-80 80,000 95,000 95,000 Yes
N-80 80,000 110,000 100,000 Yes
C-95 95,000 110,000 105,000
P-110 110,000 140,000 125,000

Casing sizes 24" and larger commonly have grade designations such as X-42, X-56, X-
60, and B. These are API designations specified under the Line Pipe Specifications.

Non-API Casing Grades


In addition to API grades, there are many proprietary steel grades which may not
conform to the API specifications, but which are used in the industry. These extensively
used special grades are often run for various applications requiring such properties as
very high tensile strength, high collapse strength, or steels resistant to sulfide stress
cracking. This pipe is manufactured to many, but not all of the API specifications with
such variations as steel grade, wall thickness, OD, threaded connection, and related upset.
As a result of these changes, the ratings of internal yield, collapse, and tension for both
the pipe and the connection are non-API.

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The rating of these proprietary products are generally calculated using API formulas or
are consistent with API methods. Also, such parameters as drift diameter, wall thickness
tolerance, length range, and weight tolerance are kept the same as, or are consistent with
API specifications.

Saudi Aramco Non-API Casing Grades


Several non-API casing grades are used in Saudi Aramco drilling and workover
operations. These proprietary grades have different lettering designations than the
familiar API standard. The two most common proprietary grades stocked by Saudi
Aramco are SM (Sumotomo), NK (NKK), and NT (Nippon Steel).

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CONNECTIONS
Oilfield tubulars may be equipped with plain ends (no threads), have API specified
threaded connections or proprietary (non-API) threaded connections.

API Casing Connections


Oilfield casing conforming to API standards may be obtained with plain ends, but ends
are usually threaded and furnished with couplings such as:

short thread and coupling (STC)*


long thread and coupling (LTC) *
buttress thread and coupling (BTC)
Extreme-Line thread (X-line) for casing
* with 8 round threads per inch (8 RD)

With the exception of Extreme-Line, male (or pin) threads are machined on plain-end
pipe and later made up with a coupling.

A reduced OD (special clearance) coupling is offered on some sizes and weights to allow
for additional clearance between pipe and hole. While providing this additional
clearance, special clearance couplings often reduce the rating of the connection, usually
in tension or internal yield and test pressure.
EXTERNALLY THREADED PIN
Saudi Aramco API Casing
INTERNALLY THREADED COUPLING (BOX)
Connections
Several API connections are used in
Saudi Aramco drilling and
workover operations. A brief ROUND
description of the most popular CRESTS 60 deg
AND
connections used are as follows: ROOTS

API Short/Long Thread and


Coupling
The API Short Thread and
Coupling (STC) and API Long
Thread and Coupling (LTC) are
used in pipe sizes of 4-1/2", 7 and API LONG THREAD & COUPLING (LTC)

9-5/8. Figure 4 shows the LTC FIGURE 4


design.

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The STC design is the same except that the coupling and the threaded pins are shorter.
This design is externally threaded on both ends of a non-upset pipe. The single lengths
are joined with an internally threaded coupling.

The thread profile has rounded threads and roots with a 60 angle between the thread
flanks as shown in the figure. The thread density is 8 threads per inch (8 RD) on a 0.0625
inch per inch taper. When the coupling is made up, small voids exist at the roots of each
thread. Thread compound must be used to fill these voids in order to obtain a seal. LTC is
not made in casing sizes larger than 13-3/8 because of the possibility of joint pull-out
that can occur with the heavier weight casing.

API Buttress Thread and Coupling


The API Buttress Thread and Coupling (BTC) is also a popular thread design used by
Saudi Aramco in several casing sizes ranging from 9-5/8", 13-3/8, and 18-5/8". This is
used in conductor and surface casing applications, also where a higher joint strength is
required.

Figure 5 shows the BTC design. This design is externally threaded on both ends of a non-
upset pipe (as in the STC and EXTERNALLY THREADED PIN
LTC). The single lengths are INTERNALLY THREADED COUPLING
joined with an internally
threaded coupling.

The thread profile has flat FLAT


CRESTS
crests and roots parallel to the AND
ROOTS
taper cone. The thread density
is 5 threads per inch on a
0.0625 inch per inch taper for
sizes 13-3/8" and smaller, and
0.0833 inch per inch taper for
sizes 16" and larger.
API BUTTRESS THREAD & COUPLING (BTC)

The BTC thread has higher FIGURE 5


joint and bending strengths compared to LTC (or STC). As a result, this thread is used
often in deeper wells where higher hook loads are experienced.

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Thread compound must also be used in order to obtain a seal with BTC. BTC is also run
in horizontal wells where doglegs can cause high bending loads on the larger size
casings. But BTC leak resistance is lower that that of LTC and STC.

Proprietary Connections
Proprietary connections are available which offer premium features not available on API
connections.

Among the special features for proprietary connections are:

clearance OD of coupling for slimhole completions


metal-to-metal seals for improved high pressure seal integrity
high bending strength for deviated holes
multiple shoulders for high torque strength
a streamlined connection OD for easy running in multiple completions.
recess-free bores through the connection ID for improved flow characteristics
higher tensile strength for deep holes
an integral connection to reduce the number of potential leak paths
resilient seal rings for continuous corrosion protection
high compressive strength for compressive loading situations

Saudi Aramco Proprietary Connections


Several proprietary connections are used in Saudi Aramco drilling and workover
operations. A brief description of the
most popular connections used are as
follows:
FLUSH BORE DIAMETER

TORQUE SHOULDER
VAM Connection
A proprietary connection which METAL TO METAL
is very popular with Saudi SEAL FACE

Aramco is the VAM connection


and is stocked in 4-1/2" and 7"
sizes. FLAT CRESTS
AND ROOTS
This connection has a metal to metal
seal for superior leak resistance. An
internally threaded coupling with
PROPRIETARY VAM CONNECTION

internal shoulders provide positive FIGURE 6

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make up torque and a non-turbulent bore (see Figure 6). It has become a standard
completion tubing for the high pressure Khuff gas wells. Also, due to its superior joint
and bending strength, it is used as the completion liner for the horizontal wells.

NS-CC Connection
The NS-CC (Nippon Steel Connection for Casing) is a proprietary connection used by
Saudi Aramco in the Khuff Gas wells (see Figure 7). It is stocked in 7", 9-5/8" and 13-
3/8" sizes. This connection is noteworthy for its gas leak tightness, low hoop stress, high
joint strength (equivalent to API buttress thread), high collapse strength and easy
stabbing design. Its two step pin nose which incorporate a primary and reserve torque
shoulder and metal to metal seal make it a good candidate for the deep, high temperature,
high pressure Khuff Gas service.
TWO-STEP PIN NOSE DESIGN

Vetco LS, RL-4S, and Dril-quip S-


60 Connections for Large Casing RESERVE SHOULDER
Sizes
The Vetco LS, RL-4S and Dril-quip METAL TO METAL SEAL

S-60 connections are proprietary PRIMARY SHOULDER


connections used by Saudi Aramco in
the 24" casing size.
API BUTTRESS

The Vetco LS connection is a high


strength integral design which
accommodates high internal
operating pressures, bending PROPRIETARY NS-CC CONNECTION

moments and tensile loads. The FIGURE 7

pin/box mating shoulder has a 30 degree taper (see Figure 8). This results in the open end
of the box being captured by the tapered shoulder of the pin, and prevents the box from
ballooning at the pin/box interface during periods of high internal pressure and large
bending moments.

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REVERSE SHOULDER
"O" RING SEAL ON PIN

COARSE THREE PITCH


THREAD DESIGN

ELEVATOR SHOULDER

PROPRIETARY VETCO LS CONNECTION


FOR LARGE CASING SIZES

FIGURE 8

The Vetco RL-4S connection features dual stabbing guides and a high stab angle for easy
stabbing. Self locking, four start thread forms allow fast quarter-turn makeup.

The Dril-quip S-60 connection features easy stabbing, no cross-threading, fast makeup,
low torque and high pressure sealing. Both of these connections save rig time and are
used in 24 and larger casing sizes.

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CORROSION
The presence of CO2 and H2S accompanied by water, can cause corrosion of the exposed
tubulars. In addition, H2S can cause stress corrosion cracking.

Corrosion Mitigation
When CO2 or H2S are dissolved in water, they will create an acidic solution. These
solutions react with the iron in the pipe causing local pitting which can eventually eat a
hole in the pipe. Some of the ways of combating this corrosion are as follows:

1. Plastic Coatings
Plastic coating on the pipe which is exposed to the produced fluids is one method
of corrosion prevention. There are a variety of coating materials and thicknesses
for the different chemical components and temperatures of the produced fluid.
The application of a coating to the inside of the pipe can reduce its effective drift
diameter. This will make it necessary to coordinate the plastic coating thickness
with the proposed through tubing work.

Some disadvantages of internal plastic coating, IPC, is that it is difficult to apply


to all exposed surfaces. This is particularly true of coupling recesses and
accessories such as packers, seating nipples and safety valves. In order to
maintain continuity of the plastic coating's corrosion barrier, some connections
provide a Teflon ring on the ID between the pin end and the box recess. It is
difficult to ensure that there are no holidays in the coating. Also IPC can be
damaged by wireline tools.

Saudi Aramco carries a stock of internally plastic coated (IPC) tubulars in the 4-
1/2" and 7" sizes.

2. Fiberglass Lined Pipe


Where the corrosion is very high, it is cost effective to have fiberglass lined
tubing. Fiberglass lined tubing is constructed by inserting a fiberglass tube of 0.1
in. wall thickness into the steel tubing. The small annulus between the fiberglass
tube and steel tubing is filled with cement. This lining results in a longer lasting
corrosion barrier that plastic coating does not provide. In addition, there are no
holidays or interruptions in the lining, the fiberglass is continuous the entire
length of the joint. Fiberglass is more resistant to wireline damage than plastic
coatings.

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3. High Alloy Carbon, Stainless Steel or Chromium Tubulars


Where plastic coating is impractical, corrosion control can be achieved through
these alloy steels. This is not a common method since alloy steel tubulars usually
cost much more than a conventional steel string.

Saudi Aramco maintains a stock of 4-1/2", 7" and 9-5/8" high alloy Chrome-13
tubulars for use in the gravity water injection wells (see section entitled
"Properties of Tubular Materials" for more information about CR-13 casing).

3. Chemical Inhibition
An inhibitor may periodically be pumped into a well to form a film on the pipe.
This treatment is being performed in Wasia water supply wells. If there is no
means to circulate down the inhibitor while producing the well, it will be
necessary to shut in the well and pump down the tubing. In a gas lift installation,
the inhibitor may be pumped into the gas system. Where wells are completed with
concentric strings, the inhibitor can be continuously pumped down one string,
with the produced fluid carrying the inhibitor into the other string.

Sulfide Stress Cracking


A type of corrosion caused by H2S can be a severe condition because it can lead to gross
failure of steel equipment. Stress corrosion cracking attacks points subjected to a high
tension stress. Once the stress crack is initiated, the tensile stress may increase due to the
reduced area, thus leading to accelerated stress cracking. This process continues until the
stress increases to the ultimate strength of the steel, at which point failure occurs.

In order to prevent stress corrosion cracking in tubulars due to the presence of H2S,
certain design criteria can be applied.

1. Steel Properties
One of the principal factors governing the resistance of tubulars to stress
corrosion cracking is the physical properties of the steel. Through extensive
testing it has been determined that the higher strength carbon steels are more
susceptible to sulfide stress cracking.

The API Specification 5CT lists two steel grades, L-80, and C-95 which have a
restricted yield strength range of 15,000 psi. This restricted range has the net
effect of holding down the maximum strength of the steel while maintaining an

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adequate minimum yield strength. In addition to the narrower yield strength


range, these grades have additional chemical and heat treatment controls not
required on other API steel grades. These three have been widely used in H2S
environments. With experimental work on the effect of the heat treatment
methods on resistance to sulfide stress cracking, there has been an increased use
of the quenched and tempered L-80 grade.

In addition to the API grades, there are proprietary grades used in H2S service.
Most of these have a minimum yield strength from 80,000 psi to 90,000 psi, with
a controlled yield strength range of 15,000 psi. This is the same range as API
restricted yield grades.

2. Temperature Susceptibility
Another factor in susceptibility of tubulars to sulfide stress cracking is the
temperature of the steel when it is exposed. It has been shown that at elevated
temperatures, the higher strength steels are not susceptible to sulfide stress
cracking. NACE Specification MR-10-75 refers to the use of API grade, P-110
and proprietary grades to a maximum 140,000 psi yield strength in an H2S
environment where the temperature during exposure is not less than 175 F. The
use of API grades N-80, C-95 and proprietary grades up to a maximum yield
strength of 110,000 psi can be used in temperatures above 150 F.

3. Other Factors
Other factors effecting sulfide stress cracking are the level of stress in the steel
and the time of exposure. Lower stress levels reduce the chance of sulfide
cracking. The steel chemical and mechanical properties, in addition to the time
and temperature at exposure and the tensile stress level, determine the
susceptibility of the steel to sulfide stress cracking.

4. Design Considerations
In deep, high pressure gas wells where both internal pressure and tension would
normally require high strength steels, design of casing and tubing strings becomes
difficult with the restriction of the minimum yield strength to 90,000-95,000 psi
in an H2S environment. Application of restricted yield strength steel grades
dictates thicker-wall pipe in order to handle the high tension and internal pressure
loads. A well with a high bottom hole temperature can use P-110 and/or X-125
casing and P-105 tubing in the lower section of the hole up to a point where the
static

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temperature is no longer high enough. At this crossover temperature, it is then


necessary to run the sulfide stress cracking resistant grades to the surface.

By using high strength steel on the bottom, the wall thickness can generally be
reduced, thus decreasing the total weight of the string. This is particularly
important with the upper section of the string requiring lower strength steel, the
reduced weight on the bottom sections will further reduce the weight required at
the surface.

Saudi Aramco Applications in H2S Service


Associated gas and non-associated (Khuff) gas can contain high levels of H2S.
The L-80 grade has become a standard specification for several Saudi Aramco oil
and gas fields which have high levels of H2S. Saudi Aramco stocks several sizes
of L-80 tubing and casing such as 4-1/2", 7" and 9-5/8".

Proprietary (non-API) grades such as C-95VTS, and NT-90HSS are also used in
Saudi Aramco high pressure sour Khuff gas applications where a high yield
strength is required.

CARE OF OILFIELD TUBULARS

With the large expense of tubular products to drill and complete an oil or gas well, it is
important that the proper shipping, handling, storage, and running practices be followed
to ensure that the investment made in tubulars yields its maximum benefit. Leaky joints
are one cause of trouble which can be attributed to many forms of improper care.

API Recommended Practice for Care and Use of Casing and Tubing (RP-5C1) lists
common causes of trouble for casing and tubing. Of these, over half are related to poor
shipping, handling, and running practices.

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CASING PERFORMANCE PROPERTIES


Casing must have certain properties in order to achieve its functions in a well. The most
important performance properties of casing include its rated values for axial tension,
burst pressure, and collapse pressure. Axial tension loading results from the weight of
the casing string suspended below the joint of interest. Body yield strength is the
tensional force required to cause the pipe body to exceed its elastic limit. Joint strength
is the minimal tensional force required to cause joint failure. Burst pressure rating is the
calculated minimum internal pressure that will cause the casing to rupture in the absence
of external pressure and axial loading. Collapse pressure rating is the minimum external
pressure that will cause the casing walls to collapse in the absence of internal pressure
and axial loading.

Burst
The burst loads on the casing must be evaluated to ensure the internal yield resistance of
the pipe is not exceeded. The burst load is the force applied by the fluid inside the casing
which acts to rupture the pipe in the absence of external pressure. The loads are normally
caused by mud hydrostatic pressure inside the casing and perhaps some surface pressure.
Fluids on the outside of the casing, called back-up fluids, supply a hydrostatic pressure
that helps resist pipe burst. The resulting effective burst pressure is the internal pipe
pressure minus the external pressure. Burst conditions are established and the least
expensive pipe that will satisfy the burst pressure is tentatively selected. The API burst
pressure rating of casing is given by:
Y t
Pi = 1.75 m (2)
De

Where Ym is the minimum yield strength of the pipe, t is the wall thickness in inches and
De is the outer diameter in inches.

Example:

Calculate the burst rating for 7 23# J-55 casing.

Solution: From Table 2, Ym for J-55 casing is 55,000 psi. The ID of 7 23# casing in
7 6.366
6.377, therefore, t = = 0.317 in.
2
0.317
Pi = 1.75 55,000 = 4360psi
7

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Collapse
The primary collapse loads are supplied by the column of fluid on the outside of the
casing which act to collapse the pipe. These fluids are usually the mud and possibly the
cement slurry in which the casing was set. Since the column of mud increases with depth,
collapse pressure is the highest at the bottom of the hole section and is zero at the surface.
The formula to calculate the hydrostatic pressure acting at a particular depth is:

Phyd, psi = (m /144) x h (3)

where m is the density of the fluid in pcf, and h is depth in feet. Never allow the
hydrostatic pressure to exceed the collapse rating of the casing. The worst case design
conditions are when the casing is void of fluid and the external force (collapse load) is
the maximum mud weight when the casing was run. In designing for collapse, the casing
is assumed empty for surface casing, production casing and partially empty for
intermediate casing. Once the casing is cemented and the cement is set the cement acts to
help increase the collapse resistance. There are four formulas to calculate the collapse
rating of casing (Pc) depending on the ratio of the pipe outer diameter to wall thickness.

For:
Table 3
Grade D/t Ratio
H40 16.44 and less
J & K55 14.8 and less
C75 13.67 and less
N80 13.38 and less
C95 12.83 and less
P105 12.56 and less
P110 12.42 and less

Pc = 2Ym[((D/t)-1)/(D/t)] (4)

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For:
Table 4
Grade A B C D/t Ratio
H40 2.95 0.0463 755 16.44 to 26.62
J & K55 2.99 0.0541 1205 14.8 to 24.99
C75 3.06 0.0642 1805 13.67 to 23.09
N/L80 3.07 0.0667 1955 13.38 to 22.46
C95 3.125 0.0745 2405 12.83 to 21.21
P105 3.162 0.0795 2700 12.56 to 20.66
P110 3.18 0.082 2855 12.42 to 20.29

Pc = Ym[A/(D/t)-B]-C (5)

For:
Table 5
Grade A B D/t Ratio
H40 2.047 0.03125 26.62 to 42.7
J & K55 1.99 0.036 24.99 to 37.2
C75 1.985 0.0417 23.09 to 32.05
N80 1.998 0.0434 22.46 to 31.05
C95 2.047 0.049 21.21 to 28.25
P105 2.052 0.0515 20.66 to 26.88
P110 2.075 0.0535 20.29 to 26.2

Pc = Ym[A/(D/t)-B] (6)

And for:
Table 6
Grade D/t Ratio
H40 42.7 and greater
J & K55 37.2 and greater
C75 32.05 and greater
N80 31.05 and greater
C95 28.25 and greater
P105 26.88 and greater
P110 26.2 and greater

Pc = 46,950,000 / [(D/t) x ((D/t)-1)] (7)

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Example:
A string of 9-5/8 53.5# L-80 casing is to be set in 75 pcf mud at a depth of 6000 ft. Calculate
the collapse rating for this casing, assume that the casing is empty. Then determine if the
casing can safely be set to this depth in order to satisfy a safety factor for collapse of 1.125.
Ym = 80,000 psi, ID = 8.535 in.

Solution: Phyd = (75/144) x 6000 ft = 3,125 psi;

Since: De/t = 9.625 / 0.545 = 17.6605

We use Pc = Ym[A/(D/t)-B]-C; For N-80/L-80, A = 3.07; B = 0.0667; C = 1955

Pc = 80,000 [(3.07/17.6605) - 0.0667] - 1955 = 6616 psi SF = 6616 / 3125 = 2.12

Allowable collapse = 6616 psi/1.125 = 5880 psi.

Therefore since the collapse load at 6000 (3125 psi) is less than the allowable collapse
(5880 psi), then it is safe to run.

Tensile Force
The tensile load of the pipe is the weight of the casing which acts to pull the pipe apart.
The tension is always the greatest at the surface and decreases with depth due to the
casing weight below the point of interest. In designing a casing string the upper most
joint of the string is considered to have the maximum load on it since it has to carry the
total weight of the casing string. Tensile loads are used to select pipe couplings.

Tension loads are computed using the buoyant forces acting on the pipe and the pipe
weight. The buoyancy force acts on the bottom joint of the casing and results in a
reduction in the hanging weight of the casing. The buoyant forces are defined as the
forces acting on submerged equipment due to hydrostatic pressure. The weight of the
casing in fluid is given by:
MW
Wf = Wa 1
489
where,

Wf = weight in fluid MW = mud weight in pcf


Wa = weight in air

The pipe body yield strength is calculated by:

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Ften (lb) = 0.7854 x Ym (De- Di) (8)

where Di is the ID of the casing.

Example:

Calculate the body yield strength of 7 in, 26-lb/ft J-55 casing with long threads &
couplings (LT&C).

Solution:

The body yield strength is:

Ften (lb) = 0.7854 x 55,000 [(7)- (6.276)] = 415,200 lb.

To calculate the joint strength of a given thread depends on grade, size and weight of the
casing and on the effective size of the threads. Formula (9) is for minimum strength of a
joint failing for fracture and formula (10) is for minimum strength for a joint failing for
thread pullout. The lesser of the two values govern.

Fracture strength: P j = 0.95A jp U p (9)

0.74D 0.59 U p Yp
Pullout strength: Pj = 0.95A jp L + (10)
0.5L + 0.14D L + 0.14D

where:
Pj = minimum joint strength, lb.
Ajp = cross sectional area of pipe under the last perfect thread at pin, sq. in.
= 0.7854 [(D-0.1425)2-d2] for eight round threads
D = nominal outside diameter of pipe, in.
d = nominal inside diameter of pipe, in.
L = engaged thread length, in.
Yp = minimum yield strength of pipe, psi.
Up = minimum ultimate strength of pipe, psi.

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Biaxial Effects
The combination of stresses due to the weight of the casing and external pressures is referred
to as biaxial stresses. Biaxial stresses can reduce collapse resistance of the casing and must
be accounted for in designing deep wells. The collapse resistance, Pcc under tensile loading is
given by the following formula:
WPc (AYm)
2

Pcc = 4 3 1 (11)
2AYm W

Where Pcc = minimum collapse pressure under axial tension stress (psi); Pc = collapse
resistance with no tensile load (psi); W = weight supported by the casing (lb) ; Ym = average
yield stress of steel (psi) with zero load, A = cross sectional area.

Biaxial loading generates forces within the surfaces of the casing which reduce the casing
collapse but increase its burst resistance. This equation can be represented in tabular form,
showing the percentage reduction in collapse resistance for a given unit weight carried by the
casing, see below.
Table 8
Tensile ratio = weight carried Remaining collapse
yield strength resistance (%)
0 100.0
.01 99.5
.05 97.3
.1 94.5
.15 91.8
.2 88.5
.25 85.0
.3 81.3
.35 77.7
.4 76.0
.45 69.5
.5 65.0
.55 60.2
.6 55.8
.65 50.0
.7 44.5
.75 38.5
.8 32.0
.85 25.0
.90 17.8
.95 9.0

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1.0 0

To use Table 8, determine the ratio between the weight to be carried by the top joint of
the weakest casing and the yield strength of the casing. Then from the table determine the
corresponding reduction in collapse strength.

Example:

A 13-3/8 68# K-55 casing string with an average yield strength 1,069,000 lb, weighs
250,000 lb in air and is to be run in a well that contains 75 pcf mud. The ID of the casing
is 12.415 in. What is the corrected weight of the casing and what is the collapse rating
reduced due to biaxial loading?

Solution:
Corrected weight (W) is: 250,000 lb [1 - (75/490)] = 211,735 lb

The biaxial effect on the collapse rating of the pipe is: 211,735/1,069,000 = .198 and
looking at Table 8 on page 41 for this ratio we can see that the collapse resistance needs
to be multiplied by a 0.885 correction factor. So instead of a collapse rating of 1950 psi
for this casing, it is actually 1726 psi once the biaxial effect is included.

We can also solve this by using equation (11), where W = 211,735 lb; Pc = 1950 psi; and
Ym = 55,000 psi, A = t(OD-t) = 19.435 in2.


WPc (AYm) 211,735 1950 (19.435 55,000)
2 2

Pcc = 4
3 1 = 4 3 1 = 1728 psi
2AYm W 2 19.435 55,000 211,735

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SAFETY FACTORS

Exact values of loading are difficult to predict through out the life of the well. For
example, if mud of 75 pcf is on the outside of the casing during the running of the casing,
this value cannot be expected to remain constant for the entire life of the well. The mud
will become deteriorated with time and will reduce this value to perhaps a saltwater value
of 64 pcf. Therefore, calculations of burst values assuming a column of mud at 75 pcf
are not realistic throughout the life of the well. If the initial casing design is marginal,
then over a period of time in the event of a gas leak the casing may burst.

Since casing design is not an exact technique and because of the uncertainties in
determining the actual loadings as well as the deterioration of the casing itself due to
corrosion and wear, a safety factor is used to allow for such uncertainties in the casing
design and to ensure that the rated performance of the casing is always greater than any
expected loading. In other words the casing strength is always down rated by a chosen
safety factor value.

Usual safety factors are:

Collapse: 1.125 Tension: 1.6


Burst: 1.1

The safety factor is determined by the ratio of the body resistance to the magnitude of the
applied pressure.

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TYPES OF CASING
CONDUCTOR CASING
This string of casing serves several purposes. It prevents erosion around the rigs
foundation where the surface sand is weak, it makes the cellar more stable, provides a
good start for subsequent drilling and to circulate drilling fluids through to the surface.
The conductor casing setting depth is usually based on the amount required to prevent
washout of the shallow borehole when drilling to the depth of the surface casing and to
support the weight of the surface casing. The conductor also protects inner casings from
corrosion. A diverter can be installed on the conductor to divert flow in case of a shallow
kick. Normally when the surface sand is stable this string of casing is not necessary.

SURFACE CASING
This string of casing protects shallow fresh water sands from possible contamination, it
prevents cave-in of unconsolidated, weaker, near surface sediments and in the event of a
kick, it allows the flow to be contained by the BOPs. It also supports and protects from
corrosion any subsequent casing strings run in the well.

INTERMEDIATE CASING
Intermediate casing is similar to surface casing in that its function is to permit the final
depth objective to be reached safely. This casing string is run to isolate problem zones,
i.e. abnormal pressured, lost circulation, sloughing or caving zones between the surface
casing depth and the production casing depth. More than one intermediate string can be
set if necessary.

LINER
A liner is a different type of casing profile in that it does not extend from the bottom of
the well to the surface but is suspended from the bottom of the next largest casing string.
Normally it only extends a few hundred feet above the last casing shoe depth. A liner
can be used for drilling purposes to isolate problem zones or production or both. The
principal advantage of the liner is its lower cost.

PRODUCTION CASING
This string of casing is run across the production zone. Its purpose is to provide isolation
between zones and in case a tubing leak occurs, it will contain the production fluid until
remedial work can be performed to repair the leak. A typical casing configuration of an
Arab-D well is shown in Fig (9).

Figure 9

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DEPTH GEOLOGIC
TVD HORIZONS

26" CONDUCTOR @ 100'


415 PNU
500

725 KHOBAR
900 RUS 18-5/8" SURFACE CSG @ 950'' (50' INTO RUS)
1000
1125 UER

1500

2000 1950 ARUMA

2500
2650 L.A.S.
13-3/8" INTERMEDIATE CSG @ 2700' (50' INTO LAS)

3000

3500

3900 SHUAIBA
4000
4100 BIYADH
7" LINER HANGER @ 4200'
9-5/8" INTERMEDIATE CSG @ 4400' (300' INTO BIYADH)
4500

5000

5500

5760 SULAIY

6000 CEMENT

6500

7000

7" LINER @ 7295' (5' ABOVE ARAB-D)


7300 ARAB-D
7500 6" OPEN HOLE @ TD 7575'
7575 TD

Typical Arab-D Casing Program

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SELECTION OF CASING SETTING DEPTHS


The selection of the number of casing strings and their respective setting depths generally
is based on a consideration of the pore pressure and fracture pressure gradients of the
formations to be penetrated. The selection of casing depths is illustrated in Fig. (10). The
pore pressure can be estimated from offset wells. For wildcat wells, the pore pressure is
estimated by geophysicists using seismic data. The fracture gradient is defined as the
bottom hole pressure required to keep the fracture open divided by the reservoir depth.
The fracture gradient can be estimated from the Eaton equation,

S P
F= + (1 ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(12)
D D
where:

F = fracture gradient, psi/ft


D = reservoir depth, ft
S = overburden stress, psi
P = bottom hole reservoir static pressure, psi
V
=
1 V
V = Poissons ratio, dimensionless.

S
If the overburden stress gradient is assumed to be equal to 1.0 psi/ft, Eq. (12)
D
P
reduces to, F = + (1 ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(13)
D

The value of varies between 0.3 and 0.5.

The pore pressure and fracture pressure gradients can be expressed in terms of equivalent
mud density in pcf, by using Eq. 14.

Equivalent Density (pcf) = Pressure Gradient, psi/ft x 144 . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .(14)

Example:

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The static reservoir pressure (pore pressure) at 8000 ft is 3700 psi. What is the equivalent
mud density in lb/ft3 (pcf)?

Solution:
The pressure gradient is pressure divided by depth, or,

3700
Pressure gradient = = 0.46 psi/ft; and Equivalent Density = 0.46 x 144 = 66 pcf
8000

The pore pressure and fracture pressure gradients expressed in equivalent mud density
are plotted versus depth as shown in Fig. (10). A line representing the planned mud
density is also plotted. The planned mud density is chosen to provide trip safety margins
above the anticipated formation pore pressure, to allow for reductions in effective mud
weight created by upward drill pipe movement (swabbing) during tripping operations.
The safety margin allows for errors made in estimating the pore pressure. A commonly
used margin of error is 4 pcf or one that will provide 200-500 psi of excess (overbalance)
mud hydrostatic bottom hole pressure over the formation pore pressure. Similarly, a 4 pcf
kick margin is subtracted from the true fracture gradient line to obtain a design fracture
gradient line. If no kick margin is provided, it is impossible to take a kick at the casing
setting depth without causing a fracture and a possible underground blowout.

To reach the desired depth objective, the effective drilling fluid density shown at Point a
is chosen to prevent the flow of formation fluid into the wellbore. To carry this drilling
fluid density, without exceeding the fracture gradient of the weakest formation exposed
within the wellbore, the protective intermediate casing string must be extended to at least
a depth at Point b. This is, where the fracture gradient is equal to the mud density to drill
to Point a. Similarly, to drill to Point b and set intermediate casing, the drilling fluid
density shown at Point c will be needed and will require surface casing to be set at least
to the depth at Point d. If possible, a kick margin is subtracted from the true fracture-
gradient line to obtain a design fracture-gradient line. If no kick margin is provided, it is
impossible to take a kick at the casing-setting depth without causing a fracture and a
possible underground blowout.

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Equivalent Mud Density

Conductor

Fracture Gradient Surface


6,000 D
Normal
Pressure

9,000

Depth Fracture Gradient -


Pore
Pressure Kick Margin
12,000 Gradient C B Intermediate

Mud Density (Pore


Press + Trip Margin)

15,000
Depth Objective Production
A

Sample relationship among casing setting depths,


formation pore pressures gradient, and fracture gradient
Figure 10

Other factors such as the protection of fresh ground water reservoirs, the presence of lost
circulation zones, pressure depleted zones that tend to cause pipe sticking problems, and
governmental regulations can also affect casing setting depths. Experience in some areas
might determine where the best casing seat might be in order to get a good cement job.

The conductor casing setting depth is based upon the amount require to prevent shallow
washout of the shallow borehole when drilling to the depth the surface casing is set and
to support the weight of the surface casing. The conductor casing must be able to sustain
pressures that might be encountered during diverting operations without washing out
around the outside of the conductor. The conductor is often driven into the ground with a
big hammer, the resistance of the ground determines how much conductor is set. The
casing driving operation is stopped when the number of blows per foot exceeds some
specified number.

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Example:

A well is to be drilled to a depth of 15,000. Determine the number of casing strings


needed to reach this depth objective safely, and select the casing setting depth of each
string. Pore pressure and fracture gradient data are given below. Allow a 4pcf trip
margin, and a 4 pcf kick margin when making the casing seat selections. The minimum
length of surface casing required to protect the freshwater aquifers is 2,000 ft.
Approximately 180 ft. of casing is generally required to prevent washout on the outside
of the conductor.

Depth, ft Pore Pressure, psi Fracture Gradient, psi/ft


1,000 457 0.62
2,000 914 0.66
4,000 1,828 0.73
6,000 2,742 0.79
8,000 3,656 0.83
9,000 4,114 0.85
10,000 4,800 0.87
11,000 6,643 0.9
12,000 9,235 0.935
13,000 10,883 0.95
14,000 11,930 0.957
15,000 12,950 0.967

Solution:

1. Calculate the equivalent mud density for the pore pressure gradient:

PorePressure 457
Equivalent mud density @ 1000 = 144 = 144 = 65.8 pcf
Depth 1000

2. Calculate equivalent mud density for fracture gradient:


Equivalent mud density for fracture gradient:
= Fracture Gradient 144 = 0.62 144 = 89.3 pcf

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Equivalent mud densities for the remaining depths are tabulated below. The planned mud
density is found by adding 4 pcf to the pore pressure equivalent mud density. Similarly,
the design fracture equivalent mud density is obtained by subtracting 4 pcf from the
fracture gradient equivalent mud density.

Equivalent Mud Densities, pcf


Depth (ft) Pore Pressure Planned Mud Fracture Gradient Design Fracture
Gradient (pcf) Density (pcf) (pcf) Gradient (pcf)
1000 65.8 69.8 89.28 85.28
2000 65.8 69.8 95.04 91.04
4000 65.8 69.8 105.12 101.12
6000 65.8 69.8 113.76 109.76
8000 65.8 69.8 119.5 115.5
9000 65.8 69.8 122.4 118.4
10000 69.12 73.12 125.2 121.2
11000 86.9 90.9 129.6 125.6
12000 110.8 114.8 134.6 130.6
13000 120.5 124.5 136.8 132.8
14000 122.7 126.7 137.8 133.8
15000 124.3 128.3 139.2 135.2

The pore-pressure equivalent mud density, the planned mud density, the fracture gradient
equivalent density and the fracture design equivalent mud density are plotted in Fig (11).

From the graph, it can be seen to drill to a depth of 15,000 ft, a 128.3 pcf mud will be
required (Point A). This, in turn, requires intermediate casing to be set at 11,700 ft (Point
B) to prevent fracture of the formation above 11,700 ft. Similarly, to drill safely to a
depth of 11,700 ft to set intermediate casing, a mud density of 110 pcf is required (Point
C). This requires surface casing to be set at 6,600 ft (Point D). Because the formation at
6,600 ft is normally pressured, the usual conductor casing depth of 180 ft is appropriate.
Surface casing is set at 2000 ft to protect the freshwater aquifers.

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60 80 100 120 140


0

2,000

4,000

Design Fracture
Gradient
6,000
D
Depth, ft

8,000
Fracture
Mud Density
Gradient

10,000

Pore
Pressure
C
12,000 B

14,000

Equivalent Mud Density, pcf A

Figure 11

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SELECTION OF CASING AND BIT SIZES


The design of the casing sizes is performed from the bottom to the top, starting with the
production tubing. The tubing size is designed to maintain a specific wellhead flowing
pressure or allow the well to produce at a specified flowrate. The size of the production
casing or liner is based on the size of the tubing. The production casing should have an inside
diameter such that there is adequate radial clearance between the tubing and casing to allow
for fishing the tubing during workover operations. To enable the production casing to be
placed in the well, the bit size used to drill the last interval of the well must be 0.375-0.5 or
preferably 0.75 larger than the OD of the production casing, see Table (9). The selected bit
size should provide sufficient clearance between the borehole and the casing to allow for mud
cake on the borehole and for installing centralizers and scratchers. Sufficient clearance is also
necessary to prevent premature dehydration of the cement and the formation of cement
bridges during cementing. The bit used to drill the hole for the production casing must fit
inside the casing string above, see Table (10). This, in turn, determines the minimum size of
the second deepest casing string. With similar considerations, the bit size and casing size of
successively shallower well segments are selected.

Table (9) provides commonly used bit sizes for drilling a hole which various API casing
strings generally can be placed safely without getting casing stuck. In Table (10) are casing
IDs and drift diameters for various standard casing sizes and wall thicknesses. The pipe
manufacturers assures that a bit smaller than the drift diameter will pass through every joint
of casing bought. In most instances, bits larger than the drift diameter but smaller than the ID
will also pass, but this is not good practice.

Commonly Used Bit Sizes for Running Casing


Table 9
Casing Size (OD in) Coupling Size (OD in) Common Bit Sizes (in)
4 1/2 5.0 6, 6 1/8, 6 1/4
5 5.563 6 1/2, 6 3/4
5 1/2 6.05 7 7/8, 8 3/8
6 5/8 7.39 7 7/8, 8 3/8, 8 1/2
7 7.656 8 5/8, 8 3/4, 9 1/2
8 5/8 9.625 11, 12 1/4
9 5/8 11.75 12 1/4
10 3/4 11.75 15
13 3/8 14.375 17 1/2, 17
18 5/8 19.625 22
20 21.0 24,26
24 25.25 &, 25.5 28

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Commonly Used Bit Sizes That Will Pass Through API Casing
Table 10
Casing Size OD Weight Per Internal Drift Common Bit Sizes
inches Ft, lb/ft Diameter, in Diameter, in inches
4 1/2 11.6 4.0 3.875 3 7/8
13.5 3.92 3.795 3 3/4

5 11.5 4.56 4.435 4 1/4


13 4.494 4.369
15 4.408 4.283

5 1/2 17 4.892 4.764 4 3/4


20 4.778 4.653 4 5/8
23 4.67 4.545 4 1/4

6 5/8 17 6.135 6.010 6


20 6.049 5.924 5 5/8
24 5.921 5.796
28 5.791 5.666

7 20 6.456 6.331 6 1/4


23 6.366 6.241
26 6.276 6.151 6 1/8
29 6.184 6.059 6
32 6.094 5.969 5 7/8
35 6.006 5.879

9 5/8 36 8.921 8.765 8 3/4, 8 1/2


40 8.835 8.679 8 1/2
43.5 8.755 8.599
47 8.681 8.525
53.5 8.535 8.379 8 3/8
58.4 8.435 8.375 (SD)

13 3/8 61 12.515 12.359 12 1/4


68 12.414 12.259
72 12.347 12.191
86 12.125 12.000 (SD) 12

18-5/8 87.5 17.755 17.567 17-1/2

20 94 19.124 18.936 17-1/2

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The most commonly used bit sizes are highlighted in Tables 9 and 10. Selection of casing
sizes that permit the use of commonly used bits is advantageous because the bit
manufacturers make readily available a much larger variety of bit types and features in
these common sizes.

Example:
Using the data in the previous example, select casing sizes (ODs) for each casing string.
A 4-1/2 tubing size is required to produce the well at optimum flow rate.

Solution:
A 5-7/8 overshot fishing tool is required to catch the coupling on 4-1/2 tubing. The
overshot must be able to pass through the drift diameter of the production casing.
Therefore from Table (10), the 7 OD casing has drift diameters larger than 5-7/8. So a
7 OD production string is desired. From Table (9), a 8-1/2 bit is required to drill the
hole for 7 casing. From Table (10), the 9-5/8 casing is the smallest OD casing that has
a drift diameter larger than 8-1/2. Therefore the size of the intermediate casing string at
11,800 is 9-5/8. From Table (10), a 12-1/4 bit will pass through the drift diameter of
the 13-3/8 casing. A 17-1/2 bit is needed to drill the hole for the 13-3/8 casing.
Finally, Table (10) shows that a 17-1/2 bit will pass through 18-5/8 casing to be set at
2000.

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SELECTION OF WEIGHT, GRADE, AND COUPLINGS


Once length and size of each casing string are established, the weight, grade and
couplings used in each string can be determined. In general, each casing string is
designed to withstand the most severe loading conditions anticipated during casing
placement and the life of the well. The loading conditions that are always considered are
burst, collapse, and tension. When appropriate, other loading conditions such as bending
or buckling must also be considered. Because the loading conditions in a well tend to
vary with depth, it is often possible to obtain a less expensive casing design with several
different weights, grades, and couplings in a single casing string.

It is often impossible to predict the various loading conditions that a casing string will be
subjected to during the life of a well. The assumed design load must be severe enough
that there is a very low probability of a more severe situation actually occurring and
causing casing failure. When appropriate, the effects of casing wear and corrosion should
be included in the design criteria. These effects tend to reduce the casing thickness and
greatly increase the stresses where they occur.

The casing design criteria used by various drilling companies differ significantly and are
too numerous to include in this text. Instead, design criteria that are representative of
current drilling engineering practice are presented.

To achieve a minimum casing design, the most economical casing and coupling that will
meet the design loading conditions must be used for all depths. Because casing prices
change so frequently, a detailed list of prices in this text is not practical. In general,
minimum cost is achieved when casing with the minimum weight per foot in the
minimum grade that will meet the design criteria is selected. For this illustration, only
API casing and couplings will be considered in the example applications. It will be
assumed that the cost per foot increases with the burst strength and that the cost per
connector increases with increasing joint strength.

As stated before, casing strings serve several functions and therefore drilling conditions
for surface casing are different from that for intermediate casing or liners. Thus each type
of casing string will have different design criteria. General design criteria will be
presented for surface casing, intermediate casing and production casing.

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Surface Casing

Design loading conditions for surface casing are illustrated in Fig 10 for burst, collapse,
and tension considerations. The high internal pressure loading condition used for the
burst design is based on a well control condition assumed to occur while circulating out a
large kick. The high external pressure loading condition used for the collapse design is
based on a severe lost circulation problem. The high axial tension loading condition is
based on assumption of stuck casing while the casing is run in the hole before cementing
operations.
BURST COLLAPSE TENSION
Normal Press.
Empty
GAS
Mud
Lost Circ. Mud
Z
Gas
Kick

GAS
Lost Circulation
Fig. 10
Drilling casing design loads for burst, collapse, and tension

The burst design should insure that formation fracture pressure at the casing shoe will be
exceeded before the casing burst pressure is reached. Therefore, this design uses
formation fracture as a safety pressure release mechanism to assure that casing rupture
will not occur at the surface and endanger lives. The design pressure at the casing seat is
equal to the fracture pressure plus a safety margin to allow for an injection pressure that
is slightly higher than the fracture pressure. If the fracture gradient is not known, a
gradient of 1.0 psi/ ft may be safely assumed. The pressure inside the casing is calculated
assuming that all of the drilling fluid in the casing is lost to the fractured formation,
leaving only formation gas in the casing. The pressure at the surface is the bottom hole
fracture pressure plus a safety margin, less the hydrostatic pressure of the gas column. If
gas gradients are not known, it is practical to assume a minimum gas gradient of 0.10
psi/ft for pressures originally shallower than 10,000 ft and 0.15 psi/ft for pressure sources
deeper than 10,000 ft. If the formations below the surface casing do not have any gas,
then gradients of the formation fluids (oil or water) should be used. The external
pressure, or back-up pressure outside the casing that helps resist burst, is assumed to be
equal to the normal formation pore pressure. The beneficial effect of cement or higher
density mud outside the casing is ignored because of the possibility of both a locally poor
cement bond and mud degradation that occur over time. A safety factor of 1.1 is used to
provide an

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additional safety margin during transportation and handling of the pipe. The burst load at
the casing seat is the fracture pressure plus a safety margin minus formation pore-
pressure (back-up pressure). The burst load at the surface is the surface pressure inside
the casing. The burst load line is defined by two points; burst load at the casing seat and
the burst load at the surface. Connecting the two points gives the burst load line in the
casing from top to bottom. Multiplying the burst loads at the two points by a safety factor
determines the burst design line.

The collapse design is based on the most severe lost-circulation problem that is felt to be
possible or on the most severe collapse loading anticipated when the casing is run. For
both cases, the maximum possible external pressure that tends to cause casing collapse
results from the fluid that is in the hole when the casing is placed and cemented. The
beneficial effect of the cement and of possible mud degradation is ignored, but the
detrimental effect of axial tension on collapse-pressure rating is considered. The collapse
rating should be de-rated above the neutral point using Eq. (11). Below the neutral point
the casing is in compression and adjustment of the collapse rating is not required. The
depth of the neutral point of a casing string in mud can be calculated by the following
formula:
W
Dn = Dt 1 (14)
489
where, Dn = depth to neutral point, ft
Dt = setting depth of casing string, ft
W = mud weight, pcf

When correcting the collapse-pressure rating of the casing, it is recommended that the
axial tension be computed as the hanging weight of the casing for the hydrostatic
pressures present when the maximum collapse load is encountered plus any additional
tension put in the pipe during and after landing. The beneficial effect of pressure inside
casing can also be taken into account by the consideration of a maximum possible
depression of the mud level inside the casing. A safety factor generally is applied to the
design-loading condition to provide an additional safety margin. The minimum fluid
level in the casing while it is placed in the well depends on field practices. The casing
usually is filled with mud after each joint of casing is made up and run in the hole, and an
internal casing pressure that is roughly equivalent to the external casing pressure is
maintained. However, in some cases the casing is floated in or run in at least partially
empty to reduce the maximum hook load before reaching bottom. If this practice is
anticipated, the maximum depth of the mud level in the casing must be used in collapse
calculations.

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Tension design requires a consideration of axial stress present when the casing is run,
during cementing operations, when the casing is loaded in the slips, and during
subsequent drilling and production operations. The design load is usually based on
conditions that occur when the casing is run. It is assumed that the casing becomes stuck
near the bottom of the hole and that a minimum amount of pull, in excess of the casing
weight in mud, is required to pull the casing free. A minimum safety factor criterion is
applied such that the design load will be dictated by the maximum load resulting from the
use of either the safety factor or the overpull force whichever is greater. The minimum
overpull force tends to control the design in the upper portion of the casing string, and the
minimum safety factor tends to control the lower part of the casing string. Once the
casing design is completed, maximum axial stress anticipated during cementing, casing
landing, and subsequent drilling operations should also be checked to ensure that the
design load is never exceeded.

When the selection of casing weight and grade in a combination string is determined by
collapse, a simultaneous design for collapse and tension is best. The greatest depth at
which the next most economical casing can be used depends on its corrected collapse-
pressure rating, which in turn depends on the axial tension at that depth. Therefore, the
corrected collapse-pressure rating cannot be computed until the axial tension is
calculated. It takes an iterative procedure, in which the depth of the bottom of the next
most economical casing section is first selected on the basis of uncorrected table value of
collapse resistance, to be used. The axial tension at this point is then calculated, and the
collapse resistance is then corrected. This allows the depth of the bottom of the next
casing section to be updated for a second iteration. Several iterations may be required to
arrive at a solution.

Intermediate Casing

Intermediate casing is similar to surface casing in that its function is to permit the final
depth objective of the well to be reached safely. When possible, the general procedure
outlined for surface casing is also used for intermediate casing strings. However, in some
cases, the burst-design requirements in Fig (10) are extremely expensive to meet,
especially when the resulting high working pressure is in excess of the working pressure
of the surface BOP stacks and choke manifolds for the available rigs. In this case, the
operator may accept a slightly larger risk of loosing the well and select a less severe
design load in which the burst limitation is equivalent to the BOP stack rating. The
design load remains based on an underground blowout situation assumed to occur while a
gas kick is circulated out. However, the acceptable mud loss from the casing is limited to
the

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maximum amount that will cause the working pressure of the surface BOP stack and
choke manifold to be reached. If the existing surface equipment is to be retained, it is
pointless to design the casing to have a higher working pressure than the surface
equipment.

When the surface burst-pressure load is based on the working pressure of the surface
equipment, Pmax, internal pressure at intermediate depths should be determined, as shown
in Fig 11. BURST
Pmax
Normal Press.
Dm Dlc
MUD

Fracture

Gas

GAS

Fig. 11
Modified burst design load for intermediate casing

It is assumed that the upper portion of the casing is filled with mud and the lower portion
of the casing is filled with gas. The depth of the mud/gas interface, Dm, is determined
with the following relationship.
144(Pi Pmax ) g D lc
Dm = (15)
m g m g

where Pi , in psi, is the injection pressure opposite the fractured zone, m and g are the
densities of the mud and gas in pcf, and Dlc is the depth of the fractured zone in ft. The
density of the drilling mud is determined to be the maximum density anticipated while
drilling to the depth of the next full-length casing string. This permits the calculation of
the maximum intermediate pressures between the surface and the casing seat. The depth
of the fractured zone is determined from the fracture gradient vs. depth plot to be the
depth of the weakest exposed formation. The injection pressure is equal to the fracture
pressure plus an assumed safety margin to account for a possible pressure drop within the
hydraulic fracture.

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Example:

A gas exploration well has 13-3/8 casing set at 6200 ft. Design a 9-5/8 casing string to
be set at 10,400 ft in 73 pcf mud that will be subjected, in the event of a kick, to a
formation pressure gradient of 0.57 psi/ft from the next hole drilled to a TD of 13,900 ft.

The 9-5/8 casing in stock at the Aramco pipe yard is:

Grade Weight (lb/ft) Collapse Burst Tensile-1000 lb


Rating Rating LT&C BUTT

C-75 43.5 3750 5930 776 1016


L-80 47 4750 6870 905 1161
C-95 53.5 8960 9410 1220 1458

Collapse

At the surface collapse pressure = 0

At the casing shoe collapse pressure = (73 pcf x 10,400 ft)/144 = 5272 psi

It is obvious that the 53.5# will have to be run on bottom. The question is how
much 53.5# do we need to run before we can switch over to the less expensive
lighter weight casing.

Taking the collapse figure for the 47# we can calculate the deepest point to which
this weight casing can be run and still satisfy the collapse requirements with the
1.125 SF.
(4750 psi/1.125) (73 pcf/144 in2/ft2) = 8,330 ft

Doing the same for the 43.5# casing we get:

(3750psi/1.125)(73pcf/144in2/ft2)=6,575 ft. Therefore designing the

casing string for collapse gives us:


10,400 ft - 8,330 ft 53.5# C-95
8,330 ft - 6,575 ft 47# L-80
6,575 ft - surface 43.5# C-75

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Burst:

The 9-5/8 in casing will be subjected, in the event of a kick, to a formation


pressure of:

0.57 psi/ft x 13,900 ft = 7,923 psi

The burst pressure at the shoe is: internal pressure - external pressure or:

Burst at shoe = [Pf - (TD - CSD) x G] - [CSD x (Mud Gradient)]

Where: CSD is casing setting depth = 10,400 ft, and

Mud Gradient is 73 pcf/144 in2/ft2 = 0.507 psi/ft

A gas kick is expected for this well, since G is 0.1 psi/ft, we get:

Burst at shoe =

[7923 psi - ((13,900 ft-10,400 ft) x 0.1 psi/ft)]-(10,400 ft x 0.507 psi/ft)) = 2300 psi

Burst at the surface is:

Pf - (TD x G) or: 7923 psi - (13,900 ft x 0.1 psi/ft) = 6533 psi x 1.1 S.F. = 7186 psi

By comparing 7186 psi with what the burst rating for 43.5# C-75 of 5930 psi, we
can see that some heavier weight 47# L-80 and 53.5# C-95 casing is required for
the top of the string instead of the 43.5#. We can calculate the amount required
by each with:

(Burst at surface - casing burst rating)/mud gradient = (7186 - 5930) / (73/144) = 2,478

and since the burst rating for 47# L-80 is 6870 psi which is less than 7186 psi we
then calculate how much 53.5# C-95 is required at the surface in order to satisfy
the burst requirement. (7186 - 6870) (73/144) = 623 ft

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Therefore, from the previous collapse design we adjust the design for burst
considerations and we can see that 47# and 53.5# casing is needed at the top of
the string. We now have a casing design, in the order going in the hole, of:

10,400 ft - 8,330 ft 53.5# C-95


8,330 ft - 6,575 ft 47# L-80
6,575 ft - 2,478 ft 43.5# C-75
2,478 ft - 623 ft 47# L-80
623 ft - surface 53.5# C-95

Next we need to check the tensile strength of the design to ensure that this design
will pass the tensile design criteria.

Tension

The suitability of the selected design will be investigated by considering the total
tensile load resulting from the buoyant weight of the string.

The buoyancy factor for 73 pcf mud is: Fb = 1 - (73/490) = 0.849

Starting from the bottom, the weight carried by each section is as follows:

Depth Weight x 1000 lb Cum Weight in Air Weight in Mud

10,400 ft - 8,330 ft 97.3 kips 97.3 kips 82.6 kips


8,330 ft - 6,575 ft 82.5 kips 97.3 + 82.5 = 179.8 kips 152.6 kips
6,575 ft - 2,478 ft 178.2 kips 179.8 + 178.2 = 358 kips 303.9 kips
2,478 ft - 623 ft 87.2 kips 358 + 87.2 = 445.2 kips 378 kips
623 ft - surface 33.3 kips 445.2 + 33.3 = 478.5 kips 406.7 kips

To ensure that the selected design meets the safety factor for tension of 1.6 we
divide the cumulative weight of each pipe section into the tensile rating of each
grade. We then come up with a design factor:

53.5# C-95 1220 kips / 82.6 kips = 14.8


47# L-80 905 kips / 152.6 kips = 5.9
43.5# C-75 776 kips / 303.9 kips = 2.5
47# L-80 905 kips / 378 kips = 2.4
53.5# C-95 1220 kips / 406.7 kips = 3.0

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From these results we can see that the design exceeds the tensile safety factor of
1.6.

Biaxial Effects

Finally we need to check the weakest grade for biaxial collapse correction. Grade
C-75 43.5# is the weakest grade, carrying a buoyant load of: 303,900 lb. By
dividing this load by the yield strength of 942,000 lb we can see:
303.9 kips / 942 kips = 0.32

Looking at Table 8 on page 25 we see that the collapse reduces to 79% of its
original value of 3750, or 2963 psi. Therefore, rechecking the collapse safety
factor for that casing grade at that depth of 2478 ft we get: 2963 psi / [2478 ft x
(73 pcf/144 in2/ft2 )] = 2.3, then since the safety factor is still greater than 1.125,
the biaxial effect on collapse did not change the casing design.

Intermediate Casing With a Liner


The burst design-load criteria for intermediate casing on which a drilling liner will be
supported later must be based on the fracture gradient below the liner. The burst design
considers the intermediate casing and liner as a unit. All other design criteria for the
intermediate casing are identical to those previously presented.

Production Casing
Example burst and collapse design loading conditions for production casing are
illustrated in Fig. 12. The example burst-design loading condition assumes that a
producing well has an initial shut-in BHP equal to the formation pore pressure and a
gaseous produced fluid in the well. The production casing must be designed so that it will
not fail if the tubing fails. A tubing leak is assumed to be possible at any depth. It
generally is also assumed that the density of the completion fluid in the casing above the
packer is equal to the density of the mud left outside the casing. If a tubing leak occurs
near the surface, the effect of the hydrostatic pressure of the completion fluid in the
casing would negate the effect of the external mud pressure on the casing. Mud
degradation outside the casing is neglected because the formation pore pressure of any
exposed formation would nearly equal the mud hydrostatic pressure.

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The collapse-design load shown in Fig. 12 is based on conditions late in the life of the
reservoir, when reservoir pressure has been depleted to a very low (negligible)
abandonment pressure. A leak in the tubing or packer could cause the loss of the
completion fluid, so the low internal pressure is not restricted to just the portion of the
casing below the packer. Thus, for design purposes, the entire casing is considered
empty. As before, the fluid density outside the casing is assumed to be that of the mud in
the well when the casing was run, and the beneficial effect of the cement is ignored.

BURST COLLAPSE
GAS IN PRODUCTION
TUBING CASING
TUBING AT
NEGLIGIBLE MUD DENSITY
PRESSURE CASING WAS RUN
COMPLETION
FLUID LEAK IN TUBING
OR PACKER
FORMATION CAUSES LOSS
PRESSURE OF COMPL FLUID

DEPLETED
FORMATION
PRESSURE

Fig. 12
Production casing design loads for burst and collapse

In the absence of any unusual conditions, the tension design load criteria for production
casing are the same as for surface and intermediate casing. When unusual conditions are
present, maximum stresses associated with these conditions must be checked to
determine whether they exceed the design load in any portion of the string.

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GRAPHICAL METHOD, COLLAPSE AND BURST DESIGN

Graphical pipe selection is the most 0


widely used method of picking
proper weights, grades, and tension. 2000
Since the collapse and burst loads
vary linearly with depth, a plot may
be made using the previous 4000

example. The calculated values at


the surface and setting depth for the 6000

collapse and burst pressures. A 1.1.25 S.F.


Collapse
collapse design line is drawn on a
8000
graph of depth versus pressure by
using the hydrostatic pressure of 73
pcf mud at 10,400 ft. of 5,272 psi 10,000
Setting Depth
and zero hydrostatic pressure at the 5931

surface. The appropriate design 12,000

factor of 1.125 is applied to the 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

hydrostatic pressure and a line is Pressure, thousand psi


then drawn (see below).

Similarly, the maximum burst load 0


6533 psi 7186 psi

line is drawn on the same graph by


connecting the burst load points of 2000

2,300 psi at 10,400 ft and 6,533 psi


at the surface. The burst design line 4000

is established by multiplying 2,300 1.1 S.F. Burst


Design Line

and 6,533 psi by the burst design 6000


factor of 1.1 or 2,530 psi at 10,400
ft and 7,186 psi at the surface and
drawing a line between these two 8000

points.
10,000
Setting Depth
2300 psi 2530 psi

12,000

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Pressure, thousand psi

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The first section of pipe is selected based on the collapse requirement at the setting depth.
In this example 53.5# C-95 has a collapse rating of 8960 psi which is off the chart. The
collapse rating of the next weaker section is plotted on the appropriate collapse design
line and the changeover depth read at the intersection on the graph. A vertical line for the
first section is drawn from the casing setting depth to the changeover depth and a
horizontal line is drawn from the intersection of the second collapse rating plotted on the
design line to the 6533 psi 7186 psi
collapse rating of the 0 53.5# C-95

first section.
Subsequent segments 2000
are similarly 1.1.25 S.F.
47# L-80

determined. 4000
Collapse Line

Concurrently burst
ratings are plotted and 1.1 S.F.
Burst Line
43.5# C-75

vertical and horizontal 6000


lines are drawn. Burst Design
Line
47# L-80

Above the cement top 8000


Collapse Design Line
and when the casing is
in tension, the collapse
53.5# C-95

10,000
ratings are reduced by Setting Depth
2300 psi 2530 psi 5931 psi
the effect of tension on
collapse. 12,000

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Pressure, thousand psi

At changeover depths above the cement top, the axial stress is calculated. Where the pipe
is in tension, a percent of rated collapse is read from Table 8 based on the axial tension.
Using the percent of rated collapse multiplied by the changeover depth adjusts the depth
to the correct depth. The collapse design factor at the bottom of the weaker section then
is calculated to determine if the collapse design requirements are sufficient. If the depth
is not correct, the design factor calculated times the depth used will adjust the changeover
point to the correct depth. By repetition the correct depth will finally be selected. If the
pipe is not in tension, plot the collapse rating of the next weaker section in collapse on
the design line and continue the design as before.

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As the design continues upward from the bottom a depth will be encountered where
collapse no longer controls the design. Above this depth the design will be controlled by
burst or tension. If burst controls the design, the burst ratings of the casing are plotted on
the burst design line and the burst loads are read from the burst load line at the
corresponding depth. Changeover depths are read directly from the graph. If tension is
controlling the design, the changeover depth is calculated directly. The changeover depth
is calculated by using the tension rating divided by 1.6 and subtracting the buoyed weight
of the pipe below; from this remainder divide by the buoyed weight per foot of the pipe
used to determine the footage of pipe to be used.

Example:

Graphically design a 13-3/8 intermediate casing string to a depth of 6,250 ft. The mud
weight is 67 pcf.

For burst considerations, use an injection pressure gradient that is equivalent to a mud
density of 2.5 pcf greater than the fracture gradient of 104 pcf, and a safety factor of 1.1.
Assume any kick will be composed of gas with a 0.1 psi/ft gradient. The normal
formation pore pressure for the area is 0.46 psi/ft.

For collapse considerations, assume that a normal pressure, lost circulation zone could be
encountered as deep as the next casing seat, that no permeable zones are present above the lost
circulation zone, and use a safety factor of 1.125. Also assume that the axial tension results
only from the hanging weight of the casing under prevailing borehole conditions. The next
hole section will be drilled to a depth of 10,000 ft with 73 pcf mud.

For tension considerations, use a minimum over-pull of 100,000 lb. or a safety factor of
1.6, whichever is greater.

The 13-3/8 casing available is listed below.

Grade Weight (lb./ft) Collapse (psi) Burst (psi) Yield Strength (kips)
K-55 LT&C 54.5 1,130 2,730 853
K-55 BT&C 68 1,950 3,450 1,069
N-80 BT&C 72 2,670 5,380 1,661
N-80 BT&C 85 3,870 6,360 1,951

Solution:

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Burst: The fracture gradient at 6,250 ft. is equivalent to 104 pcf. For an injection-
pressure gradient that is 2.5 pcf greater than the fracture pressure:

6,250(104 + 2.5)
Pinj = = 4,622 psig
144

Since the formation gas gradient is 0.1 psi/ft, the surface casing pressure for the design
considerations is,
4,622 (0.1 6,250 ) = 3,997 psig

The external pressure at the surface is zero. For a normal pore pressure of 0.46 psi/ft, the
external pressure at the casing seat is,

0.46 (6,250 ) = 2,875 psig

The pressure differential that tends to burst the casing is: 3,997 psig at the surface and
1,747 psig (4,622-2,875) at the casing seat. Multiplying each of these pressures by a
safety factor of (1.1) yields a burst design load of 1.1 (3,997) = 4,397 psig at the surface,
and 1.1 (1,747) = 1,921 psig at the casing seat. Graphically draw the burst line from
4,397 psig at the surface to 1,921 psig at 6,250 ft. in bold, as shown in Fig. (A). Plot
the burst resistance values for the above grades of casing as shown in Fig. (A) also in
bold.

Collapse: The external pressure of the collapse-design load is controlled by the


maximum loss in fluid level that could occur, if a severe lost circulation problem is
encountered. The maximum depth of the mud level is calculated with:

( max gp )
Dm = D lc
max
Where,
Dm is the depth to where the mud level will fall
Dlc is the lost circulation depth
gp is the pore pressure gradient of the lost circulation zone
max is the maximum mud density anticipated in drilling to Dlc

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It is assumed that a normal pressure, lost circulation zone unexpectedly is encountered


near the depth of the next casing seat (10,000 ft.) while the planned 73 pcf mud is used,
and if no permeability zones are exposed above this depth, then

Dm =
(73 (0.46 144)) 10,000 = 926 ft.
73
For these conditions the mud level could fall 926 ft. down the inside of the 13-3/8
casing. The internal pressure is assumed to be zero at 926 ft. and,
(6,250 926) 73 = 2,700 psig at the casing seat.
144
However, for this example lets consider the worse possible scenario, that the entire
contents of the casing are lost to a lost circulation zone at 10,000 ft. Therefore, the
internal pressure would be zero at 6,250 ft., the casing seat. The pressure differential that
67
tends to collapse the casing is zero at the surface and, 6,250 = 3,908 psig at 6,250 ft.,
144
the casing seat. Multiplying this pressure by a safety factor of 1.125 yields a collapse-
design load of zero at the surface and 2,908 1.125 = 3,271 psig at 6,250 ft. Graphically
draw the collapse line from 0 at the surface to 3,217 psig at 6,250 ft., as shown in Fig.
(A). Plot the collapse resistance values for the above grades of casing as shown in Fig.
(A).

Pressure, psi

0 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000


-250 K-55 K-55 N-80 K-55 K-55 N-80
54.5# 68# 72# 54.5# 68# 72#
-1250
N-80
Depth, Feet

85#
-2250
Collapse
-3250
Burst
-4250
-5250
-6250

Figure A

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CHAPTER CASING DESIGN

The first section of pipe is selected based on the collapse requirement at the setting depth.
In this example, 85# N-80 is the only casing type to satisfy the collapse requirement of
3,217 psig, having a collapse rating of 3,870 psig. A vertical line for the first section
(85#) is drawn from the casing setting depth (6,250 ft.) to the changeover depth for the
next lower weight casing, that lies to the right of the collapse design line, 72# at 5,100 ft.
A horizontal line is drawn from the intersection of the second collapse rating plotted on
the design line to the collapse rating of the first section. The collapse rating of the next
weaker section is plotted on the appropriate line and the changeover depth read at the
intersection on the graph. Subsequent segments are similarly determined. Concurrently
burst ratings are plotted and vertical and horizontal lines are drawn, see Fig. (B).

Based on the combined burst and collapse satisfaction, Figure B indicates the following
casing selection.

Depth Grade & Weight Weight in 67 pcf mud, kips


0-2,380 L-80, 72 lb/ft 147.74
2,380-3,725 K-55, 68 lb/ft 78.85
3,725-5,100 L-80, 72 lb/ft 85.35
5,100-6,250 N-80, 85 lb/ft 84.2
Total: 396.21

Pressure, psi
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000
0
-250
K-55 K-55 N-80 K-55 K-55 N-80
54.5# 68# 72# 54.5# 68# 72#
-1250
N-80
Depth, Feet

85#
-2250
Collapse
-3250
Burst
-4250

-5250

-6250
Starting

Figure B

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Tension: The third step in the casing design is to check the tension design requirements
for the preliminary casing design found to satisfy the burst and collapse strength
requirements. The design loading condition for tension was specified to be while the
casing is run, when the well contains 67-pcf mud. If bending and shock loading is
ignored, the casing design is obtained by comparing the buoyed tensions of each section
multiplied by a safety factor of 1.6, with the buoyed tensions plus 100,000 lb. of each
section, assuming the casing was stuck in the borehole near the bottom and 100,000 lb. of
pull was imposed. Then select the larger of the two results (see table below) and insure
that these results are below the lowest value of either the body or coupling yield strength
of each selected casing section.

Selected Weight in Buoyant Buoyant hanging Greater of Yield Satisfies


casing 67 pcf hanging weight weight of each 100M# over- Strength design
weights mud times of each section section, plus pull or 1.6 kips criteria,
& grades 1.6, kips times 1.6, kips 100M#, kips S.F., kips Y/N
72#,L-80 236.4 634.1 496.2 634.1 1,661 Y
68#,K-55 126.2 397.7 348.5 397.7 1,069 Y
72#,L-80 136.6 271.4 269.6 271.4 1,661 Y
85#,N-80 134.8 134.8 184.3 184.3 1,951 Y
Total:
634.1

The above table indicates the casing selection satisfies tension requirement.

Biaxial Effects: The weakest grade of the selected casing should be checked for biaxial
effects as follows:
Buoyant Weight carried by weakest joint
Tensile Ratio =
Yield strength of body or coupling

Since the weakest grade is 68# K-55, the buoyant weight to be supported by the top joint
of that section is 248.5 kips.
248.5 1,000
Tensile ratio = = 0.232
1,069,000

Table 8 shows that the collapse resistance of the casing is reduced to approximately 86%
of its original value, PC = 1,950 for K-55, 68 lb/ft casing.

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Pca = 1,950 x 0.86 = 1,677 psi

Collapse pressure due to mud weight at 2,380 ft is.

Pc = (67/144) x 2,380 = 1,107 psi

Therefore safety factor in collapse for top joint of K-55, 68 lb/ft casing is

1,677
SF = = 1.51
1,107

Since SF = 1.51 > 1.125, the selection is satisfactory.

An extra two joints of the heaviest casing is placed on top for drift control. Therefore the
following casing string meets the design criteria.

Depth, ft. Grade & Weight


0-80 N-80, 85 lb/ft
80-2,380 L-80, 72 lb/ft
2,380-3,725 K-55, 68 lb/ft
3,725-5,100 L-80, 72 lb/ft
5,100-6,250 N-80, 85 lb/ft

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CHAPTER CASING DESIGN

CASING CENTRALIZER SPACINGS

The centralizers on a casing string are used to provide clearance between the casing and
the wall of the hole. The clearance is called standoff. The major function of a centralizer
is to centralize the casing in the hole and to prevent it from lying against the wall, thus
providing a reasonable uniform cement layer around the casing.

Centralizer spacing should be sufficiently close to keep the casing to wall clearance at
some acceptable minimum distance. The casing couplings or various types of attachable
stops control the vertical travel of the centralizer.

The following equations apply to all pipe in normal oilfield service.

(WF)b ( 2
= Wcs + 0.0062963 mi d i mo d o
2
)
( 2 2
T = 0.0062963 TVD mi d i mo d o coso) CS S

CS
F = 2Tsin DLS + (WF)b CSsin
2

F
CS =
0.0175T DLS + (WF)b sin

Where: F = force on each centralizer if spaced Cs feet apart (lbf)


Wcs = weight of casing (lb/ft)
= average inclination angle (degrees)
T = tension in the wall of the casing (lbf)
TVD = true vertical depth
S = distance from casing shoe to the centralizer in question
mi and mo = the mud weights in and out of the casing, respectively
DLS = dog leg severity
do = outer casing diameter
di = inner casing diameter

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CASING LANDING PRACTICE

It is recommended that casing strings be landed as cemented without slacking off or


picking up additional weight after the cement is set. In other words, the casing should be
landed or suspended in the slips with the same weight as recorded when the cement plug
reached the float collar.

There are definite disadvantages to landing casing, by slacking off or picking up


additional weight. Any slacking off of weight is particularly detrimental since it results in
the string being put in compression and causes it to buckle to the extent the hole
conditions will permit. The problem in attempting to pull additional weight after the
cement is set, is that in most cases the string is stuck at some point far above the cement
top. Another factor is that we can seldom anticipate all the conditions the casing string
may be subjected to during its useful life. By landing the casing as cemented and using a
design factor in tension of 1.6, based on weight in air, a considerable change in well
conditions can occur without exceeding the joint strength of the casing or excessively
increasing the amount of casing in compression. Keeping as much of the pipe in tension
as possible is particularly critical for long, intermediate strings where subsequent drilling
with heavier mud weights through higher temperature formations is anticipated. The
increase in internal pressure due to heavier mud and the higher temperature both increase
the tendency of the string to buckle, so landing the string in tension keeps this to a
minimum.

References

1. Bulletin on Performance Properties of Casing, Tubing, and Drill Pipe, Bull. 5C2, Dallas:
API, (1970)
2. Adams, N., Drilling Engineering, Tulsa: Penn Well Publishing, (1985)
3. Bourgoyne, Chenevert, Milhelm, Young, Applied Drilling Engineering, Richardson, TX.:
SPE, (1986)
4. Brantly, J.E., History of Oil Well Drilling, Gulf Publishing Co., (1971)
5. Craft, Holden, Graves, Well Design: Drilling and Production, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,
(1962)
6. Mian, M.A., Petroleum Engineering, Vol II, Tulsa: Penn Well Publishing, (1992)
7. Rabia, H., Oilwell Drilling Engineering, London: Graham & Trotman Ltd., (1985)

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SEGMENT DRILLING
CHAPTER CEMENTING

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

HISTORY OF PORTLAND CEMENT 1


MANUFACTURE OF PORTLAND CEMENT 2
COMPONENTS OF PORTLAND CEMENT 2
API CEMENT CLASSES 3
CEMENT SETTING PROCESS 4

CEMENT TESTING 5
DENSITY 5
FREE WATER 6
THICKENING TIME 6
FLUID-LOSS RATE 9
COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH 10
RHEOLOGICAL PROPERTIES 12

CEMENT ADDITIVES 12
ACCELERATORS 14
RETARDERS 15
FLUID-LOSS ADDITIVES 16
ADDITIVES TO INCREASE DENSITY 17
DISPERSANTS 18
SILICA 18
DEFORAMERS 19
ADDITIVES TO DECREASE DENSITY 19

FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE SLURRY DESIGN 21


CHEMICAL ENVIRONMENT 21
BOTTOM-HOLE STATIC TEMPERATURE 22
PORE PRESSURES 23
FORMATION PERMEABILITY 24
FORMATION INTEGRITY 24
HOLE GEOMETRY 25
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CHAPTER CEMENTING

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

CEMENT PLACEMENT TECHNIQUES 25


SUBSURFACE CASING EQUIPMENT 26
- FLOATING EQUIPMENT 26
- STAGE-CEMENTING TOOLS 29

PRIMARY CEMENTING 32
PLANNING A CEMENT JOB 32
TYPE AND VOLUME OF CEMENT 32
CEMENT ADDITIVES 39
CEMENT MIXING 41
PREFLUSHING 43
CEMENT PLACEMENT TECHNIQUES 44
CEMENT DISPLACEMENT 50

LINER CEMENTING 52
LINER EQUIPMENT 53
CEMENTING TECHNIQUES 55
RUNNING AND CEMENTING PROCEDURE 56

FLOW CALCULATIONS 58
BINGHAM PLASTIC MODEL 59
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CHAPTER CEMENTING

The purposes of this chapter are to present


1. The objectives of cementing
2. The composition of cement
3. Cement testing
4. Cement additives
5. Cement slurry design and
6. Cement placement

In well drilling operations cement slurry is placed around the casing strings and liners by
mixing powdered cement, water and additives on the surface and pumping it by hydraulic
displacement into the annular space between the casing and the wellbore. When the
cement slurry sets, it forms a rigid solid that exhibits favorable compressive strength
characteristics.

The primary objectives of well cementing are


1. to support the casing string
2. protect the casing from corrosive fluids
3. prevent fluid movement behind casing and
4. plug an abandoned zone or well.

In designing a casing cementing job, the drilling engineer is responsible for selecting the
cement composition and displacement techniques so that the cement slurry will fill the
entire annular space behind the casing and achieve adequate compressive strength soon
after it is placed at the desired location in the well. This minimizes the waiting time after
cementing. The cement slurry must be designed such that it will remain pumpable until it
is placed at the desired location. The density of the cement slurry must be adequate to
control any movement of pore fluid while at the same time not cause any formation
fracture.

HISTORY OF PORTLAND CEMENT


Although cementatious materials have been used since ancient times, the invention of
modern Portland cement is usually attributed to Joseph Aspdin, an Englishman, who filed
a patent for Portland cement in 1824. He called it "Portland" cement because it resembled
the limestone quarried in Portland, England.

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MANUFACTURE OF PORTLAND CEMENT


Portland cement is manufactured with materials and methods that have changed little
since Aspdins time. The material is prepared by sintering fixed proportions of calcium
containing materials (limestone, chalk, seashells) with aluminosilicates (clays) in a kiln at
2600-2800 oF (1425-1535 oC). The resulting material, clinker, is then cooled and
interground with gypsum which controls the setting time of the cement. Small
percentages of other substances, such as sand, bauxite or iron ore are sometimes used in
the kiln feed to adjust the properties of the clinker.

COMPONENTS OF PORTLAND CEMENT


Portland cement consists primarily of the four chemical compounds shown in Table 1.
All grades or classes of Portland cement contain these four compounds. However, the
relative percentages of the compounds can vary, depending on the feed materials in the
manufacturing process. The relative percentages of these compounds along with grind of
the cement have been found to strongly affect the cement performance.

Table 1
Principal Components of Portland Cement
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Standard Typical
Compound Formula Designation % (Wt)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tricalcium Silicate 3CaO-SiO 2 C3S 50%


Dicalcium Silicate 2CaO-SiO2 C2S 25%
Tricalcium Aluminate 3CaO-Al2O3 C3A 10%
Tetracalcium Aluminoferrite 4CaO-Al2O3-Fe2O3 C4AF 10%
Other Oxides 5%
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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API CEMENT CLASSES


Specifications for cements used in oil-well applications have been written by the
American Petroleum Institute (API). These specifications are found in API
Specifications for Materials and Testing for Well Cements, (API Spec 10).

There are eight API cement classes. Table 2 provides a summary of the chemical
composition, grind and special properties of some of these API cements. Most oil-field
operations use class A, C, G, or H. The different classes of API cement and their
compositions are shown below and in Table 2.

Class A: Intended for use from surface to a depth of 6,000 ft when special
properties are not required. Available only in Ordinary type (similar to
ASTM C150, Type I).

Class B: Intended for use from surface to a depth of 6,000 ft when conditions
require moderate to high sulfate resistance. Available in both Moderate
type (similar to ASTM C150, Type II) and High Sulfate Resistant types.

Class C: Intended for use from surface to a depth of 6,000 ft when conditions
require high early strength. Available in Ordinary type and in Moderate
and High Sulfate Resistant types.

Class D: Intended for use at depths from 6,000 to 10,000 ft and at moderately high
temperatures and pressures. Available in both Moderate and High Sulfate
Resistant types.

Class E: Intended for use at depths from 10,000 to 14,000 ft and at high
temperatures and pressures. Available in both Moderate and High Sulfate
Resistant Types.

Class F: Intended for use at depths from 10,000 to 16,000 ft and at extremely high
temperatures and pressures. Available in High Sulfate Resistant types.

Class G: Intended for use as a basic cement from the surface to a depth of 8,000 ft
as manufactured. With accelerators and retarders it can be used at a wide
range of depths and temperatures. It is specified that no additions except
calcium sulfate or water, or both, shall be interground or blended with the
clinker during the manufacture of Class G cement. Available in
Moderate and High Sulfate Resistant types.

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Class H: Intended for use as a basic cement from the surface to a depth of 8,000 ft
as manufactured. This cement can be used with accelerators and retarders
at a wide range of depths and temperatures. It is specified that no additions
except calcium sulfate or water, or both, shall be interground or blended
with the clinker during the manufacture of class H cement. Available only
in Moderate Sulfate Resistant type.

Table 2
Typical Composition and Properties of
API Classes of Portland Cement
Wagner
API Compounds (percentage) Fineness
Class C3S C2S C3A C4AF (sq cm/gm) Property

A 53 24 8+ 8 1,600 to 1,800 High Early Strength


B 47 32 5- 12 1,600 to 1,800 Better retardation
C 58 16 8 8 1,800 to 2,200 Low heat of hydration
D&E 26 54 2 12 1,200 to 1,500 Resistance to sulfate attack
G&H 50 30 5 12 1,600 to 1,800

CEMENT SETTING PROCESS


When water is added to Portland cement, a chemical reaction (hydration) takes place that
eventually causes the cement particles to bond together to form an impermeable, hard,
rock-like material. The strength and impermeability of the cement is due to the formation
of a dense network of interlocking fibers.

Two of the byproducts of cement hydration are calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH)2] crystals
and heat. The [Ca(OH)2] crystals cause the cement to be very basic (high pH). Because of
this, a cement sheath will provide corrosion protection for the steel casing.

The heat given off during the hydration reaction is sometimes used to detect the top of
cement by temperature logging. The time at which the slurry achieves its maximum
temperature depends on the particular slurry and its curing conditions, but generally is
between 3 and 12 hours.

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CEMENT TESTING
Physical properties of drilling cement slurry are measured according to test procedures
established by the API (American Petroleum Institute). These properties are used by
drilling personnel to formulate the specifications of cement when designing a cementing
job. Cement slurry testing is normally done by cementing service companies or by Saudi
Aramco lab, however, it is important for the drilling engineer to understand the nature of
these tests so that be can interpret cement specifications and test results properly.

The basic properties of cement slurry are


(1) density
(2) fluid loss
(3) thickening time
(4) free water
(5) compressive strength and
(6) rheological properties.

DENSITY
The density of a cement slurry is
important for well control and the
prevention of lost circulation
while cementing. Density is also
a useful field monitor of whether
or not the slurry has been mixed
with the designed water
requirement. With the appropriate
additives, cement slurries can be
designed with densities ranging
from about 60 pcf to about 150
pcf.

Density of cement is measured by


using either a unpressurized or
pressurized mud balance.
Because cement slurries often
contain entrapped air, the
Fig. 1 Fluid Density Balance for weighing pressurized mud balance, Fig (1),
cement slurries provides a more accurate

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measurement (at about 30 psi pressure). Errors of 7-15 pcf may occur using the
unpressurized balance.

In the field, in-line radioactive densitometers are often used to monitor density as the
cement slurry is pumped.

FREE WATER
The water added to the dry bulk cement is used both as a reactant in the hydration
reaction and to provide fluidity to the slurry. When properly mixed, about 2/3 of the
water is involved in the chemical reaction while 1/3 provides fluidity. All of the water in
a properly mixed slurry, however, is either bound to the cement particles by chemical
bonds or loosely attracted to the cement particles to form a stable suspension. If excess
water is added, the cement particles will settle, leaving a layer of free water above the
suspension.

Excessive cement free water may lead to the formation of water pockets in a well,
especially on the high side of deviated wells, Also, since excessive free water indicates
solids settling, it may result in difficulty in mixing and displacing the slurry.

Procedures for determining the free water content of a cement slurry have been specified
by the API. There are two types of tests: a specification test conducted at 80 oF and a new
(tentative) operating free water test conducted under downhole conditions. Under the API
specification procedure, the maximum allowable free water is 1.4% (3.5 ml water from
250 ml of cement).

THICKENING TIME
Perhaps the most important property of a cement slurry for well applications is its
thickening time. The thickening time provides an indication of the length of time the
slurry will remain pumpable. A thickening time that is too short can result in the cement
setting inside the casing, tubing or drill pipe with severe economic consequences. A
thickening time that is too long, on the other hand, can necessitate an unduly long and
costly delay waiting for the cement to set.

The API defines the thickening time of a cement slurry to be the time required for the
slurry to reach 100 Bearden units of consistency (Bc), using the methods of API Spec 10.
One hundred Bearden units of consistency is roughly equivalent to a viscosity of 100
poise. Cement is considered to be unpumpable at this viscosity.

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The thickening time is


measured in a device called a
consistometer. Consistometers
are designed so that the
consistency of the cement
slurry can be continually
monitored while the cement is
subjected to a temperature,
shear, and pressure history
that simulates what the cement
will see as it is pumped
downhole. A schematic
diagram of a consistometer is
shown in Fig (2). The
apparatus consists of a rotating
cylindrical slurry container
equipped with a stationary
paddle, all enclosed in a
pressure chamber capable of
withstanding pressures and
temperatures encountered in
cementing operations. As heat
and pressure are applied on
the slurry sample, the
Fig. 2 Schematic of a High-Pressure Cement cylindrical slurry container is
Consistometer
rotated at 150 rpm. The
consistency of the slurry is
measured in terms of the torque exerted on the paddle which is recorded continuously on
a strip chart. The limit of pumpability is reached when the paddle torque reaches 100
Bearden units. Since the thickening time depends not only on the slurry being tested, but
also on the simulated downhole conditions, it is important to simulate these conditions as
accurately as possible. The API has published a series of cementing schedules, based on
field measurements, that can be used to simulate the downhole conditions for many wells.
There are different API schedules, depending on the type of job (casing, liner, or
squeeze), well depth, and the bottom hole static temperature. Schedule 6, designed to
simulate average conditions encountered during cementing of casing at 10000 ft is shown
in Table (3).

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TABLE 3
EXAMPLE CONSISTOMETER SCHEDULE
(Schedule 6-10,000 ft (3050 m) casing cement specification test)

Surface temperature, oF (oC) 80(27)


Surface pressure, psi (kg/cm2) 1,250 (88)
Mud density
lbm/ga (kg/l) 12 (1.4)
lbm/cu ft 89.8
psi/Mft (kg/cm3/m) 623 (0.144)
Bottomhole temperature, oF(oC) 144 (62)
Bottomhole pressure, psi (kg/cm2) 7,480 (526)
Time to reach bottom, minutes 36

_____________________________________
Time Pressure Temperature
(minutes) (psi) (kg/cm2) (oF) (oC)
_____________________________________
0 1,250 88 80 27
2 1,600 113 84 29
4 1,900 134 87 31
6 2,300 162 91 33
8 2,600 183 94 34
10 3,000 211 98 37
12 3,300 232 101 38
14 3,700 260 105 41
16 4,000 281 108 42
18 4,400 309 112 44
20 4,700 330 116 47
22 5,100 359 119 48
24 5,400 380 123 51
26 5,700 401 126 52
28 6,100 429 130 54
30 6,400 451 133 56
32 6,800 478 137 58
34 7,100 499 140 60
36 7,480 526 144 62
_____________________________________

Final temperature and pressure should be held constant to completion


o o 2
of test, within 2 F ( 1 C) and 100 psi ( 7 kg/cm ), respectively.

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The temperature and pressure of the slurry sample in the consistometer chamber is
increased to the pressures and temperatures and time schedule in Table (3). When the
final temperature and pressure are reached, they are held constant until the test is
completed, that is when a consistency of 100 Bearden Units is reached.

The API schedules have proven to be accurate and reliable over many years. However,
there are certain situations where the API cementing schedules may not be appropriate. If
unusual temperature conditions are encountered, such as geothermal gradients outside the
0.9-1.9 oF/100 ft API range, highly deviated wells or offshore cementing through long
risers, it may be necessary to develop a cement testing schedule using computer
simulation.

The thickening time of a cement slurry is generally selected to be equal to the job time
plus a safety factor. The job time is the estimated time required to mix the slurry and
pump it into place. Usual practice is to employ a 50-100% safety factor, depending on the
type of job and the experience in the area. Through the use of the appropriate additives,
well cement slurries have been designed with thickening times as short as 60 minutes or
as long as 12 hours.

FLUID-LOSS RATE
The rate at which a cement slurry loses water through a permeable barrier when a
differential pressure is imposed is referred to as filtration rate or fluid-loss rate. The water
lost is the water that does not take part in the chemical reaction, that is, the water required
for slurry fluidity.

When this water is lost, the slurry viscosity increases, and the slurry loses its fluidity. In
addition, as water is lost, the concentration of the cement particles increases. This may
result in the formation of cement bridges which restrict or prevent flow in areas of narrow
clearance.

Thus, control of the fluid-loss rate of a slurry is necessary when:

Cementing past very permeable intervals


Cementing through narrow clearances (for example, liners)
Squeeze cementing perforation or channels

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Because the water lost is that used to maintain slurry fluidity, there is still sufficient
water to complete the hydration reaction. In fact, because the cement particles are closer
together, the strength of a slurry that has lost water is greater than the strength of the
parent slurry (that is, the slurry that did not lose any water).

Testing procedures for fluid loss rates are given in API Spec 10. There are two types of
tests:
1) low temperature/low pressure (LT/LP) and
2) the well-simulation or high temperature/high pressure (HT/HP)

The HT/HP fluid-loss rate of a neat cement slurry (i.e. just cement and water) is on the
order of 1000-2000 cc/30 min. However, through the use of certain additives, the fluid-
loss rate can be adjusted to lower values. Table (4) presents some general fluid loss
guidelines for different cementing operations.

Table 4
Guidelines for Cement Slurry Fluid-Loss Rates
_______________________________________________
HT/HP Fluid-Loss Rate
Operation (cc/30 min.)
_______________________________________________
Casing Cementing 300-450
(past high permeablility formation)
Liner Cementing 100
Squeeze Perforation or 50
Repair Channels
_______________________________________________

The API procedure for measuring fluid loss uses a 325-mesh screen as a filtration
medium. A pressure of 1000 psi is applied on the slurry sample and the volume filtrate in
30 minutes is measured.

COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH
The compressive strength of set cement is the stress required to cause failure of the
cement under a uniaxial compressive load. Fig (3) shows the compressive strength
development for a class A cement. The rate of strength development depends on the
type

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of cement, the type and concentration of additives and the curing temperature. However,
75-80% of the ultimate compressive strength is generally achieved within 3 days.

Compressive strength data are used for

Establishing waiting on cement (WOC) time


Determining optimum time to perforate and
Monitoring the stability of the set cement.

After cement has been pumped into


the annulus, it must obtain
sufficient strength so that further
operations will not damage the
cement sheath. Although the
loadings placed on the cement
downhole are not necessarily
uniaxial compressive loads, the
compressive strength has been
found to be a convenient indirect
measure of the ability of the cement
to withstand these loads.

The industry has generally accepted


a value of 500 psi as the minimum
required compressive strength
before further drilling operations
Fig. 3 Compressive Strength Development can commence. Tests have shown
that a cement sheath with 500 psi can easily support the weight of the casing, even under
rather poor bonding conditions.

Similarly, laboratory experiments indicate that a well should not be perforated until the
cement has achieved at least 2000 psi compressive strength. Above this value, the tests
indicate that perforating does not damage the cement bond.

The API testing procedures for determining compressive strength are in API Spec 10.
These tests use conventional compressive strength testing equipment. An Ultrasonic
Cement Analyzer (UCA) is also available for making non-destructive compressive
strength measurements. The UCA is based on the measurement of the travel time of
ultrasonic waves pulsed through a cement sample. While the UCA provides a useful time

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history of strength development, the actual values of compressive strength predicted by


the UCA may not agree with conventional crush tests, especially for non-standard
slurries. Therefore compressive strength values obtained from the UCA should be used
with caution.

RHEOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
The rheological properties of cement slurry allows the drilling engineer to compute the
frictional pressure losses in pipe and annulus from the flow of cement slurry and the
annular velocity required to establish laminar, plug or turbulent flow.

Cement slurry is a non-Newtonian fluid, that is it does not exhibit a direct proportionality
between pressure loss and flow rate at constant temperature and pressure. The behavior
of non-Newtonian fluids can be expressed by the Bingham plastic model or the power-
law model. For cement slurries the power-law model is more accurate than the Bingham-
plastic model; therefore, the results are closer to the exact behavior of the cement slurry
in the well. Cement slurry flow calculations are presented in the section on Flow
Calculations.

CEMENT ADDITIVES
Cement additives are solid or liquid chemicals that are mixed with cement slurry to
change its properties so that it will meet cementing specifications of a particular job.
Solid additives are free-flowing powders that either can be dry blended with the cement
before transporting it to the well or can be dispersed in the mixing water at the job site.
Liquid additives are mixed with the mixing water at the job site.

By convention, the concentration of solid additives, except sodium and potassium


chloride, is expressed as a percentage of the weight of dry cement used in mixing the
slurry. Thus, a cement that contains 0.75% of additive A contains 0.75 lb of additive A
for every 100 lb of dry cement used. The concentration of sodium chloride is usually
expressed as a percent by weight of the mix water. The concentration of liquid additives
is expressed in gals per sack of dry cement which weighs 94 lbs.

The volume of slurry obtained by mixing one sack of cement with water and additives is
called the yield, and is expressed in cu. ft/sack. Calculation of the cement yield is
illustrated in the following example.

Example

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It is desired to mix a slurry of Class G cement containing 6.6% bentonite, 0.1% CFR-3
friction reducer and 0.9% Halad-22A fluid loss additive. Determine
(a) the weights of bentonite, CFR-3 and Halad-22A to be mixed with one sack of cement
(b) volume of mix water
(c) slurry yield and
(d) slurry density.

Solution
a) Weight of bentonite per sack of cement = 94 lb 0.066 = 6.2 lb.
Weight of CFR-3 = 94 lb 0.001 = 0.094 lb
Weight of Halad 22A = 94 lb 0.009 = 0.846 lb

b) The volume of mix water per sack is the sum of the water requirements for cement
and each additive which can be obtained from the Halliburton Cementing Tables
(Red Book) as follows:

Water Requirement Water Volume, gals.

Class G cement 5 gal per 94 lb sk 5.00


Halad 22A 0.4 gal / sk of cmt 0.40
Bentonite (prehydrated) 0.43 gals / 2% in cmt 1.42
CFR-3 0.00

Total 6.82 gals or 0.911 ft3 per sack

c) The slurry yield is the sum of the volumes of cement, water and all the additives per
sack of cement. The volumes are calculated by dividing the weight by the density of
each additive from Halliburton Tables,

Material Specific Density Weight Volume


Gravity (lb/ft3) (lb) (ft3)

Cement 3.14 196.0 94.000 0.480


Halad 22A 1.32 82.3 0.846 0.010
Bentonite 2.65 165.3 6.200 0.037
CFR-3 1.20 74.8 0.094 0.001
Water 1.00 62.4 - 0.911

1.439 ft3/sack

d) Density is obtained by dividing the total weight by the total volume

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Material Weight (lb)


Cement 94.000
Halad 22A 0.846
Bentonite 6.200
CFR-3 0.094
Water 56.840

157.980 lb

157.98
Density = = 109.78 lb/ft3
1439
.

Problem
It is desired to mix a slurry of Class G cement containing 35% silica flour, 0.3% Halad
413, 0.45% Halad 344 and 0.8 HR-15 retarder. Determine (a) the quantity of each
additive per one sack of cement, (b) volume of mix water in gal, (c) slurry yield, and (d)
slurry density. Water requirements and specific gravity of additives are as follows:

Additive Water Requirement Specific Gravity

Silica Sand (Coarse) None 2.63


Halad 344 None 1.22
Halad 413 None 1.48
HR-15 None 1.57

ACCELERATORS
The additive most commonly used to accelerate the set of cement is calcium chloride
(CaCl2). This compound is used in the concentration range 1 to 4%. The effect of CaCl2
concentration on thickening time is shown in Fig (4).

Since CaCl2 is effective at relatively low concentrations, it is an economical additive. In


addition, the accelerating effect of CaCl2 is predictable, and it has few adverse side
effects. The presence of CaCl2, however, will decrease the effectiveness of some fluid
loss additives.

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Fig. 4 Effect of CaCl2 on Thickening Time

Another additive sometimes used as an accelerator is sodium chloride (NaCl). At


concentrations below 18% (by weight of mix water), NaCl accelerates the set of cement.
At greater concentrations, however, NaCl acts as a retarder. Sodium chloride is not
compatible with most fluid loss additives. In addition, it increases the tendency for slurry
foaming.

RETARDERS
Retarders are additives that delay the set of cement. Most commercially available
retarders are organic materials. Table 5 presents a summary of the generic types of
organic retarders. Retarders are generally used in the concentration range of 0.1 to 1.0%.
Since retarders are generally composed of heat-sensitive organic molecules, particular
attention should be paid to the recommended temperature range for using the retarder.
Information on specific retarders is available from cementing company literature.

Another additive that will retard the set of cement at certain concentrations is sodium
chloride (NaCl). At concentrations greater than about 18% (by weight of mix water),
NaCl will act as retarder. Sodium chloride is incompatible with most fluid loss additives,
has an increased tendency for slurry foaming, a limited extent of retardation, and has to
be used in large concentrations to be effective as a retarder.

Table 5

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Cement Retarders Used by Saudi Aramco

Application BHCT Service Co. NOTES


Range. oF Equivalents

HB D-S

Low Temperature <200 HR4 - -


Low Temperature/Dispersing <200 HR5 D13 -
HR7

Moderate Temperature 150-250 - D120 -


Moderate Temperature 180-225 Diacel D8 CMHEC: Also acts as a
LWL fluid-loss additive, and
viscosifies the slurry

High Temperature 225-400 HR12 D28


HR15 D99
HR20
High Temperature <300 Borax D93 Borax: Added to
enhance the behavior of
high temp. retarders. Not
to be used alone

FLUID-LOSS ADDITIVES
Fluid-loss additives are used to reduce the rate of fluid loss from cement. There are two
basic types of fluid loss additives: polymers and bentonite.

Polymers function primarily by plugging the pore space in the cement filter cake.
Polymeric fluid loss additives

are sensitive to temperature,


seem to have a threshold concentration of about 0.8%,
generally retard the slurry and
tend to increase the viscosity of the slurry.

Bentonite functions as a fluid loss additive by decreasing the permeability of the


cement filter cake, As a fluid loss agent, bentonite generally

will result in a lower slurry density

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will increase thickening time


will decrease compressive strength and
is sensitive to mix-water salinity

Attapulgite clay is sometimes used as a fluid-loss additive in slurries containing salts


because it is not sensitive to the salts. Attapulgite, however, does not have the same
water-absorbing power as bentonite.

ADDITIVES TO INCREASE DENSITY


For purposes of well control, it is sometimes necessary to use additives that increase the
slurry density. Table 6 presents a summary of the additives commonly used to increase
slurry density.

Table 6
Additives to Increase Density

Additive Specific Gravity Water Requirement

Class G Cement 3.14 5.0 gal/ 94 lb


Barite 4.23 2.64 gal/ 100 lb
Hematite 5.02 0.36 gal/ 100 lb
Okla. # 1 Sand 2.63 0

These additives generally increase the slurry density because they have a high specific
gravity and/or a low water requirement in comparison to the cement. Hematite is more
commonly used than barite because it has a higher specific gravity and a lower water
requirement. A pumpable slurry with a density as high as 20 ppg can be achieved with
hematite.

Although Oklahoma #1 sand has a lower specific gravity than cement, it can increase
slurry density (up to 17.5 ppg) because of its zero water requirement.

Since these weighting additives dilute the cement particles, the final strength of the set
cement will be lower than that of a neat cement. Reductions in compressive strength can
be minimized by using a reduced water content in conjunction with a dispersant. This
method is discussed further in the next section below.

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DISPERSANTS
Dispersants (also called thinners or turbulence inducers) are used to reduce slurry
viscosity or increase slurry density.

A reduction in slurry viscosity may sometimes be desirable to reduce friction pressures.


This may occasionally be necessary when the cement column is long, the annulus is
narrow or when the annulus might be partially obstructed. However, dispersants to thin a
slurry should be used with care. Their misuse can lead to high free water breakout and
they can affect the behavior of other additives.

Dispersants are also helpful for increasing slurry density. Because dispersants thin the
slurry, when a dispersant is present a pumpable slurry can be formulated with a lower
water requirement than normally recommended for the neat cement. By adding a
dispersant and reducing the water content, slurry densities as high as 17.5 ppg can be
achieved without the addition of barite or hematite (Table 7).

Table 7
Use of Dispersants to Increase Class G Slurry Density

CFR-2 Mix Water Density


% (bwc) (gal/sack) (lb/gal)

0.00 5.00 15.8


0.75 4.00 16.7
0.75 3.78 17.0
0.75 3.78 17.5

An advantage of using this technique for increasing slurry density is that cement particles
are not diluted. In fact, since the concentration of cement particles is increased, the
strength of the set cement will be higher than that of a neat cement.

SILICA
On being cured at temperatures in excess of 250 oF, one of the components of Portland
cement (C2S) undergoes a change in structure that results in a significant loss in
compressive strength and a significant increase in permeability. This phenomenon is
called strength retrogression.

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It has been found that the


addition of 35% or more of
silica can prevent this
degradation (see Fig 5). Any
silica sand finer than 100
mesh can be used. Note that
the use of less than 20%
silica will intensify the
problem, where as the
maximum benefit is obtained
at around 40% concentration.

Fig. 5 Effect of Silica Concentration on Strength


Retrogression of Class A cement cured at
320 oF

DEFOAMERS
Excessive foam makes it difficult to maintain slurry density control and can cause other
problems, such as air locking of the pumps. This is often a problem in slurries
containing salt. Chemical foam inhibitors, which minimize air entrainment and foaming
are available. These materials can be obtained in liquid or solid form.

With the exception of foam cements, these compounds have no known detrimental
effects on other cement properties.

ADDITIVES TO DECREASE DENSITY


There are a number of additives available to lower slurry density. Table 8 presents a
summary of additives to lower slurry density. These additives lower the density of slurry
because they have a lower specific gravity than the cement, and in most cases, have a
higher water requirement than the cement.

Perhaps the most widely used additive to decrease slurry density is bentonite. Bentonite
in cement lowers density chiefly because of its high water requirement. Where as each
pound of Class G cement requires 0.05 gal water, each pound of bentonite requires 0.69

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gal water. Thus, for example, the density of a Class G cement can be lowered from 15.8
ppg (neat) to 12.8 ppg by the addition of 12% bentonite. Because of loss of compressive
strength, bentonite is generally not used at concentrations greater than 12%.

When bentonite is dry blended with the cement, the high calcium content of the cement
prevents full hydration of the bentonite. If bentonite is prehydrated, i.e. allowed to
hydrate in fresh water before being added to the cement, it will have a greater capacity
for water. One part by weight of bentonite prehydrated in the mix water has an effect that
is essentially equivalent to 3.6 parts by weight of bentonite dry blended with the slurry.
In other words, if the bentonite is to be prehydrated (usually 2-12 hours is sufficient) the
amount of bentonite can be reduced by the factor 3.6.

To obtain ultra light weight slurries, ceramic spheres, glass beads, or foam can be used.
Although ceramic spheres and glass beads are relatively expensive, slurry densities as
low as 8.3 ppg can be achieved while maintaining good compressive strength properties.
However, because the spheres will crush at sufficiently high hydrostatic pressure
(generally around 4000 psi), there are density and depth limitations associated with their
use.

Ultra lightweight slurries can also be achieved by incorporating air or nitrogen into the
cement as a foam. Using foam, slurry densities as low as 9 ppg can be achieved while
maintaining good strength properties in the cured cement.

Table 8
Additives to Lower Density

Additive Specific Gravity Water Requirement

Bentonite 2.65 1.3 gal/ 2% sk cmt.


Attapulgite 2.89 1.3 gal/ 2% sk cmt.
Diatomaceous Earth 2.10 3.3-7.4 gal/ 10% sk cmt.
Gilsonite 1.07 2.0 gal/ 50 lb
Pozzolan 2.50 3.6-3.9 gal/ 74 lb
Ceramic Spheres 0.72 0.31 gal/ 2 lb
Glass Beads 0.39 0.36 gal/ 2 lb
Sodium Meta-silicate 2.40 3.2-12.3 gal/ 2-3% sk cmt.

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FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE SLURRY DESIGN


There are a number of factors that affect the behavior of the cement as it is pumped into
place and as it solidifies. The important factors which must be considered by the drilling
engineer in designing a cementing job are chemical environment, bottom-hole
temperature and pressure, formation permeability, formation integrity and hole geometry.

CHEMICAL ENVIRONMENT
The parameters which make up the chemical environment of the cement include
a) Mix water
b) Wellbore fluids and
c) Formation fluids

Mix Water
The primary functions of water in a cement slurry is to carry the cement solids down the
hole and react with the cement to form a rigid solid. Ideally, the water for mixing cement
should be reasonably clean and free of soluble chemicals, organic matter and other
contaminates. Inorganic materials such as chlorides, sulphates, hydroxide, carbonates
will accelerate the setting of cement, the rate depends on the concentration of the
material. Organic chemicals from decomposed plant life will retard the setting of cement.
If potable water is not available, the purest water available may be useable but the slurry
must be tested in the laboratory before it is pumped in the hole. In Saudi Aramco UER
water from drilling water supply wells (TDS = 2-3 Mppm) is used for mixing cement on
most onshore wells.

Wellbore Fluids
Contamination or dilution of cement by drilling and workover fluids may damage the
cementing system. The best way to combat the detrimental effects of drilling fluids is to
use wiper plugs and spacers. Wiper plugs help eliminate contamination of the cement
inside the casing, and flushes help to clean the annular space between the casing and the
formation and minimize mixing of cement and drilling fluid in the annulus. Composition
of spacers must be compatible with the drilling fluid and cement.

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Formation Fluids
Formation brines containing sodium sulphates, magnesium sulphate and magnesium
chloride react with the hard cement and can cause eventual deterioration of the cement
sheath behind the casing. The rate of attack depends on the concentration of the sulphate
salts in the formation water. Sulphate attack is most pronounced at temperatures of 80 to
120 oF. Lowering the Tricalcium Aluminate (C3A) content in the cement increases the
sulphate resistance of the cement.

BOTTOM-HOLE STATIC TEMPERATURE


The bottom-hole static temperature (BHST) is one of the most important parameters to
establish when designing a cement job. It is important for two reasons:

The bottom-hole static temperature


is often used to help estimate the
temperature history that the cement
will see as it is pumped into place.
The temperature history strongly
affects the strength and thickening
time of the cement. As the
formation temperature increases,
the cement slurry hydrates and sets
faster and develops strength more
rapidly. Also the thickening time is
decreased as shown in Fig (6).

The bottom-hole static temperature


is usually the maximum
temperature the cement will see
during its lifetime. This temperature
affects the rate at which the cement
gains compressive strength. Also, if
this temperature exceeds 250 oF,
Fig. 6 Effect of Temperature on silica should be added to the slurry
Thickening Time of various API to prevent long term strength
cements at atmospheric retrogression.
pressures

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When designing a cement slurry, the bottom-hole circulating temperature (BHCT) is


considered to be the temperature of an element of cement as it reaches the bottom of the
hole. The BHCT will usually be less than the BHST because the inlet temperature of the
cement at the surface is usually less than the BHST. For testing, the BHCT is taken to
represent the highest temperature the slurry will see as it is pumped into place. The API
thickening time testing procedure calls for holding the slurry at BHCT after it has been
brought up to temperature according to the appropriate schedule.

There are two methods for determining the slurry temperature history:

API Cementing Schedules


Computer Simulation

To use the API Cementing Schedules, it is necessary to know only the type of job
(casing, liner, or squeeze), the well depth, and BHST. The job type and well depth are
used to select the appropriate schedule type. The BHST is used to calculate the
temperature gradient from Eq (1).

T. Grad. = (BHST - 80) (Depth/100 ft) ...................................... (1)

Once the temperature gradient is known, the particular schedule for that gradient can be
identified. The BHCT is the highest (final) temperature for that gradient.

As mentioned earlier, for unusual conditions such as highly deviated wells or offshore
cementing through long risers, it may be necessary to use computer simulation to develop
a cement testing schedule.

PORE PRESSURES
The pore pressures of the fluid-bearing formations also affect the design of the cement
job. The density of the cement should be such that the hydrostatic pressure exceeds the
pore pressure at all depths in the well. Generally, this will be the case if the cement
density exceeds the drilling fluid density used to drill the well. However, in deep wells,
such as Saudi Aramcos Khuff wells, mud weights as high as 140 pcf are required to keep
deep high-pressure formations under control. In this case additives should be added to the
cement to being its density slightly above 140 pcf.

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FORMATION PERMEABILITY
Another factor to consider when designing a cement job is the formation permeability
that the cement may see. Long intervals of high permeability formation increase the
potential for fluid loss from the cement. This may cause high slurry viscosities leading to
increased pumping pressures and lost circulation or perhaps total loss of slurry mobility.

It should be recognized, however, that the drilling fluid filter cake or particle plugging
from the drilling fluid may reduce the permeability that the cement sees. However, any
broach in this shield (i.e. by fracturing or erosion) could lead to disaster without the
appropriate cement fluid-loss control.

In Saudi Aramco fluid loss additives are used in Arab-D wells when cementing 4-1/2
liners across the Arab-D or 7 liners across the permeable Biyadh, Sulaiy and Arab-
A,B,C formations.

FORMATION INTEGRITY
Another fundamental consideration in designing a cement job is formation integrity. The
breakdown fracture pressure (often expressed as a fracture pressure gradient) will limit
the density of the cement and/or the surface pumping pressure that can be used without
losing returns. Losing returns while cementing is generally undesirable because

Since some cement is lost to the formation, the top of cement (TOC) may
not be high enough to cover all necessary zones.

A cement-filled fracture may adversely alter fluid flow in the reservoir.

Fracturing may cause undesired interzonal flow.

Fracturing could expose the cement to high permeability and lead to a costly
bridge-off in the annulus.

Cement may plug up a naturally-fractured pay zone.

Information on formation integrity can often be obtained from the Daily Drilling Reports
for the well. If returns were lost while drilling, the mud weight being used at the time
provides some indication of the formation integrity. More direct information may be
available from pressure integrity test (PITs).

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HOLE GEOMETRY
Hole geometry is another important factor in designing a cement job. The hole geometry
can influence the cement job in a number of ways. For example:

The hole size, casing size, and desired top of cement will affect the volume
of cement to be pumped.

The amount of annular clearance may affect the amount of fluid loss control
required to prevent bridging. It may also limit the pumping rate to prevent
excessive friction pressures.

The angle of deviation may necessitate reducing the free water content of
the slurry to prevent high-side water pockets. The deviation angle may also
affect the placement of centralizers.

For many wells the hole geometry is obtained from caliper logs. In those wells where
caliper logs are not run, the size of the annulus can be roughly estimated from a fluid
caliper. In this method, the volume required to pump a marker pill down the casing and
up the annulus is monitored. The annular volume is then obtained by subtracting the
casing volume.

CEMENT PLACEMENT TECHNIQUES


Different cementing equipment
and placement techniques are used
for

Cementing casing strings and


Cementing liner strings

as illustrated in Fig. (7). A casing


string differs from a liner in that
the casing extends to the surface
while the top of the liner is
attached below the surface to a
previously cemented casing.

Fig. 7 Common Cement Placement Requirements

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SUBSURFACE CASING EQUIPMENT


Floating equipment, cementing plugs, stage tools, centralizers, cementing baskets and
liner hangers are mechanical devices commonly used in running casing and liner strings
and in placing cement around the pipe. This section provides a general description of
these mechanical aids and discusses their functions and applications.

Floating Equipment
The guide shoe shown in Fig (8) is an open ended device
attached at the bottom end of the casing to direct the casing away
from ledges and minimize sidewall caving as the casing is lowered
in deviated sections of the hole. The outer body of the guide shoe
is made of steel which has the same strength as the casing while
the nose is made of drillable concrete. Circulation is established
down the casing through the open end of the guide shoe. Some
types of guide shoes have side ports which allow circulation if the
casing is set on bottom.

Fig 8. Guide Shoe

The float shoe, Fig (9), is a guide shoe equipped with a spring-
loaded back pressure valve which is enclosed in plastic and
concert. The valve, which is closed by the spring or by the
hydrostatic pressure of the fluid column around the casing,
prevents fluids from entering the casing while pipe is lowered into
the hole. Float shoes may also be used to reduce the load on the
derrick by allowing the casing to be floated into the hole. This is
done by lowering the casing empty or partially filled with water or
drilling fluid. In Saudi Aramco float shoes are used on all casings
string except the shallow conductors set at 100 ft from the
surface.

Fig 9. Float Shoe

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Float collars are normally placed one to three joints above the float
shoe in the casing string and serve the same function as the float
shoe. The float collar, Fig (10), serves as a back up to the float shoe
in the event the back pressure valve in the float shoe fails to provide
the necessary seal. The space between the float collar and the float
shoe serves as a trap for contaminated cement or mud that may
accumulate from the wiping action of the cementing plug. The
contaminated cement is thus kept away from the shoe, where the
best cement bond is required. When the cementing plug reaches
(bumps) the float collar during cement displacement a pressure
buildup is observed at the surface indicating that the cement
displacement is complete.

Fig. 10 Float Collar

Fig. 11 Innerstring Cementer with latch-down plug

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For large casing strings, float shoes may be obtained with a special stab-in device that
allows the cement slurry to be pumped through the drill pipe (this method of cementing is
called inner-string cementing). This device, shown in Fig (11), eliminates the need for
large cementing plugs and for leaving large amount of cement inside the casing above the
shoe. The tool offers another advantage in cementing large casing across loss circulation
zones which is discussed later in this chapter. In Saudi Aramco inner-string float shoes
are used for cementing 18-5/8 conductors.

A latch collar, shown in Fig (12), or a landing collar, is


run one or two joints above the float collar. It is used only
with liner strings to catch and seal the liner wiper plug. It
keeps the wiper plug from moving up hole and seals
pressure from below and above. It also prevents the wiper
plug from turning while drilling out.

The cementing plug, shown


in Fig (13), is not a
permanent part of the casing
string but is placed in the
casing after the cement slurry
Fig. 12 Landing Collar
is pumped. It separates the
cement from the displacing fluid and minimizes Fig. 13 Five-wiper top
contamination of the cement at the interface. When the cementing plug
cementing plug reaches the float collar the surface pumping
pressure increases abruptly indicating that the cement job is complete. The cementing
plug has rubber wipers and drillable insert and constructed to withstand the force of the
cement column and displacement fluid and provide a dependable seal.

Since holes are rarely straight, the pipe will generally be in contact with the hole at
several places. Centralizers are installed around the casing to center the casing in the
hole and create a uniform annular flow area and minimize variations of resistive drag
forces in this flow area. In addition, centralizers keep the pipe away from the wall and
minimize differential sticking. Cementing casing without centralizers results in
ineffective cement job, Fig (14), since the cement slurry tends to preferentially flow in
the large annular space with the least flow resistance. Centralizers should be spaced to
provide a minimum standoff of 70%, where,

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casing / hole clearance


Standoff = 2
hole diameter - casing diameter

Service companies and Drilling


Engineering Div. have
computer programs which
calculate the centralizer
spacing to provide a given
stand off.

There are many types of


centralizers which depend on
the purpose and the
manufacturer. The three major
types of centralizers used by
Saudi Aramco are

1) rigid or positive centralizer,


2) bow centralizer and
3) spiral rigid centralizer.

The rigid (positive) centralizer


shown in Fig (15) is assembled
without any welding to
Fig. 14 Effect of Centralization on Uniformity of minimize breakage. The
Cement Placement centralizer is normally used in
cased hole to provide nearly
100% standoff. The non-weld
bow centralizer, Fig (16), is used to centralize casing in the open hole. The spiral rigid
centralizer (SRC) is made of high grade aluminum and provide fixed standoff regardless
of the lateral loads. The SRC, shown Fig (17), allows the pipe to rotate freely inside the
centralizer and the spiral blades restrict the flow area and create swirling motion which
assists in preventing channeling during cementing. The SRC acts as a bearing surface
which reduces torque necessary for rotating casing while cementing and reduces drag
while running casing in the hole. The SRC is used in highly deviated and horizontal
wells.

Stage-cementing tools are used for cementing the casing in two or three stages. Stage
cementing is used to lessen the possibility of breaking the formation during cementing
and to cement the casing above existing lost circulation zones.

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Fig. 15 Fig. 16 Fig. 17


Non-Weld Positive Non-Weld Straight Spiral Rigid
Centralizer Centralizer Centralizer

The stage tool most commonly used in Saudi Aramco consists of 3-4 ft inflatable packer
element and cementing side ports above the packer. The stage tool is installed at a
specific point in the casing as the casing is being run in the hole. Cement slurry is placed
around the casing from the casing shoe to 100-200 ft above the stage tool (first stage).
Refer to Fig (18). Once the first stage shutoff plug seats in the shut-off baffle, a free-
falling opening plug is dropped down the casing. After the plug seats in stage tool,
pressure is applied on the plug to move a sleeve and expose inflation ports of the
inflatable packer. A specified pressure is applied and the packer is inflated by pumping
mud into the packer rubber element which will make a seal with the outer casing. Higher
pressure is applied which will rupture a disk and open the side ports above the packer.
Mud is circulated through the ports to remove any cement above the packer. Cement
slurry is then placed through the ports from the packer to the surface followed by a
closing plug which closes a sleeve over the side ports. After the cement sets, the opening
and closing plugs are drilled out with a bit and the stage tool is pressure tested to ensure
the side ports are shut off.

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Fig. 18 Multiple-stage cementing tool with free-falling plug for cementing a hole
in two stages

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PRIMARY CEMENTING
The success of a primary cement job cannot be over emphasized. A poor cementing job
can result in a failure to isolate zones and can be very costly during the producing life of
a well. Failure to isolate between zones can result in

1) ineffective stimulation treatment,


2) improper reservoir evaluation,
3) production of unwanted fluids,
4) accumulation of gas in the annulus and
5) casing corrosion.

PLANNING A CEMENT JOB


For a cementing job to be successful it must be properly planned. The important factors
that must be considered in the planning of a cement job are

a) Type and volume of cement


b) Cement additives
c) Cement mixing
d) Preflushing
e) Cement placement
f) Cement displacement

TYPE AND VOLUME OF CEMENT

The type of cement used by Saudi Aramco is Class G cement which is manufactured
locally to API specifications. The properties of the cement slurry can be tailored by the
use of additives to meet the requirements of shallow and deep wells. One sack of dry
Class G cement weighs 94 lbs and yields 1.15 cubic feet of 118 pcf neat slurry when
mixed with 5 gals of water. Addition of additives changes the weight (density) and yield
of the cement slurry. Calculation of cement weight and yield were discussed on page
(12).

The weight of the cement slurry must be little heavier than the mud weight and should
exert a hydrostatic pressure which is greater than the pore pressures of the formations to
be cemented. A cement slurry of 118 pcf is used in Saudi Aramcos normal cementing

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jobs. In cases where there is a concern that the cement column may fracture a
weak

formation, then a lighter weight or multiple weight cement may be used. The light weight
slurry (101 pcf is normally used by Saudi Aramco) is pumped first as the lead slurry
followed by the heavier weight cement tail slurry. The volumes of the cement slurries are
designed such that the heavy cement occupies the annulus from the casing shoe to the
weak formation and the lighter slurry from the weak formation to the surface. If there is
still danger that the light cement may break the formation, then the casing should be
cemented in two stages with the stage tool placed above the weak formation.

The volume of cement required to cement the casing must be calculated by the drilling
engineer prior to the cementing job. The cement volume is usually based on past
experience and regulatory requirements in the area. As little as 300 ft cement fill up has
been used behind relatively deep casing strings. In Saudi Aramco the practice is to
cement the casing from the shoe to the surface wherever it is economically possible.

The volume of cement is based on the size of casing and the diameter of the open hole. It
is usually necessary to include more slurry than theoretically required because of hole
enlargement while drilling. The excess factor to be used is based on prior experience in
the area. Hole volume can be calculated from an open hole caliper. If a caliper is not
available, the open hole volume can be estimated by pumping a marker and circulating it
back to the surface. The following guidelines may be used in calculating the cement
volumes for cementing casing and liners:

Casing:
a) An excess factor of 10-15% is used for cementing casing inside
casing.

b) If the openhole volume to be calculated from caliper, an excess factor


of about 20-30% may be used. If the openhole volume is not known,
then the excess factor depends on hole enlargement and is determined
by experience. It may range from 50 to 100%.

c) When a stage tool is used, the excess factor should result in 200-300 ft
of cement rise above the stage tool.

Liners:

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a) If the openhole is known from a caliper, enough cement should be used to


obtain a cement rise of not more than 500 ft above the liner hanger.

3-1/2" DP

300'

liner hanger
@ 6700'

7" 26# casing


@ 7000'

4-1/2" 11.6# liner

cement

6" open hole

latch collar
@ 7520'
TD = 7600'

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Fig. 19 Example No. 1 - Calculating Cement requirements

b) If a caliper is not available the excess factor is determined by experience. In


this case the engineer should make sure that the thickening time of the lead
cement is large enough to allow circulating out any excess cement above the
hanger and prevent cementing the drill pipe and liner hanger setting tool in
place.

Example No 1
Calculate the number of sacks of 118 pcf G neat cement required to cement a 4-1/2
11.6# liner across the Arab-D as shown in Fig (19). The volume of the open hole from
the caliper log is 135 ft3.

Given:

7 casing ID = 6.276 in
4-1/2 liner ID = 4.0 in

Solution
42
Volume of cement inside liner below latch collar = (7600 7520) = 6.97 ft 3
4 144

Volume of annulus between open hole and liner = open hole volume - liner volume
or
4.52
Vol. of annulus = 135 (7600 7000)
4 144

= 135 - 66.23
= 68.77 ft3

(6.276 2 4.52 )
Vol. of annulus between liner and 7 casing = (7000 6700)
4 144
= 31.3 ft3

Volume of 300 ft rise above hanger between 3-1/2 DP and 7 casing,

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Vol. = (6.276 2 35
. 2 ) 300
4 144
= 44.4 ft3
Total vol. of cement slurry = 6.97 + 68.77 + 31.3 + 44.4
= 151.44 ft3

Yield of 118 pcf neat cement = 1.15 ft3/sk

15144
.
Number of sacks =
115
.
= 132 sacks

5" DP
ID = 4.276"
6700' long

9-5/8" 40# casing 9-5/8" 40# csg


@ 4000' @ 4000'

8-1/2" hole

6" drill collars


2" ID
300' long

float collar 6920'

TD = 7000' 7" 26# casing


@ 7000'

(a) (b)

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Fig. 20 Example No. 2 - Estimating Lead & Tail Cement Volumes

Example No 2
A 7 casing string is to be cemented inside an 8-1/2 hole section which is known to have
severe hole enlargements across shale sections. Refer to Fig (20 b). Before the drill string
was pulled out of the hole, the foreman pumped a dyed mud pill and circulated it out to
the surface by pumping a total of 560 bbls of mud as shown in Fig (20 a). The 7 casing
is to be cemented with 101 pcf 1.68 ft3/sk yield lead G cement from the 9-5/8 shoe to
the surface and 118 pcf neat G cement from TD to the 9-5/8 casing shoe. Calculate the
lead and tail cement volumes.

Given:

9-5/8 casing ID = 8.835 in


7 casing ID = 6.276 in

Solution
First we have to calculate the volume of the open hole. Since it took 560 bbls of fluid to
circulate the dyed marker to surface, we can say that,

Vol. of DP + Vol. of drill collars + Vol. of


DC-open hole annulus + Vol. of DP-open
hole annulus + Vol. of DP-casing annulus = 560 bbls = 3141 ft3
or

4.267 2 22
6700 + 300 + Vol.
4 144 4 144
of DC-openhole + Vol. of DP-open hole +
(8.8352 52 ) 3141 ft3
4000 =
4 144

667.8 + 6.54 + Vol. of DC-open hole +


Vol. of DP-Open hole + 1156 = 3141 ft3

Vol. of DC-open hole annulus + Vol. of


DP-openhole annulus = 1310 ft3

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Since the volume of the annulus between the DP and drill collars and the open hole is
1310 ft3,

The volume of the open hole = 1310 + outside vol. of DP + outside vol. of DC
52 (6 2 x 300)
= 1310 + (3000 300) +
4 x144 4 144
= 1736 ft3

If there were no enlargements in the 8-1/2 open hole, the volume of the hole would be,
8.52
Vol. of gauge hole = (7000 4000)
4 x144
= 1181 ft3

The volume of the washout is


Vol. of washouts = 1736 - 1181
= 555 ft3

Volume of tail slurry


6.276 2 80
Vol. of cement inside 7 casing below float collar =
4 144
= 17.2 ft3

Vol. of cement between 7 casing and open hole = Vol. of open hole - Vol. of 7
liner
72
= 1736 (7000 4000)
4 144
= 934 ft3

Using an excess factor of 25% for the open hole,


Vol. of cement = 934 1.25 = 1167 ft3
Vol. of tail slurry = 1167 + 17.2 = 1184.2 ft3
1184
Number of sacks = = 1030 sacks
115
.

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Volume of lead slurry

(8.8352 7 2 )
Vol. between 7 and 9-5/8 casing = 4000
4 144
= 633 ft3

Using excess factor of 10%,


Vol. = 633 1.1
= 697 ft3
697
Number of sacks =
168
.
= 415 sacks

CEMENT ADDITIVES

In designing the cement


composition the drilling engineer
should ensure that the cement
contains additives to provide the
proper slurry properties. The most
important properties are the
thickening time and fluid loss.
Cement retarders should be added
to the cement to provide enough
thickening time to mix, pump and
displace the cement. The type and
amount of retarders are determined
by the service cementing Fig. 21 Circulating Temperature vs Depth
companies or Saudi Aramco as a function of the temperature
Cement Lab based on the volume gradient
of cement, type of cementing job,
the static bottom hole temperature
or the circulating temperature which are provided by the drilling engineer. The bottom
hole circulating temperature can be measured with a temperature gauge run in the bottom
of drill string while conditioning the mud. If measurement of the temperature is not

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possible it can be estimated by using Fig (21). The drilling engineer is also responsible
for providing the cementing lab with a sample of water to be used by the rig in mixing
the cement.

Fluid loss additives should be added to the cement to control the fluid loss of the slurry
when cementing casing or liners across permeable formations. Failure to control the fluid
loss will cause cement dehydration and bridging in the casing-hole annulus and may
result in total failure of the cementing job. The fluid loss of the cementing slurry should
be low enough to keep the slurry pumpable during the entire cement job. The value of the
fluid loss is determined by experience and depends on the permeability of the formation
and size of the casing-hole annulus. The higher the permeability and the smaller the
annulus the lower the fluid loss. General guidelines for fluid loss values are shown in
Table (4). It should be noted that fluid loss additives are fairly expensive and should be
used prudently. Other additives discussed on pages 12-20 such as accelerators, silica
flour, dispersants and gas blocking agents, should be added to the cement as required.

Example
The static bottom hole temperature of an Arab-D well is 210 oF at 7000 ft. Estimate the
bottom hole circulating temperature at 7000 ft.

Solution
Assume the static temperature at the surface is 80 oF, then,

Bottom hole static temp (BHST) = 80 + Temp Grad Depth


or
BHST 80
Temp Grad =
Depth
210 80
=
7000
= 0.0185 oF/ft
= 1.85 oF/100 ft

From Fig (21), the circulating temperature at 7000 is 138 oF.

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CEMENT MIXING

The purpose of the mixing system is to proportion and blend the dry cement and additives
with the water and supply to the wellhead a cement slurry with predictable properties.

Fig. 22 (a) Schematic of Jet Mixer

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Fig. 22 (b) Typical Jet Mixing Operation

The drilling engineer is responsible for selecting the type of cement mixer. There are
three types of mixers available. The most widely used mixer is the jet mixer shown in
Figs (22a & 22b). It consists of funnel-shaped hopper, a mixer bowl and mixing tub. The
mixer forces a stream of water through a jet and into the bowl where it mixes with
cement from the hopper to form a slurry. The slurry is forced into the discharge line then
into the mixing tub from which it is taken to the cementing pumps. The density of the
slurry is checked by taking samples from the mixing tub. Slurry density can be changed
by varying the water / cement ratio.

Fig. 23 Halliburtons RCM System Flow Schematic

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The recirculating cement mixer (RCM) mixes more uniform slurry with more accurate
density. The Halliburton RCM shown Fig (23) consists of a two-compartment 8-bbl
mixing tub equipped with a turbine agitator in each compartment. The rate of dry cement
is controlled by the cement control value. The water rate is controlled by the mixing
manifold on top of the tub. The slurry is blended by the agitator in the first compartment
on the right, recirculated by a centrifugal pump and weighed by a densometer. Any
variations in density are corrected by the operator. When the first compartment is full, the
slurry flows over a weir to the second compartment. Flowing over the weir helps remove
entrained air. The second compartment already contains same slurry at the desired
weight. The combined slurries are blended further by the agitator to insure a uniform
mixture. The slurry is then pumped into the well.

The batch cement mixer gives the most accurate density and is used for critical cementing
jobs were good isolation between zones is essential. In Saudi Aramco the batch mixer is
used for cementing short liners across the producing zones and in cement squeezing
operations. The batch mixer consists of a tank and paddle mixers. A measured volume of
mix water is placed in the mixer and the required amount of cement is added. The slurry
is mixed with the paddles until the desirable density is obtained.

PREFLUSHING

Preflushes or spacers are pumped ahead of the cement to minimize mixing and gellation
in the annulus between the cement and the mud and also aid in the removal of mud cake.
Preflushes have various characteristics, depending on the mud system, and various
functions. Some contain additives to thin the mud and penetrate and loosen the wall cake,
some contain abrasive material to scour the hole; and some have high viscosity to remove
drilling mud by buoyancy. Spacer composition is normally provided by the service
company.

For simple water base muds, water is an excellent spacer since it is cheap, easy to put
into turbulence and has little effect on the setting of cement. The volume of the spacer
should be 300-500 ft of annular fill or enough volume to give a 10-minute contact time
except when the hydrostatic head of the cement column in the annulus is reduced
excessively. Studies indicate that when turbulent flow is attained, a contact time of 10
minutes or more provides excellent mud removal.

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CEMENT PLACEMENT TECHNIQUES

Most of the primary cement jobs are performed by the displacement method, that is by
pumping the cement slurry down the casing and up the annulus. Fig.s (24 a, b, c & d)
below illustrate the four cement placement methods used by Saudi Aramco.

1. Displacement method
The surface, intermediate and production
casings are usually cemented using the normal
single stage displacement method. The cement
is pumped down the casing through the casing
shoe using a top and bottom wiper plugs as
shown in Fig (24a) (bottom plug is not used in
Saudi Aramco cementing operations). The
displacement fluid, mud or water, is pumped
behind the top plug until the plug bumps the
float collar.
Fig. 24 (a) Normal
Displacement
Method
2. Stage Cementing
Stage cementing is performed by the
displacement method in two or three stages.
Refer to Fig (24b). It is commonly used in
wells that require long columns of cement and
where weak formations cannot support the
hydrostatic head of the cement. Stage
cementing is also used to cement casing above
loss circulation zones. One disadvantage of
stage cementing is that the casing cannot be
reciprocated or rotated after the first stage. For
more information see Page 29.
Fig. 24 (b) Two Stage
Cementing

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3. Inner String Cementing


Inner string cementing is used in Saudi Aramco
for cementing large-diameter (18-5/8 and 24)
conductor casing. Tubing or drill pipe is used as
an inner string to place the cement. A sealing
adapter (stinger) is run on the bottom of the drill
pipe and stung into a special inner-string float
shoe. Cement slurry is pumped down the drill
pipe followed by a small-diameter cementing
plug. The cement is displaced with drilling fluid
or water until the plug bumps, latches and seals
in the float shoe. The drill pipe is then unstung
Fig. 24 (c) Inner String
from the float shoe and pulled out.
Cementing
The advantage of the inner-string cementer is
that it reduces the cementing time and the amount of cement left inside the casing. It
avoids having to drill out great amount of cement that a large casing could hold if it
were cemented in the conventional manner. Use of the inner-string cementer avoids
having a wet shoe when cementing across a loss circulation zone which has a static
bottom hole pressure less than water gradient such as the Neogene aquifer.

4. Annulus Cementing
Cement is pumped through tubing or small-
diameter pipe run between the casings or
between casing and hole to bring top of cement
to the surface. This is done when the cement
during a primary cementing job does not reach
the surface because of a shallow loss circulation
zone or other reasons. This types of cement
placement technique is called top cement job.
To bring the top of cement above a shallow loss
circulation zone to the surface may require
performing several top jobs. The cement must
be given enough time to harden after each job. Fig. 24 (d) Outside
Usually cement baskets are installed around the Cementing
casing above the loss circulation zone to help

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achieve cement fill up to the surface.

Example
An 18-5/8 conductor is to be cemented at 600 ft across the Neogene aquifer which has a
loss circulation zone at 400 ft. The static fluid level of the aquifer is at 300 ft. Refer to
Fig (25).

a) What type of cement placement technique would you use? Explain why.
b) What is the volume in sacks of 118 pcf Class G cement that should be used? ID of
casing is 17.755 in.

Solution
a) Lets try to use the standard displacement technique. In this method the cement will
be pumped down the casing followed by the cementing plug. The plug will be
displaced with water from surface until it bumps the float collar at 520 ft. Since there
is a L.C. zone at 400, the cement will not be able to rise in the annulus above 400 ft.
Now lets make pressure balance calculations after the plug bumps the float collar.
Refer to Fig (26).

Pressure inside casing at float shoe at 600 is,

62.4 118
Pc = 520 + 80
144 144
= 225 + 65
= 290 psi

Pressure in annulus at 600 is,


62.4 118
Pa = (400 300) + (600 400)
144 144
= 206 psi

Since the casing pressure is greater than the annulus pressure, the water level in the
casing will drop and displace the cement below the float collar into the annulus until
the pressures inside the casing and annulus are equal. This will result in a wet shoe
(no cement around the shoe) which is not acceptable. Refer to Fig (27). Therefore, in
order to use the displacement method and have a cemented shoe we have to
underdisplace the cement so that pressures inside and outside the casing are equal.

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24" Hole Water 24" Hole

300' Fluid Level

18-5/8" Casing Water

LC zone @ 400' LC zone @ 400'

Cement

Float Collar Float Collar


@ 520' @ 520'

600' 600'

Fig. 25 Example Problem Fig. 26 Example Solution:


Cement Plug bumped
into Float Collar

24" Hole
195' Cement Baskets
Water
300' Fluid Level 300' Fluid Level

Water Water
325' Water

LC zone @ 400' LC zone @ 400'

Cement

Float Collar 520'


@ 520'
Water
Water
600' 600'

Fig. 27 Example Solution: Fig. 28 Example Solution:


Normal Displacement Normal Displacement
resulting in a Wet Shoe with under displaced
cement

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The column of water to be pumped is

62.4 118 118 62.4


L + 80 = 200 + 100
144 144 144 144
L = 325 ft of water

So we displace the cement by 325 ft of water. The water level will drop inside the
casing until the pressures inside and outside the casings are equal as shown in Fig
(28). There is no need to use a float collar or a cementing plug.

62.4 118
Pc = 325 + 80
144 144
= 206 psi
62.4 118
Pa = 100 + 200
144 144
= 206 psi

The annulus above the basket is cemented by the top job technique.

b) The volume of cement required is equal to the volume inside the casing plus the
volume in the annulus from the shoe to the loss circulation zone, or

17.7552
Vol. inside casing = 80
4 144
= 137 ft 3

(24 2 - 18.6252 ) (600 - 400)


Vol. of annulus =
4 144
3
= 250 ft

Using excess factor of 50%

Vol. of annulus = 250 x 1.50


= 375 ft3
Total volume = 375 + 137
= 512 ft3

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512
Number of sacks =
115
.
= 445 sacks

DP

Water 24" Hole

300' Fluid Level

Water

LC zone @ 400'

Cement

600'
Float Shoe Plug

Fig. 29 Example Solution:


Inner String Cementing

A better way to cement the casing is by using the inner-string technique as shown in
Fig (29). The cement is pumped in the drill pipe and followed by the cementing plug.
The plug is displaced with water until it reaches and seats in the float shoe where it
makes a seal and stops the water from entering the float shoe. After the plug seats in
the float shoe, the drill pipe is pulled out leaving the plug on bottom. This method
provides good cement around the shoe with very little cement inside the casing. The
volume of cement to be used is,

(24 2 - 18.625 2 ) (600 - 400)


Vol. =
4 144
3
= 250 ft

Using excess factor of 50%,


375
Vol. = 250 1.5 = 375 ft 3 or
1.15
= 326 sacks

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CEMENT DISPLACEMENT

The displacement of the mud in the casing-hole annulus by the cement slurry is the most
important and critical phase of the primary cementing job. A successful cement job is one
in which the cement slurry displaces all the mud from the casing-hole annulus. The
predominant cause of cement job failure is channels of gelled mud remaining in the
annulus after the cement is in place. Laboratory and field research show that the factors
discussed below all contribute to the success of the cement job during the displacement
period.

Pipe centralization creates a uniform annular flow area and aids mud displacement in the
annulus. Centralizers do not provide perfect casing-hole concentricity. Flow pattern in an
eccentric annulus is not uniform and the highest velocity occurs in the side of the hole
with the largest clearance as shown in Fig (14). If the casing is close to the wall as in Fig
(14), it may not be possible to pump the cement at a rate high enough to develop uniform
flow throughout the annulus. Casing strings should be centralized to achieve at least 70%
standoff.

Pipe movement, either rotation or reciprocation, is a major driving force for mud removal
and should be used during primary cementing wherever possible. During rotation, (15-25
rpm) cement-casing drag forces are more effective than during reciprocation, as they tend
to pull the cement into the bypassed mud column instead of along side it as shown in Fig
(30). Centralizers that allow pipe rotation should be used if the casing is to be rotated.
Reciprocating the casing in 20 ft strokes can cause changes in standoff as centralizers
move across wellbore irregularities. Care must be taken not to swab in the well during
casing reciprocation. This lateral movement alters the flow area and aids in the
displacement of bypassed mud.

Fig. 30 Rotational displacing drag forces aids in the removal of by-passed mud
in the narrow side of an eccentric annulus

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Conditioning the mud before cementing to reduce the gel strength, plastic viscosity and
yield point greatly improves the displacement efficiency of the mud. It also reduces
displacement drag forces to erode and remove bypassed mud by reducing casing to mud
and wellbore to mud drag forces. The mud should be circulated and conditioned until the
desired gel strength and viscosity are obtained.

High displacement rates promote mud removal and improve displacement efficiency if
cement can be pumped in turbulent flow up the annulus. Conditions that may prevent
turbulent flow include limited pumping capability and formation conditions that may
limit downhole pumping pressures. Dispersants can be added to the cement to lower
friction pressure and attain turbulent flow at lower displacement rates. If turbulent flow is
difficult to obtain then the cement should be pumped in plug flow (Reynolds number of
100-200). Displacement rates required to induce turbulent or plug flow can be calculated
by using flow equations presented in the Flow Calculations section.

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LINER CEMENTING
A liner is a casing string that is usually used to case-off the open hole below an existing
casing string, and which does not extend to the surface. In Saudi Aramco 4000-5000 ft 7
liners are set at the top of the producing Arab-D formation and extend to 200 ft above the
9-5/8 x 13-3/8 DV stage tool as shown in Fig (31). Sometimes a short 4-1/2 liner is
also set across the Arab-D formation to shut off water producing zones and super
permeability stringers. Liner cementing is one of the most difficult operations associated
with drilling and completion. If a liner is not effectively cemented, the wells capability
to produce will likely be reduced and the advantages of liner installation will not be

26 CONDUCTOR

DV TOOL
18-5/8 CASING

DV TOOL
13-3/8 CASING

9-5/8 CASING

oil 7 LINER
ARAB-D

water 4-1/2 LINER

realized.

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Liner Equipment
A liner is normally run on drill pipe
that extends from the liner setting tool
to the surface. Special tools are
available to perform various running,
setting and cementing operations. The
following equipment is discussed from
the float shoe to the cementing
manifold. Equipment locations are
shown in Fig (32).

A float shoe is placed at the bottom of


the liner. It contains a check valve to
prevent back flow of the cement. A
float collar can be installed 2 joints
above the shoe to provide a backup
check valve to assure that cement
cannot re-enter the liner after
displacement. A latch collar is run one
joint above the float collar or two joints
above the float shoe to provide space
for mud contaminated cement inside
the liner. The latch collars function is
to latch and seal the liner wiper plug. It
prevents the wiper plug from moving
uphole if a check valve fails and also it
prevents it from rotating, which aides in
the drilling out operation.

The liner length is selected to extend


across the open hole to overlap the
existing casing or stage tool. The length
of the overlap should provide good
cement seal in the liner-casing annulus.
A 300 ft overlap is normally used in
Arab-D wells and 400-500 ft overlap is
used in deep high pressured wells.
Fig. 32 Typical Equipment used to
Install and Cement a Liner

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An external casing inflatable packer is run to cement the


liner in two stages, if required. The packer is run with a
DV tool port collar set above super permeability or loss
circulation stringer to allow placement of cement above
the loss circulation zone. The cementing job is performed
by pumping the first stage cement first and dropping the
drill pipe plug. The cement and plug are displaced with
drilling fluid until the DP plug latches in the liner wiper
plug which is attached at the bottom of the liner setting
tool. Pressure is applied to break the shear pins and
release the wiper plug. Displacement is continued until
the wiper plug and DP plug latch and seal in the latch
collar. Pressure is applied to open the packer inflation
ports. The packer is then inflated with mud or cement to
provide a seal with the open hole above the loss
circulation zone. Higher pressure is applied to open the
DV ports and cement is pumped above the packer to the
top of liner. The DV ports are closed by the DV shut off
plug (not shown in Fig 32).

The liner hanger is installed at the top of the liner. The


function of the hanger is to hang and suspend the liner.
There are mechanical and hydraulic set hangers.
Mechanical hangers require manipulation of the drill pipe
to engage the hanger slips with the casing. Slips of the
hydraulic hanger engage the casing by applying pressure.
Hydraulic hangers are used in deep or highly deviated
wells where it is difficult to transmit pipe manipulation to
the hanger because of excessive friction between drill
pipe and casing. A mechanical liner hanger is shown in
Fig (33). Liner hangers may be equipped with a liner
packer installed at top of the hanger to seal between liner
and casing after cement placement. Seal elements may be
rubber, lead or both and are set by applying weight on the
hanger. After the packer is set excess cement above the
hanger can be circulated out without imposing high
pressure on the formation below.
Fig. 33 Mechanical
Liner Hanger

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The liner setting tool, which is a rental item furnished by liner hanger service company,
provides the connection between the drill pipe and the liner hanger. A packoff bushing
and slick joint are inserted into the liner to provide a seal between the setting tool and the
liner. Once the hanger is set and the liner is cemented, the setting tool is released from
the hanger and pulled out to surface. The liner wiper plug is attached at the bottom of the
setting tool with shear pin arrangement. The function of the plug is to separate the cement
from the displacing fluid. Once the plug latches in the latch collar it provides a pressure
seal and allows pressure testing the liner above the latch collar or inflating the external
casing packer. The drill pipe plug is dropped in the drill pipe after all the cement has been
pumped. The plug is displaced by the drilling fluid until it latches with the liner wiper
plug at the bottom of the setting tool. Higher pressure is applied to shear the wiper plug
from the setting tool and both plugs are displaced with drilling fluid until they latch in the
latch collar.

Cementing Techniques
A good liner cement job is one that allows drilling to the next casing point without
having to squeeze the liner shoe or the top of the liner. The cement job should also
provide an effective seal (if required) between the open hole and liner such that remedial
cement squeeze jobs are not required.

Studies have shown that 1-1.5 clearance between the liner and open hole resulted in
successful liner cement jobs. A way to increase clearance would be to drill larger holes or
run smaller liners. Another solution is to underream the open hole. Centralizing the liner
is very essential for a successful cement job. The centralizers should be spaced out to
provide at least a 70% stand off.

Liner movement during cementing greatly enhances cement placement efficiency and
displacement of mud in the liner hole annulus. Special liner hanger equipment is now
available which permit liner reciprocation or rotation while cementing. The maximum
liner length that can be suspended and rotated below a rotating liner hanger should be
confirmed with the manufacture. Short liners run across the Arab-D in Saudi Aramco are
rotated while cementing. If it is not possible to rotate liner while cementing, the liner
should be rotated while circulating and conditioning the mud.

Wide temperature variations across a long liner require special cement formulation. It
may be necessary to retard the cement to compensate for high temperatures at the bottom.
But, at the same time, it is necessary that the cement set at the lower temperature at the
top of the liner in a reasonable time. The cement thickening time should be long enough
to allow reversing out the cement above the hanger if required.

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Fluid loss additives are usually required especially across permeable formations to
prevent cement dehydration and bridging in the annulus. Fluid loss of 50-100 ml is
recommended for cementing a production liner where isolation behind the liner is
required. If isolation behind the liner is not essential, the amount of fluid loss should be
low enough to prevent cement dehydration and bridging and is based on experience and
economic considerations.

Cement volume for a liner cementing job should be based on the caliper log volume and
an excess amount that will result in a rise of less than 500 above the hanger. This excess
serves to remove the mud from the overlap and allows high quality cement to take its
place. Excessive cement columns above the hanger may prevent pulling out the setting
tool out of the cement. If a caliper survey is not available the hole volume may be
estimated by pumping a marker.

As in the case of casing cementing, after the liner is run to bottom the mud should be
circulated at least one hole volume and conditioned until low plastic viscosity and yield
values are obtained. It is recommended that the cement be batch mixed to obtain the
correct slurry density. Spacers should be used ahead of the cement and the cement should
be pumped in turbulent or plug flow if possible. Laminar flow should be avoided. It is
recommended that the cement be pumped by using the service company cement unit to
insure displacement accuracy.

Running And Cementing Procedure


A step by step procedure for running and cementing a liner is outlined below.

1) With the bit on bottom circulate and condition mud. Make short trip and circulate
out any fill.

2) Make up and run the liner with float shoe on bottom and latch collar 2-4 joints
above shoe.

3) Centralize the liner to provide at least 70% stand off. Fill liner with drilling fluid
while running in hole.

4) Make up hanger on top of liner. Install setting tool in hanger and run liner on drill
pipe. Rabbit each stand of DP while RIH. Fill drill pipe before entering openhole.

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5) In deep wells, stop and break circulation at least once half way in the open hole.
Prior to circulating, reciprocate liner to break gel strength. Start slowly with low
pump pressure. If hydraulic liner hanger is used, circulating pressure should be well
below the setting pressure of the hanger.

6) If rotating hanger is used, rotate liner prior entering open hole and record torque.

7) Tag bottom and install cementing head. Reciprocate and break circulation at low
rate and pressure. Circulate at higher rate at least one hole volume. Record weight
of liner and drill pipe.

8) Set hanger. Slack off weight on the hanger to ensure hanger is set.

9) Release setting tool from hanger but keep setting tool stung in hanger. Set 10,000 lb
weight on hanger while cementing.

10) Batch mix cement to the programmed weight. Use retarders, fluid loss and other
additives as required. Measure slurry weight using pressurized mud balance.

11) Pump spacer followed by cement.

12) Drop drill pipe plug. Pump drilling fluid and displace plug and cement using
service company pumps. Slow down pumping rate when DP plug approaches the
liner wiper plug. Continue displacing cement until DP plug latches and shears liner
wiper plug. Note increase in pressure on surface. Continue displacing cement until
liner wiper plug and DP plug latch into latch collar. Reduce pumping rate before
latching into latch collar and note increase in surface pressure when bumping the
latch collar.

13) Bleed pump pressure and check for flow back. Pull out setting tool to top of hanger
and reverse out excess cement above hanger. If reversing out is not required, pull
out setting and observe U-tube effect.

14) Wait on cement until 500 psi compressive strength is developed.

15) Run with bit and drill cement to top of hanger.

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FLOW CALCULATIONS
The flow properties of wellbore fluids are classified as Newtonian or non-Newtonian.
Newtonian fluids are fluids such as oil or water which exhibit a direct and constant
proportionality between shear rate (which related to velocity or flow rate) and shear
stress (which is related to flowing pressure drop) as long as the regime is laminar. In a
fluid of this type, viscosity is independent of shear rate at constant temperature and
pressure. A Newtonian fluid will begin to flow immediately when pressure is applied.
When pressure is released, the fluid returns to its previous state. See Fig (34).

Fig. 34 Flow-Rate / Shear-Stress Curves of


Newtonian and non-Newtonian Fluids

Non-Newtonian fluids are fluids like mud, cement slurries and heavy asphaltic oil. These
are rheologically complex and are described as Bingham plastics or power-law fluids.
These fluids do not exhibit direct proportionality between shear rate and shear stress.
Some types of non-Newtonian fluids, such as drilling fluid, do not start to move when a
force is applied.

The two mathematical models commonly used to describe the flow behavior of drilling
fluids and cement slurries are the Bingham-plastic model and the power-law model.

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Bingham Plastic Model


This model assumes that all rheological calculations can be made from a linear
relationship between shear rate and shear stress. This relationship can be obtained from a
rotational viscometer or Fann VG meter. The cement slurry is sheared at a constant rate
between an inner bob and an outer rotating sleeve. Six rotation speeds (600, 300, 200,
100, 6, and 3 rpm) are available. Two parameters are required to characterize fluids that
follow the Bingham plastic model. These parameters are the plastic viscosity and the
yield point. The plastic viscosity, p, in centipoise is computed using Eq (2).

p = 600 - 300 ................................................................. (2)

where 600 and 300 are the dial reading at 600 and 300 rpm.

The apparent viscosity is,

a = 300 N ......................................................................... (3)


N

The yield point, Y, in lb/100 sqft is computed using Eq (4).

y = 300 - p ....................................................................... (4)

The power-law model is based on


the assumption that the cement
slurry exhibits a proportionality
between the logarithm of pressure
loss and the logarithm of shear
rate as shown in Fig (35). The
equations of the power-law
model are more complex but also
more accurate than those of the
Bingham plastic model.

Fig. 35 Power-law Plot of non-Newtonian


Slurry
The equation for the power-law

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is,

S s = K ( S r ) n......................................................................... (5)
where,

K = intercept of lines (fluid consistency index) lb secn/ft2


n = slope of shear rate / shear stress line (flow behavior index), dimension less
Ss = shear stress, lb/ft2
Sr = shear rate, 1/sec

Equation (5) can be written in the form,

Log S s = log K + n log S r .......................................................... (6)

The constant K is related to viscosity of the fluid, the larger K value the more viscous the
fluid. The constant n characterizes the degree of the fluids non-Newtonian behavior. The
valve of n for a non-Newtonian fluid is less than one and for a Newtonian fluid is one.

In placing cement slurry down hole the preferred method, where hole conditions permit,
is to thin the cement slurry and mud so that turbulent flow is induced. Turbulent flow will
result in high displacement efficiency and increases the probability of moving mud from
hole restrictions and reduces contamination of the cement sheath. Since the power-law
model yields more accurate results than the Bingham plastic model, a summary of the
frictional pressure loss equations for the power-law model in turbulent flow is presented
below.

The n and K constants are determined from the Fann viscometer as,

600
n = 3.32 log ....................................................... (7)
300

510 300
K = ..................................................................
(511)n
(8)
where the unit of K is equivalent centipoise or dynes per secn per 100 cm2.

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For pipe flow, the Reynolds number is calculated from the equation,

89100 v 2 n
n
0.0416d
NRe = 3 + 1 / n .........................................(9)
K
where,
q
v = average pipe velocity = ft / sec
2.448d 2
d = inside diameter, in
q = flow rate, gpm
= density, (lb/gal)

The Reynolds number is plotted versus the Fanning friction factor in Fig (36). The
critical Reynolds number, above which the flow is turbulent, is a function of the flow-
behavior index n. It is recommended that the critical Reynolds number for a given n
value be taken from Fig (36) as the starting point of the turbulent flow line for the given n
value. For example, the critical Reynolds number for n = 2 is 4200.

For annular flow, the Reynolds number is,

109000 v 2 n 0.0208 (d2 - d1)


n

NRe = .........................(10)
K 2 +1/ n

and the mean velocity is,


v = average annular velocity
q
= ...............................................(11)
2.448 ( d2 2 - d12 )
where,

d2 = inside diameter of hole, in


d1 = outside diameter of pipe, in

For laminar pipe flow, the frictional pressure loss is,

n
n 3+1/
n
LKv
0.0416
P = ...............................................(12)
144000 d 1 + n

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Friction Factors for Power-law Fuild Model


Fig. 36

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For laminar annular flow, the frictional pressure loss is,

n
n 2 +1/
n
LKv
0.0208
P = ......................................(13)
144000 (d2 - d1) 1 + n

where,

L = length of pipe or annulus, ft


P = pressure loss, psi

For turbulent pipe flow, the frictional pressure loss is,

L f v2
P = ............................................................. (14)
2 5 .8 d

For turbulent annular flow, the frictional pressure loss is,

L f v2
P = .......................................................... (15)
21.1 (d 2 - d 1)

where,
f = fanning friction factor from Fig (36), dimensionless.

Example
A 600 ft 4-1/2 liner is to be cemented inside a 6-1/4 hole across the Arab-D reservoir to
shut off production from the super permeability zone. A 118 pcf Class G cement slurry
with fluid loss additive will be used to cement the liner. In order to have good cement job
that will provide isolation between the super permeability zone and the top of the Arab-
D, the liner will be rotated while cementing and the cement is to be pumped and
displaced in turbulent flow. a) At what rate the cement should be pumped in order to have
turbulent flow?, b) calculate the annular pressure loss across the liner. The Fann meter
dial readings were measured by Halliburton as 600 = 209 and 300 = 122.

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Solution
600
a) n = 3.32 log
300
209
= 3.32 log
122
= 0.776

510 300
K =
511n

510 122
=
5110.776
= 492

From Fig (36), for n = 0.776 turbulent flow will start at NRe of 2000. Using Eq (10),
we set the value of NRe = 2000 and solve for the average velocity v, or

109000 v 2 n 0.0208 (d2 - d1)


n

2000 =
K 2 +1/ n

d1 = 4.5 in

d2 = 6.25 in

118
=
7.48
= 15.7 ppg

109000 15.7 v 2 0.776


0.776
0.0208 (6.25 - 4.5)
2000 =
492 2 + 1 / 0.776

2000 = 3478 v1.224 0.0304


v1.224 = 18.91
v = 11.04 ft/sec

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From Eq (11),
q
v =
2.448 ( d2 2 - d12 )

Substituting the value of v and solving for q,

q = 2.448 (6.252 - 4.52) 11.04


= 508 gpm
= 12.1 BPM

In order to have turbulent flow in the annulus the rate should be 12.1 BPM or greater.

b) From Eq (15), the frictional pressure drop in the liner-hole annulus is,

L f v2
P =
21.1 (d 2 - d 1 )

From Fig (36), for NRe = 2000 and n = 0.776, the valve f is 0.0105.

Substituting in Eq (15),

600 0.0105 15.77 1104


. 2
P =
. (6.25 - 4.5)
211
= 328 psi

Problem

Using the same slurry in the previous example, calculate the minimum rate to achieve
annular turbulent flow for cementing 7 liner inside 8.5 hole.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

INTRODUCTION 1

CAUSES OF KICKS 1
HOLE NOT FULL OF MUD 2
SWABBING DURING A TRIP 2
INSUFFICIENT MUD WEIGHT 3
SPECIAL SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE EXTRA CARE 3
- LOSS CIRCULATION 3
- DRILL STEM TESTING 3
- DRILLING INTO AN ADJACENT WELL 3
- EXCESSIVE DRILLING RATE THROUGH A GAS SAND 4

SURFACE WARNING SIGNALS 4


VOLUME OF MUD TO KEEP HOLE FULL ON A TRIP IS LESS 4
GAIN IN PIT VOLUME 4
INCREASED FLOW FROM ANNULUS 4
SUDDEN INCREASE IN PENETRATION RATE 5
CHANGE IN PUMP SPEED OR PRESSURE 5
GAS-CUT MUD 5
- DRILLED GAS 6
- TRIP OR CONNECTION GAS 6
- GAS FLOW 6
DRILLING A WATER SAND 7
ACTION WHEN SURFACE WARNING SIGNAL IS RECOGNIZED 7

WELLBORE MECHANICS 8
PRESSURE RELATIONSHIPS 8
INFLUX BEHAVIOR 11
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

UNSOUND WELL CONTROL TECHNIQUES 12


CALCULATION OF KILL MUD WEIGHT 13
CALCULATION OF DOWNHOLE FAILURE PRESSURE 14
CIRCULATION RATE FOR KILL OPERATION 15

DRILL PIPE PRESSURE METHOD 15


PUMP PRESSURE SCHEDULES FOR WELL CONTROL 17

KICK IDENTIFICATION 20

ANNULAR PRESSURE PREDICTION 25


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INTRODUCTION
Blowouts or the uncontrolled flow of oil and gas have long been a serious problem in
drilling operations. If blowouts are not quickly brought under control they can cause
casualties, environmental damage and economic losses. For these reasons, drilling
personnel must be able to recognize the warning signs of potential blowouts, to plan
effective well killing operations, and to take positive action to control the well. The
catastrophic problems associated with uncontrolled blowouts can be avoided if the kick
is detected before a large volume of formation fluid enters the wellbore.

The purpose of this chapter of Well Control is to explain why and how wells kick and
to describe in detail the recommended method of well control.

CAUSES OF KICKS
A kick is the entry or influx of formation fluids from a permeable formation into the
wellbore. The goal of well control operations is to prevent a well kick from becoming a
blowout (uncontrolled flow of formation fluid).

An understanding of why wells kick coupled with the ability to recognize and evaluate
the surface warning signs that indicate possible kick occurrence will substantially
increase the probability of successfully controlling the well.

The two conditions that must be present in the wellbore for a kick to occur are:
1) the pressure inside the wellbore at the face of the kicking formation must be less than
the pore pressure of the formation, and
2) the kicking formation must have sufficient permeability to allow flow into the
wellbore.

Since formation permeability cannot be controlled, drilling personnel should utilize all
techniques at their disposal to ensure that the pressure inside the wellbore is always
greater than the formation pressure.

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Most kicks occur when one or more of the following conditions exist:

1. HOLE NOT FULL OF MUD


Failure to keep the wellbore full of mud while pulling out of the hole on a trip has
been the primary cause of 50-70% of all industry blowouts. As the drill string is
pulled from the hole, the mud level will drop due to the volume of metal being
removed. As the mud level drops, the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the mud column
is reduced since the height of the column decreases. A decrease in mud column height
can also be caused by down hole seepage losses.

If no mud is added to the hole as the pipe is pulled, it is possible to reduce the
hydrostatic pressure of the mud column to less than the formation pressure. When this
happens, a kick can occur.

To prevent this loss in hydrostatic pressure, it is only necessary to fill the hole on a
regular schedule or continuously with a trip tank to replace the metal volume of the
pipe being pulled, and to replace the mud lost through seepage.

The metal volume of the pipe being pulled can be calculated, but the mud additions
necessary to replace the seepage losses can be predicted only be comparison to the
mud volume schedule required to keep the hole properly filled on previous trips. For
this reason, it is imperative that a record of mud volume required versus the number
of stands pulled on every trip be maintained on the rig.

2. SWABBING DURING A TRIP


Even when the well is completely full of sufficiently heavy mud, the pressure in the
wellbore opposite a permeable formation can be reduced by the swabbing action of
the drill string. This wellbore pressure reduction could allow small volumes of
formation fluid to feed-in during the time the pipe is in motion. Swabbing can cause
the well to begin flowing since the hydrostatic pressure of the mud column is reduced
by the formation fluid.

Some loss in hydrostatic mud pressure due to swabbing cannot be avoided; however,
the pressure reduction should not exceed the overbalance pressure of the mud
column.
Swabbing pressure is a function of pipe-pulling speed, mud properties, and annular
clearances.

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3. INSUFFICIENT MUD WEIGHT


The hydrostatic pressure exerted by the column of mud is the primary means of well
control. If this hydrostatic pressure is equal to or greater than the pore pressure of all
permeable formations exposed in the open hole, the well cannot flow. Kicks caused
by insufficient mud weight are most prevalent when drilling exploration wells in
abnormal pressure areas; however, this type of kick can also occur in development
drilling because of charged formations. In a charged formation, the pore pressure
has been increased by previous drilling or production operations and is not naturally
occurring. Injection operations, casing leaks, poor cement jobs, improper
abandonments, and previous underground blowouts can produce charged formations.

4. SPECIAL SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE EXTRA CARE

A) Loss of Circulation
Loss of circulation can cause the mud level in the hole to drop. This reduction in
height of the mud column reduces the hydrostatic well bore pressure and could
result in a well kick if the wellbore pressure becomes less than the pore pressure
of a permeable formation.

B) Drill Stem Testing


A drill stem test is performed by setting a packer above the formation to be tested,
and allowing the formation to flow. Down hole chokes can be incorporated in the
test string to limit surface pressures and flow rates to the capabilities of the
surface equipment to handle or dispose of the produced fluid.

During the course of the test, the borehole or casing below the packer and at least
a portion of the drill pipe or tubing is filled with formation fluid. At the
conclusion of the test, this fluid must be removed by proper well control
techniques to return the well to a safe condition.

Failure to follow the correct procedures to kill the well could lead to a blowout.

C) Drilling into an Adjacent Well


Frequently, a large number of directional wells are drilled from the same offshore
platform or onshore drilling pad. If a drilling well penetrates the production string

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of a previously completed well, the formation fluid from the completed well will
enter the wellbore of the drilling well, causing a kick. This is an extremely
dangerous situation and could easily result in an uncontrolled blowout.

D) Excessive Drilling Rate Through a Gas Sand


Even if the mud weight in the hole is sufficient to control the gas sand pressure,
gas from the drilled cuttings will mix with the mud. Excessive drilling rate
through a gas sand can supply sufficient gas from the cuttings to reduce the
hydrostatic pressure of the mud column through a combination of density
reduction and mud loss from belching to the point that the formation will begin
flowing into the wellbore resulting in a kick.

SURFACE WARNING SIGNALS


The preceding discussion has shown how kicks can occur. The next subject for
consideration is how to recognize and interpret the surface warning signs that give notice
that a kick is or may be about to occur. Every effort must be made to recognize these
signals and to evaluate down hole conditions promptly so that proper action can be taken.

1. VOLUME OF MUD TO KEEP THE HOLE FULL ON A TRIP IS LESS THAN


CALCULATED OR LESS THAN TRIP BOOK RECORD
This condition is usually caused by formation fluid entering the wellbore because of
the swabbing action of the drill string. As soon as swabbing is detected, the drill
string should be run back to bottom, bottoms up circulated, and the mud conditioned
to minimize further swabbing. It may be necessary to increase the mud weight, but
this should not be the first step considered because of the potential problems of lost
returns or differential sticking.

2. GAIN IN PIT VOLUME


A gain in the pit volume not caused at the surface is a positive sign that a kick is
occurring. As the formation fluid feeds into the wellbore, it causes more mud to flow
from the annulus than is pumped down the drill string, thus the pit volume increases.

3. INCREASED FLOW FROM ANNULUS

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If the pump rate is held constant, the flow from the annulus should be constant. If the
annulus flow increases without a corresponding change in pump rate, the additional
flow is caused by formation fluid feeding into the wellbore.

4. SUDDEN INCREASE IN PENETRATION RATE


A sudden increase in penetration rate (drilling break) is usually caused by a change in
the type of formation being drilled; however, it may also signal an increase in
permeability.

Faster penetration rates due to increasing pore pressures are usually not as abrupt as
drilling breaks, but they can be. In order to be sure that the gradual increases in pore
pressure are recognized, a penetration rate versus depth curve is usually required to
highlight the trend of increasing pressures.

5. CHANGE IN PUMP SPEED OR PRESSURE


Fluid entry into the wellbore causes a gradual decrease in pump pressure,
accompanied by an increase in pump speed. Since the light formation fluid continues
to flow into the wellbore, the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the annular column of
fluid decreases, and the mud in the drill pipe tries to U-tube into the annulus. When
this occurs, the pump pressure begins to drop and the pump speeds up.

The lowering of pump pressure and increase in pump speed is also characteristic of a
hole in the drill string commonly referred to as a washout. Until a determination can
be made whether a washout or kick has occurred, a kick must be assumed.

6. GAS-CUT MUD
Gas-cut mud often occurs during drilling operations and can be considered one of the
early warning signs of a potential kick; however, it is not a definite indication that a
kick has occurred or is impending. An essential part of analyzing this signal is being
able to determine the downhole conditions causing the mud to be gas-cut. Gas-cut
mud occurs as a result of one or more of the following downhole conditions:

A) Drilling a gas-bearing formation with the correct mud weight in the hole.
B) Swabbing while making connections or making a trip.

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C) Feed-in of gas from a formation having a pore pressure greater than the
hydrostatic pressure exerted by the mud.

A) Drilled Gas
When the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the mud is greater than the pore
pressure of a gas-bearing formation being drilled, there will be no feed-in of gas
from the formation. Nevertheless, gas from the drilled cuttings will mix with the
mud causing the mud returns to be cut.

As gas at bottom hole conditions is circulated up the annulus, it expands very


slowly until just before reaching the surface. The gas then undergoes a rapid
expansion that results in the mud weight being reduced considerably upon leaving
the annulus. In some cases this reduction in mud weight can be quite extreme, but
it may not mean that a kick is about to occur. Normally, only a small loss in
bottom-hole pressure occurs because the majority of gas expansion and
concurrent mud weight reduction occurs in the extreme top portion of the hole
and an adequate mud weight is still maintained in most of the hole.

Quite often when the drilled gas reaches the surface, the annular preventer must
be closed and the mud circulated through the open choke manifold. This prevents
the expending gas from belching mud through the bell nipple. If this belching
is permitted, the hydrostatic head will be reduced due to loss of mud from the
hole.

B) Trip or Connection Gas


After circulating bottoms-up following a trip or connection, a higher level of
gas entrained in the mud returns may cause a short duration density reduction or
gas unit increase. If the well did not flow when the pumps were stopped during
the trip or connection, it can be reasonably assumed that the gas was swabbed into
the wellbore by the pipe movement. These two values can indicate increasing
formation pressure when compared with previous trips and connections.

C) Gas Flow

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Feed-in from a gas sand while drilling is a serious situation. The formation pore
pressure must exceed the hydrostatic pressure of the mud plus the circulating
friction losses in the annulus for gas from the formation to flow into the wellbore
while drilling. Once feed-in begins, continued circulation without the proper
control of surface pressures may induce additional flow, since the density of the
hydrostatic column (annulus) is continually lessened by the flow of formation
fluid.

7. DRILLING A WATER SAND


When a permeable water sand having a pore pressure greater than the mud
hydrostatic pressure is encountered, water will feed into the wellbore. Depending
upon the pressure differential between the formation and the mud, feed-in may be
detected by the appearance at the surface of lower density mud returns, by a gain in
mud pit volume, and by a change in chlorides. Cut mud can also result from swabbing
or drilling a water-bearing formation. When a permeable water sand is drilled, water,
like gas and oil, will mix with the mud. Under these circumstances, the mud returns
are cut by the solution gas in the water rather than by the water itself.

ACTION WHEN SURFACE WARNING SIGNAL IS RECOGNIZED


If any of these Surface Warning Signals appear, an immediate Flow Check must be made
to determine if a kick is occurring.

FLOW CHECK PROCEDURE


1. Pick up the kelly until tool joint clears rotary table.
2. Shut down the mud pump.
3. Set the slips around the drill pipe and initiate rotation.
4. Observe the flowline to see if mud stops flowing from the annulus.

Unless mud continues to flow from the annulus, drilling can usually be resumed without
increasing the mud weight. If the mud continues to flow, even slightly, the well should be
shut in and checked for pressure.

Early kick recognition, followed immediately by steps to kill the


well, is the key to successful well control.

Once feed in is detected and the well is shut in, the formation fluid must be properly
circulated out before resuming normal operations. A complete understanding of the

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pressure relationships in the wellbore during killing operations as well as the correct
operational procedures to kill the well are essential.

WELLBORE MECHANICS
The primary objective in
circulating out a kick is to 520 PS I
establish and maintain a 735 PSI
constant bottom hole
D R ILL
pressure slightly greater PIPE C ASIN G
than the pressure of the
kicking formation during
the entire well killing
operation. This is
necessary to prevent
additional feed in from
occurring while the kick is
being circulated out and to
minimize the pressure
imposed on the casing or
formations in the open
hole. As a basis for 10# / G AL 10#/G AL.
considering well control MUD MUD
methods, this section
contains a review of the
pressure relation ships that
exist in the wellbore and
20 B B L. G AS EN TR Y
the behavior of the
different fluids that can be
present. 10,000 ft B H P 5720 PSI
FO R M ATIO N 5720 PSI

Fig. 1 Well shut in on a kick

A) Pressure Relationships

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After a kick is detected and the well shut in, no more formation fluid can flow into
the wellbore after pressures stabilize (except in the case of an underground blowout).
At this point, the well is in a pressure balanced condition.

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of a well shut in on a kick. In this well, a 20 barrel


gas influx occurred while drilling at 10,000 feet with a 10 ppg mud. The stabilized
shut in pressures were 520 psi on the drill pipe gage and 735 psi on the casing or
annulus gage.

Fig. 2 Well Kick Static Pressure Diagram

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To understand how the various pressures interact in the wellbore, it is necessary to


isolate and identify each one. Figure 2 is a representation of the pressures acting in
the example problem.

On the drill pipe, the gage pressure and hydrostatic pressure of the mud act in a
downward direction. These pressures are exactly balanced by the formation pressure
acting upward.

Drill pipe gage pressure + Hydrostatic pressure of the mud = Formation pressure

This same pressure balance can be made for the annulus.

Casing gage pressure + Hydrostatic pressure of the annulus


mud + Hydrostatic pressure of the influx = Formation pressure

The casing pressure is greater than the drill pipe pressure because the gas influx does
not exert as much hydrostatic pressure as the same height of mud in the drill pipe.

The drill pipe provides a direct link to the bottom-hole pressure since the gage
pressure can be read at the surface and the drill pipe should contain only mud of
known weight. The drill pipe usually has a float (back pressure value) above the bit
which will prevent the influx from entering the drill pipe. If we begin circulating this
well under controlled conditions to maintain a constant bottom-hole pressure and do
not increase the mud weight, the well can be shut in at any time, and the shut in drill
pipe pressure will still be 520 psi. The drill pipe pressure which will be required to
maintain a constant bottom hole pressure is dependent on the mud weight inside the
drill pipe under stabilized shut in conditions.

In the annulus, the pressure relationships are not predictable because of the presence
of the formation fluid. The casing pressure that will be required to maintain a
constant bottom hole pressure is dependent upon the type of formation fluid and the
height or vertical length of formation fluid present in the annulus. Under actual
conditions you really dont know for sure either the type or the height of formation
fluids. This is the reason we use the drill pipe pressure for well control.

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B) Influx Behavior
Water, which is nearly incompressible, does not expand to any appreciable extent as
the pressure is reduced. Because of this property, the pumping rate and returns rate
will be equal as the water kick is circulated from the wellbore provided no further
water influx is permitted. The casing pressure will change with a constant bottom
hole pressure as the water height in the annulus changes with the hole geometry. The
casing pressure will also change as the lighter water is displaced and the heavier mud
replaces it in the annulus. Increases in mud weight during the kill operation will also
cause changes in the casing pressure. Nearly all water influxes contain some solution
gas which will make the surface pressures form the same pattern as seen during a gas
kick, but to a lesser degree.

Oil, like gas-charged salt water, behaves essentially like a gas influx.

Gas, is a highly compressible fluid. The volume occupied by a certain amount of gas
is a function of both temperature and pressure.

For instance, consider a barrel of gas at the bottom of a 10,000 foot well. The bottom
hole temperature is 240 oF and the well is full of 9.0 ppg mud which provides a
hydrostatic pressure of 4680 psi on the gas. This same barrel of gas will expand to
occupy a volume of 202 barrels under surface conditions of 14.7 psi and 80 oF.

Temperature also affects the volume, but to a lesser extent (for the wellbore
temperature range) and in the opposite direction. In the above example, the barrel of
gas would have occupied 261 barrels at the surface if the temperature was held
constant at 240 oF while the pressure was reduced from 4680 psi to 14.7 psi.

If that barrel of gas were not allowed to expand in a controlled manner as it was
circulated up the wellbore, it would maintain its initial pressure of 4680 psi as it
moved up the annulus, and would create excessive wellbore pressures.

The pressure relationships outlined in this section are the basis for effective well
control. The Drill Pipe Pressure Method applies these principles and, in so doing,
assures that a constant bottom-hole pressure is maintained throughout the killing
circulation.

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UNSOUND WELL CONTROL TECHNIQUES


In the past, it was standard practice to circulate an influx of formation fluid from the
wellbore maintaining a constant pit level without regard to either the drill pipe or casing
pressure. The assumption was made that no additional feed in would occur if the volume
of returns from the annulus was held equal to the volume of mud pumped into the drill
pipe. This is true, however, the correct objective of maintaining a constant bottom hole
pressure during the well killing operation is ignored. This technique is unsound because
it does not take into account the pressure density relationships in fluid columns and the
laws governing the expansion of gas.

In order to appreciate the dangers of using the constant pit level method to control the
well, it is necessary to review the basic pressure relationships which are caused by the
presence of a gas kick in a wellbore.

Ft x 1000
0
SURFACE PRESSURE = ZERO PRESSURE AT TOP
OF GAS = 4166 PSI

GAS = 200 PSI


2

MUD = 75 PCF MUD

6
P = 75 / 144 X 8000 = 4166 PSI
PRESSURE AT TOP OF GAS
BUBBLE IS 4166 PSI
8
GAS
BHP = 8532 PSI
0.1 X 2000 = 200 PSI = 122.6 PCF
BHP = 4366 PSI
10

Fig. 3 Wellbore Pressures

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In Figure 3, a gas influx has entered the wellbore, but no further flow is taking place
because the hydrostatic pressure of the 75 pcf mud (4166 psi) plus the hydrostatic
pressure of the gas (200 psi) exactly equal the bottom hole pressure of 4366 psi. If it were
possible to insert a pressure gage at the top of the bubble, the gage would read 4166 psi.

Using the constant pit level method, the gas is circulated to the top of the well. Since the
volume of the gas bubble has not been allowed to change, the pressure at the top of the
bubble has remained constant at 4166 psi.

The hydrostatic pressure caused by the density of the gas and mud still exerts a combined
pressure of 4366 psi on the bottom of the hole, but now the gas pressure of 4166 psi must
be added so that the total pressure exerted on the bottom of the hole is 8532 psi. Had this
situation occurred on a drilling well, lost returns could certainly have been expected.
Excessive pressure buildups will result when the constant pit level method is used for
well control.

CALCULATION OF KILL MUD WEIGHT


A positive shut-in drill pipe pressure indicates that the original mud weight is not
adequate to balance the formation pressure. The mud weight increase required to balance
the formation pressure is given by

SID PP x 144
= ... (1)
TD

Normally, in kill operations a specified overbalance pressure is used to offset any


reduction in hydrostatic pressure as a result of swabbing. The increase in mud required to
provide a desired overbalance pressure is,

Overbalance pressure x 144


ob = ... (2)
TD

The mud weight required to kill the formation is ,


= i + + ob ......................................... (3)

where,
= kill mud weight, pcf

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i = original mud weight prior to kick, pcf


= mud weight increase to balance formation, pcf
SIDPP = shut-in drill pipe pressure, psi
ob = increase in mud weight required to provide desired overbalance
pressure, pcf

CALCULATION OF DOWNHOLE FAILURE PRESSURE.


This calculation is necessary to determine if the casing or the formation below the casing
shoe will be the weak point. The equivalent mud weight that the casing shoe can hold is
usually determined after the casing was cemented. The maximum allowable casing
surface pressure that will not cause failure at the casing shoe is given by,
( c i ) D
Pmax = ..............................................
144
(4)
where,
Pmax = maximum allowable surface casing pressure during kill operation, psi
c = equivalent mud weight that the casing seat can hold, pcf
i = original mud weight, pcf
D = casing depth, ft

The maximum allowable surface casing pressure that will not burst the casing at shoe
depth is,

Burst pressure Mudwt . inCsg M udwt . outsideCsg


Pmax = D ... (5)
S . F. 144

where, S.F. is a safety factor (1.1).

The lower of the two values of Pmax from Eq (4) or Eq (5) must not be exceeded during
the killing operation.

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CIRCULATION RATE FOR KILL OPERATION


The selection of the circulation rate is based upon the circulation rate before the kick, and
the rig equipment. This rate should always be less than the normal circulation rate and
should usually fall in the range of 1/2-2 1/2 barrels per minute (or no more than 50
ft./min. around drill collars). The lower rates are desirable since they allow more time to
condition the mud while weighting up, give the choke operator more time to react, and
simplify the handling of large volumes of gas at the surface. The low rates are also
desirable to minimize lost returns.

DRILL PIPE PRESSURE METHOD


The Drill Pipe Pressure Method is the simplest and most effective technique for
controlling kicks and should be used any time a formation fluid influx is circulated out of
a well. This method does not require that the volume or type of feed-in fluid be known
and works equally well for gas, oil and water kicks. As long as the annulus choke is
adjusted to maintain a constant drill pipe pumping pressure, gas, if present, will expand
in the proper manner and the volume of mud returns will automatically be more than the
constant volume pumped into the drill pipe until the influx is circulated out of the
wellbore. The correct wellbore pressure relationships are maintained at all times by this
method of control and the procedure is readily adaptable to field operations in all cases
where the bit is near the bottom of the well.

The drill pipe pressure method is the recommended procedure for killing any well if the
well has been successfully shut-in without loss of returns. The kill procedure is
summarized as follows:

1. Pick up kelly until tool joint is above rotary table.


2. Shut down pump and check for flow.
3. Close annular BOP.
4. Close adjustable choke.
5. Record shut-in drill pipe and casing pressures, pit volume gain, depth and original
mud weight. The drill pipe float normally has a small port to transmit pressure to
surface. If a non-ported drill pipe float is in use, the pressure to pump the float value
open should be used as the drill pipe pressure.

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6. Determine the circulating drill pipe pressure. This can be done by holding the casing
pressure constant at the shut in value and pumping down the drill pipe at constant
and reduced rate of 0.5 to 2.5 BPM. As the pump starts, the casing pressure tends to
increase. The choke on the annulus is manipulated to keep the annulus pressure
constant at the shut-in value. By holding the annulus pressure constant at the shut-in
value for the short time required to bring the pump to the desired speed, the bottom
hole pressure remains essentially constant and no additional influx will enter the
wellbore. With the pump running at the desired constant speed (rate) and the casing
pressure maintained constant at the shut-in value, read and record the drill pipe
circulating pressure
The bottom hole pressure is common to both the annulus and drill pipe, and is being held
constant by holding the casing pressure constant. (The drill pipe pumping pressure
read at this point is that pressure necessary to maintain a constant bottom hole
pressure). This is true as long as the pump rate and mud weight remain the same.
The difference between the shut-in and pumping drill pipe pressure is the pressure
necessary to cause the mud to circulate at the desired rate.
Changes in drill pipe pressures due to choke manipulation will usually require
approximately 2 seconds per 1000 feet of well depth to register on the stand pipe
gauge; however, this lag in response time can be longer if the mud is contaminated or
a large gas kick is present.
7. Once the drill pipe circulating pressure becomes stabilized at the desired casing
pressure, hold the drill pipe pressure constant by adjusting the annulus choke.
Continue to pump original mud at the same CONSTANT rate and circulate out the
kick to surface.
8. Pump kill mud of heavier density to the bit, make downward correction in the drill
pipe pressure as described in the following section.

9. Continue circulating at CONSTANT pumping rate until mud of the required density
to kill the well occupies the wellbore.

10. Stop circulation and check for flow.

In the above procedure the kick is circulated out in Step # 7 using the original mud
weight and then kill mud is circulated to kill the well. This approach of weighting up the
mud, called the Drillers Method, offers the advantages of relative speed and
simplicity, but

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generally results in a higher maximum surface pressure than other methods. If


insufficient barite is on hand to weight up the mud, this method should be used rather
than suspending operations until barite can be delivered.

If sufficient barite is available on the well site, Step # 7 may be deleted and the well
killed by circulating kill mud as in Step # 8. This method of weighting up the mud, called
the Wait-and-Weight Method, will result in lower surface casing pressures and requires
less time since the well is killed in one circulation. The drill pipe pumping pressure
should be adjusted to correct for the increase in hydrostatic pressure and frictional
pressure losses as a result of pumping the heavier kill mud. The procedure for adjusting
the drill pipe circulating pressure is described in the following section.

PUMP PRESSURE SCHEDULES FOR WELL CONTROL OPERATIONS


In the previous section a procedure was described to determine the circulating drill pipe
pressure using the original mud weight. When kill mud of heavier density is pumped to
kill the well, both the hydrostatic pressure and the frictional pressure losses in the drill
string are altered. Thus, the circulating drill pipe pressure must be varied to offset the
change in the hydrostatic and frictional pressure loss terms if the bottom hole pressure is
to remain constant. The change in hydrostatic pressure due to a change in mud density is
given by
i
Ph = f L ........................................... (6)
144

The change in pressure drop through the bit increases linearly with mud density. Also,
the frictional pressure loss in the drill string for the usual case of turbulent flow can be
assumed to increase linearly with mud density without introducing a large error. Since
the annular pressure losses are small, the frictional pressure loss due to a change in mud
density can be approximated using
i
Pf = Pi f ............................................ (7)
i
where,
Pf = increase in frictional pressure, psi
f = final kill mud weight, pcf
i = original mud weight, pcf
Pi = initial frictional pressure in drill string, psi

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The net decrease in circulating drill pipe pressure required to offset the increase in
hydrostatic pressure and frictional pressure loss between the surface and the bit is given
by
P = Ph Pf
L P
= ( f i ) i .................................... (8)
144 i

Since this relation is linear with respect to mud density increase, it is convenient to
calculate only the final circulating drill pipe pressure corresponding to the final kill mud
density reaching the bit. Intermediate drill pipe pressures are determined by means of
graphical interpolation.

Example
A 20-bbl kick is taken at a depth of 10,000 ft. After the pressures stabilized, an initial
drill pipe pressure of 520 psig and an initial casing pressure of 720 psig were recorded.
The ID of the 9100-ft 5 drill pipe is 4.276 and the ID of the 900-ft drill collars is 2.5
Original mud weight of 72 pcf was pumped down the drill pipe at a constant rate of 20
strokes per minutes and a pressure of 1300 psi while holding the casing pressure constant
at the initial shut-in value of 720 psi. The pump factor is 0.2 bbl/stroke. Calculate,
a) the bottom hole circulating pressure that should be maintained constant during the kill
operation,
b) the kill mud weight that will provide 150 psi overbalance,
c) the drill pipe pressure schedule required to keep the bottom hole pressure constant as
the density of mud in drill pipe increases from the initial value of 72 pcf to the final
kill mud density.

Solution
a) The bottom hole circulating pressure is the initial shut-in drill pipe pressure plus the
hydrostatic pressure of the mud. Bottom hole pressure
72
Bottom hole pressure = 520 + 10000 = 5520 psi
144

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b) Mud weight increase to balance formation pressure is calculated from Eq (1),


520 x144
= = 7.5 pcf
10,000

Mud weight to balance formation pressure = 72 + 7.5 = 79.5 pcf

150 x144
Mud weight to overbalance formation pressure = 79.5 + = 816
. pcf
10000

. ( 4.276)
314
c) Capacity of drill pipe = = 0.0177 bbl / ft
4 x144 x5.61

. ( 2.5)
2
314
Capacity of drill collars = =.00607bbl / ft
4 x144 x5.61
The frictional pressure drop in drill pipe while pumping 72 pcf mud at 20 strokes/min
is
Pi = 1300 520 = 780 psi

The total drill pipe pressure change required to maintain the bottom hole pressure
constant as the mud weight increases from 72 to 81.6 pcf is given by Eq (8)

10000 780
= ( 816
. 72)
144 72
= 562 psi

Thus, the final circulating drill pipe pumping pressure when kill weight mud reaches
the bit is,
1300 562 = 738 psi

It is usually convenient to determine the drill pipe pumping pressure as a function of


the number of strokes or barrels pumped. The total number of strokes to pump kill
mud to the bit is,
9 1 0 0 x 0 .01 7 7 + 9 0 0 x 0 .0 0 6 0 7
= 832 strokes
0 .2

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The initial circulating drill pipe pressure is 1300 psi and the final pressure when the
kill mud reaches the bit after pumping 832 strokes is 738 psi. Assuming linear
relation, intermediate values of drill pipe pressures can be obtained graphically as
shown in Fig (4).

Fig. 4 Drill Pipe Pressure Schedule for the Wait-and-Weight Method

For example, after pumping 400 strokes (80 bbls of kill mud) the drill pipe circulating
pressure should be 1030 psig in order to maintain constant bottom hole pressure.

KICK IDENTIFICATION
The annular pressure profile that will be observed during well control operations depends
to a large extent on the composition of the kick fluids. In general, a gas kick causes
higher annular pressures than a liquid kick. This is true because a gas kick
1) has a lower density than a liquid kick and
2) must be allowed to expand as it is pumped to the surface.

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Both of these factors result in a lower hydrostatic pressure in the annulus. Thus, to
maintain a constant bottom hole pressure, a higher surface annular pressure must be
maintained using the adjustable choke.

Kick composition must be


specified for annular
pressure calculations
made for the purpose of
well planning. Kick
composition generally is
not known during actual
well control operations.
However, the density of
the kick fluid can be
estimated from the
observed drill pipe
pressure, annular casing
pressure, and pit gain.
The density calculation
often will determine if the
kick is predominantly gas
or liquid.

The density of the kick


fluid is estimated most
easily by assuming that
the kick fluid entered the
annulus as a slug. A
schematic of initial well
conditions after closing
the blowout preventer on
a kick is shown in Fig (5).
The volume of kick fluid
present must be
ascertained from the
volume of drilling fluid
expelled from the annulus
into the pit before closing
the blowout preventer.
Fig. 5 Formation Fluid Influx Enters the Wellbore

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The pit gain G usually is recorded by pit volume monitoring equipment.

A pressure balance on the initial well system for a uniform mud density i , is given by,

i TD i Li fLf
SIDPP + = SICP + +
144 144 144

Rearranging the equation for the density of the kick yields,

144 ( SIDPP SICP)


f = + i ............................ (9)
Lf

If the kick volume is smaller than the annular volume opposite the drill collars, the length
of the kick can be expressed in terms of the kick volume and the annular capacity
opposite the drill collar,

V f x 1029.4
Lf = .................................. (10)
2
Doh Ddc
2

Substituting in Eq (9),

=
144( SIDPP SICP) Doh
2
(
Ddc2 ) + ..................... (11)
i
f V f x 10294
.

where,

SIDPP = Shut-in drill pipe pressure, psi


SICP = Shut-in casing pressure, psi
Li = Length of mud column in annulus above kick, ft
Lf = Length of kick, ft
= Density of mud, lb/ft3
i

TD = Total depth, ft
Vf = Volume of kick, bbl
Ddc = OD of drill collars, in
Doh = Diameter of hole, in

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If the volume of the kick is larger than the annular volume opposite the drill collars, then
the length of the kick becomes,

L =L +
(V f )
Vdc 1029.4
.............................. (12)
f dc D Ddp
2
oh
2

where,
Vdc = Annular volume opposite drill collars, bbl
Ddp = OD of drill pipe, in
Ldc = Length of drill collars, ft

The density of the kick f is obtained by substituting Eq (12) into Eq (9). If the calculated
kick density is less than 22 pcf then the kick fluid is gas, and a kick density greater than
60 pcf indicates that the kick fluid is predominantly liquid.

Several factors can cause large errors in the calculation of kick fluid density when the
kick volume is small. Hole washout can make the determination of kick length difficult.
In addition, the pressure gauges often do not read accurately at low pressures. Also, the
effective annular mud density may be slightly greater than the mud density in the drill
pipe because of entrained drilled solids. Furthermore, the kick fluid is mixed with a
significant quantity of mud and often cannot be represented accurately as a slug. Thus,
the kick density computed using Eq (9) should be viewed as only a rough estimate.

Some improvement in the accuracy of the kick density calculation can be achieved if the
volume of mud mixed with the formation fluids is known. The minimum mud volume
that was mixed with the kick fluids can be estimated using the expression
Vm = qt d

where q is the flow rate of the pumps, and td is the kick detection time before stopping the
pump and closing the blowout preventer.

The volume of the kick contaminated zone is,


V mix = V f + V m .................................... (13)

The mean density of the kick-contaminated zone mix can be computed from Eq (11) by
using Vmix instead of Vf . The density of the kick fluid can be calculated from the mixture
equation,

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mixVmix Vmi
= ................................. (14)
f Vf

Example
A well is being drilled at a vertical depth of 10,000 ft while circulating a 9.6-lbm/gal mud
at a rate of 8.5 bbl/min when the well begins to flow. Twenty barrels of mud are gained
in the pit over a 3 minute period before the pump is stopped and the blowout preventers
are closed. After the pressures stabilized, an initial drill pipe pressure of 520 psig and an
initial casing pressure of 720 psig are recorded. Compute the density of the kick fluid.
The total capacity of the drill string is 130 bbl. The size of the hole is 10.25 in. The drill
pipe OD is 5 in and the OD of the 900 ft of drill collars is 8.125 in.

Solution
The annular volume opposite 900 ft of drill collars is

V dc =
314 (
. 10.25 2 8125
. 2 900 ) = 34.14 bbl
4 x 144 x 5.61

If it is assumed that kick fluid entered as a slug, then volume of kick is less than the
annular volume opposite drill collars. Thus Eq (11) is used to calculate the density of
kick fluid.

f =
(
144 ( 520 720) 10.252 8125
. 2 ) + 9.6 x 7.48 = 17.18 pcf
20 x1029.4

The low density indicates that the kick fluid is gas.

If it is assumed that the kick fluids are mixed with the mud pumped while the well was
flowing,
Vmix = 20 + Vm
bbl
Vm = 8.5 x 3 min = 255
. bbl
min
Vmix = 20 + 25.5 = 45.5 bbl

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Since the volume of kick is larger than the annular volume around the drill collars, the
length of kick is calculated by using Eq (12),

Lmix = Ldc + (Vmix 2 Vdc ) 1029.4


2
Doh Ddp

( 455. 34.14) 1029.4


Lmix = 900 + = 1046 ft
10.252 52

Using Eq (9), the density of contaminated kick (kick fluid + mud) is,

144( 520 720)


mix
= + 9.6 x7.48 = 44.27 pcf
1046

From Eq(14), the density of the kick fluid is,


mix Vmix Vm i
f =
Vf

. 255
44.27 x455 . x9.6 x7.48
= = 9.15 pcf
f 20

which also indicates that the kick fluid is a gas.

ANNULAR PRESSURE PREDICTION


Although annular pressure calculations are not required for well control procedure, a
prior knowledge of kick behavior helps in the preparation of the appropriate contingency
plans. The same hydrostatic pressure balance approach used to identify the kick fluids
also can be used to estimate the pressure at any point in the annulus for various well
conditions. During well control operations, the bottom hole pressure will be maintained
constant at a value slightly above the formation pressure through the operation of an
adjustable choke. Thus, it is usually convenient to express the pressure at the desired
point in the annulus in terms of the known bottom hole pressure. This requires a
knowledge of only the length and density of each fluid region between the bottom of the
hole and the point of interest. When a gas kick is involved, the length of the gas region
must be determined using the real gas equation. For simplicity, it usually is assumed that
the kick region remains as a continuous slug that does not slip relative to the mud.

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Fig. 6 Casing Pressure Calculations

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In Fig (6) the gas kick is shown to have moved up from the bottom of the hole to a new
position. A pressure balance on the new well system yields,

Pf = Pb + Pg + Pa + CP .................................. (15)
where,
Pf = formation pressure, psi
Pb = hydrostatic pressure of mud column below gas bubble, psi
Pg = pressure of the hydrostatic column of gas, psi
Pa = hydrostatic pressure of mud column above gas bubble, psi
CP = casing surface pressure, psi

Since Pf = Pb + Pgb
Pgb = Pf - Pb
where Pgb is pressure at bottom of gas bubble.

The volume of the gas kick at the new position is calculated from the real gas law,

V f Pf Tbg Z g
Vg = .................................. (16)
Pgb T f Z f

where,
Vg = Gas volume at new position, ft3
Vf = Gas volume at initial position at TD, ft3
Zf = Gas compressibility factor at reservoir conditions
Zg = Gas compressibility factor at the new position conditions
Tf = Reservoir temperature, degree Rankine
Tbg = Temperature at bottom of gas bubble, degree Rankine

The density of the gas at the new position is also determined from the real gas law as,

f Pgb Tf Z f
g = ......................................... (17)
Pf Tg Zg

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The length of the gas bubble is calculated from Eq (10). From the pressure balance Eq
(15) the casing surface pressure is

Lb b L g g La a
CP = Pf .......................... (18)
144 144 144
where,
Lb = Length of mud column below gas bubble, ft
Lg = Length of gas bubble, ft
La = Length of mud column above gas bubble, ft
b = Density of mud below gas bubble, pcf
a = Density of mud above gas bubble, pcf
g = Density of gas at new position, pcf

Example
Consider the kick described in the previous example. Refer to Fig (7).
a) Compute mud density required to kill the well.
b) Compute the pressure at the casing seat located at 3,500 ft for initial well conditions.
c) Compute pressure at casing seat after circulating 170 bbls of kill fluid in the annulus
while maintaining the bottom hole pressure constant through the use of adjustable
surface choke.
d) Compute the new surface casing pressure after circulating 170 bbls kill mud in the
annulus.

Assume the following:


Temperature at TD = 200 oF
Temperature gradient = 0.1 oF / 100 ft
Zf / Zg = 1.0
Casing ID = 10.25 in
Capacity of drillstring = 130 bbls

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Fig. 7 Well Schematic for Example Problem

Solution
a) From Eq (2), the kill mud density with zero overbalance is
520 x144
= + 9.6 x7.48 = 79.3 pcf
10,000

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b) Pressure at casing seat for initial conditions is

9.6 x 7.48
P = 720 + 3500 x = 2465 psi
144

c) The fluids in the annulus from bottom to top are,


i) 170 bbls of kill fluid,
ii) 130 bbls of 9.6 ppf mud which were displaced from the drill string,
iii) the gas bubble, and
iv) initial mud

Annular volume around drill collars =


900 x314 (
. 10.252 8125
. 2 ) = 34.14bbls
4 x144 x5.61

Annular capacity around the drill pipe =


314 (
. 10.252 52 ) = 0.0778bbl / ft
4 x144 x5.61
170 34.14
= 1746 ft
Length of kill fluid around drill pipe = .0778

Total length of kill fluid column in annulus = 900 + 1746 = 2646 ft

The region above the kill mud in the annulus contains 130 bbls of 9.6 ppg mud which
130
was displaced from the drill pipe. The length of this column is = 1670 ft .
.0778

The region above 9.6 ppg mud is the gas. The approximate pressure of the gas is
needed to compute the gas volume and length.

The pressure at the bottom of the gas bubble is


Pgb = Pf - Pb
9.6 x7.48
Pf = 520 + x10,000 = 5506 psi
144
10.6 7.48 1670 9.6 7.48
Pb = 2646 + = 2290 psi
144 144

Pgb = 5506 - 2290 = 3216 psi

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This pressure occurs at a depth of 10000 - 2646 - 1670 = 5684 ft. The temperature of
the gas at 5684 ft is
(10000 5684)
Tbg = 200 - 0.1 x
100
= 195.6 oF
= 195.6 + 460 = 655.6 oRankine.

The gas volume at the new position calculated from Eq (16),


20 x5506 x655.6
Vg = = 34bbls
3216 x660

34
The length of the gas region is = 437 ft
.0778

The density of the gas is given by Eq (17),


17.18 x3216 x660
=
g
= 101
. pcf
5506 x655.6

The pressure at the casing seat is


79.3 718
. 101
. 718
.
5506 - (900+1746) - 1670 x - 437 x - (5247 - 3500) = 2316 psi
144 144 144 144

718
.
d) Casing surface pressure = 2316 - 3500
144
= 570 psi

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CHAPTER BLOWOUT PREVENTER EQUIPMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

INTRODUCTION 1
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS 1
BLOW OUT PREVENTERS 1

ANNULAR PREVENTERS 2
HYDRIL GK 2
HYDRIL 3
DIVERTER SYSTEMS 6

RAM PREVENTERS 7
HYDRIL 7
- PIPE RAM 8
- BLIND RAM 10
- SHEAR RAM 10

PRESSURE RATINGS AND SIZES 12


PRESSURE RATINGS 12
BOP SIZING 14

STACK ARRANGEMENTS 16
ARRANGEMENTS 16
STACKS WITH TWO RAM PREVENTERS 19
ARRANGEMENT LOGIC 20
STACKS WITH THREE RAM PREVENTERS 21
ARRANGEMENT LOGIC 21
BOP ARRANGEMENT - ONE PIPE SIZE 23
BOP ARRANGEMENT - TWO PIPE SIZES 24
"CLASS A" SAUDI ARAMCO 3000 PSI BOP STACK 26
"CLASS A" SAUDI ARAMCO 10,000 PSI BOP STACK 27
SUMMARY 29
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

ACCESSORY BLOWOUT PREVENTION EQUIPMENT 31


PIT VOLUME TOTALIZERS 31
MUD FLOW INDICATORS 31
MUD GAS SEPARATORS 32
- DEGASSER 32
- GAS BUSTER 32
SAFETY VALVES 33
INSIDE BOP 33
DRILLING CHOKES 34
TRIP TANK 34
STROKE COUNTERS 35
GAS DETECTORS 36
MUD LOGGING UNITS 36
MUD WEIGHT RECORDERS 36
DRILLING RATE RECORDERS 37
DRILLPIPE FLOAT VALVES 37
CHOKE MANIFOLD 37
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INTRODUCTION
General Requirements
The purpose of a blowout control system is to maintain control of the well when wellhead
pressures develop, and this requires a means of closing the hole, controlled release of fluids, and
a means of pumping into the hole.
The first requirement implies having large valves (BOPS) attached to and supported by casing
cemented in the well. In addition, the casing must be of sufficient burst strength and set at such a
depth that the estimated formation strength is enough to resist rupture. There must be provisions
for closing the well with and without pipe in the hole, a means of closing around drill pipe when
it is present, and a means of stripping pipe in or out of the hole. Pipe in this case may be drill
pipe, drill collars, tubing, or casing.

Controlled release of fluids requires valves, chokes, and lines which allow mud, gas, oil, or water
to bleed or flow at necessary rates under varying pressures, with further provision for directing
these fluids to waste pit, separator, flow box, or mud tanks as desired.

When drill pipe is in the hole, mud is usually pumped through the mud circulation system; but
under excessive pressures or when pipe is out of the hole, additional pump-in connections
become necessary. In addition, a power source and control system for quickly closing the BOPs
and other control valves are needed for even the simplest low-pressure systems.

Blow Out Preventers (BOPs)


There are two types of blow out preventers:

Annular blowout preventer.


Ram blowout preventer

The annular BOP provides quick positive closing action with simplified controls to keep drilling
fluids in the hole when a blowout threatens. The universal seal feature of the annular blow out
preventer permits closing and sealing on virtually anything in the well bore; drill pipe, kelly, tool
joints, collars, tubing or casing. The annular can strip (move pipe with pressure on the annular)
any pipe, close the annulus or close the open hole if needed. The annular blowout preventer will
be discussed in the annular section.

The ram blowout preventer is essentially a specialized valve to close the wellbore. Similar in
operation to a gate valve the ram BOP has gates called rams which meet at the center of the hole
and close off the hole. These rams are designed to seal around pipe (pipe rams) or seal the
wellbore completely without pipe in the hole (blind or shear rams). The ram blowout preventer
will be discussed in the ram preventer section.

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Annular Preventers
Annular preventers are composed of specially designed, steel-reinforced resilient elements that
can seal around any cylindrical or nearly cylindrical objects that go through the BOPs. They will
also seal over the open hole, and can pass drill-pipe tool joints without severe damage to the
sealing element. Because of their flexibility, the annular preventers are often referred to as
Universal Preventers.

Wear Plate

Packing Unit

Head
Opening Chamber & Port

Piston

Closing Chamber & Port

Figure 1: The annular preventer (Hydril GK)

Referring to Figure 1;
1. The wear plate serves as an upper non sealing wear surface for the movement of the packing
unit.
2. The packing unit is the compressible element that closes around the pipe or closes on open
hole to seal the wellbore .
3. The head is the part of the annular preventer that is removed when the packing unit needs to
be replaced. The head is secured either by threads (Figure 2) or by latching (Figure 3).
4. The opening chamber accepts pressured hydraulic fluid to move the piston down.
5. The piston is the part that applies proper forces on the packing unit to effect a seal.
6. The closing chamber accepts pressured hydraulic fluid to move the piston up.

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Screwed Head
Threads

Figure 2: Annular with screwed head (Hydril)

Latched Head

Latch

Figure 3: Annular with latched head (Hydril)

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Annular preventers are actuated by applying hydraulic pressure to the closing chamber through
the closing port. The pressured hydraulic fluid forces the wedge shaped piston upward causing
the packing unit to move upward and inward thus squeezing it into the wellbore to seal on open
hole or around whatever pipe is in the hole. To open the hole or annulus, hydraulic pressure is
removed from the closing port and applied to the opening port. The pressured hydraulic fluid
forces the piston down which allows the packing unit to relax. The resilient construction of the
packing unit allows it to return to its original shape.

Drill pipe can be rotated and tool joints stripped through the closed packing unit, while
maintaining a full seal on the pipe. Stripping is the act of moving the pipe in or out of the hole
through the closed packing unit without losing control of the well while there is pressure in the
wellbore. Longest packing unit life is obtained by adjusting the closing chamber pressure just
low enough to maintain a seal on the pipe with a slight amount of drilling fluid leakage as the
tool joint passes through the packing unit. This leakage indicates the lowest usable closing
pressure for minimum packing unit wear.
Well fluid should not be the only lubrication during stripping through any annular preventer.
Drilling mud or gel (bentonite) and water are excellent lubricants and will not react with rubber.
The element should be lubricated continuously during stripping operations.
Use of an annular preventer adds capabilities not possible with the ram type arrangement alone.
The advantages are that:
1. Closure can be made on drill collars or casing.
2. Closure can be made on tool joints or on the kelly.
3. Closure can be made on any segment of a tapered drill string.
4. Closure can be made on swab, logging and perforating lines and tools.
5. Drill pipe can be reciprocated.
6. Faster well closure is possible because the pipe does not need to be positioned.
7. The string can be stripped in or out of the hole.
8. A back-up for both blind rams and pipe rams is provided.
Life of the sealing element is shortened by repeated closure. For this reason, testing should be
less frequent than normal for ram preventers. Closure on open hole tends to shorten the sealing
element's life. To extend element life when testing the annular preventer, it should be closed with
less than normal operating pressure, and always with pipe in the hole.
If a kick occurs while running casing, ram-type preventers should be used for closure where
available. In the absence of correctly sized rams, annular preventers must be used. Some casing
sizes may be deformed and even crushed by annular preventers that are closed at pressures
recommended for closure on drill pipe. Closing pressures to avoid casing damage vary with
casing size, preventer size, preventer model and manufacturer. These recommendations are
included in the operating and maintenance manual for each preventer and should be kept at the
rig site.

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Old elements can be removed and new elements inserted with drill pipe in the hole by vertically
cutting the elements in a groove between metal segments. The cut is opened to permit the
element to be wrapped around the pipe. Cutting will not affect the sealing ability

When the well pressure is high enough, the preventer will not leak well fluids even if the closing
pressure were bled to zero. For example, a 13-5/8 GK closed on 4-1/2 drill pipe will leak at
zero closing pressure if well pressure is 1700 psi or less. At higher well pressures it will not leak.

High closing pressures, especially when combined with high well pressure and pipe movements,
can destroy a GK element. This is particularly true of the larger models because of the high
closing force caused by the larger piston area. There have been instances where 7-1/16 GKs
have been closed at 3000 psi without severe seal damage; however, such high pressures can
damage the element and are not required for a seal. Closing pressures of 3000 psi on 13-5/8 and
larger will often blow the seal out of a GK preventer. If there is concern about an annular
preventer's sealing around drill pipe, use a ram preventer. Generally, drilling contractors keep a
GK Hydril adjusted at 700-900 psi when closing on pipe. If closing on wireline or open hole,
closing pressure is adjusted to about 1100 psi.

There is a relatively large selection of annular preventers available (see Table 3):

Three types of resilient elements are available (Table 1): natural rubber, nitrile rubber, and
neoprene rubber. Natural rubber should be used only when drilling with water-base drilling
fluids without added oil. This material gives the longest life under such conditions, but always
leaves a question about performance if closure is necessary on flowing oil. The synthetic
resilient elements are for use with mud containing oil. Nitrile rubber is limited to use at
temperatures above 20F, and neoprene is used for temperatures down to -30F.

Table 1: Hydril packing unit types

Packing Type Color Letter Recommended Use


Code Code
Natural Rubber Black R Water based muds -30F to 225F

Nitrile Red S Oil muds with aniline points between


20F and 190F and for H2S service

Neoprene Green N Oil based muds with operating


temperatures between -30F and
170F

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Diverter Systems
A diverter system is a large, low-pressure annular preventer with large relief (discharge) lines to
divert produced well fluids away from the rig while regaining control of a shallow gas flow. It
may be used with drive pipe, conductor pipe, or with short surface strings that have not been set
deeply enough for the well to be shut in, i.e. where broaching would occur, making a true shut in
impossible. When properly designed, a diverter system allows the crew to work on the rig floor
with less chance of fire or of being hit by debris blown from the well.

30"
Annular
Hydraulic Control Hydraulic Control
10-3/4" OD x 10.05" ID Gate Valve 10-3/4" OD x 10.05" ID
Gate Valve
Diverter Line Emergency Diverter Line

Pump In
Valve Bore 6 1/8" Connection Valve Bore 6 1/8"
30"
2" WECO Union 600 MSS
Outlet for 2" Valve Flanges

Note: The same arrangement shall be used


for 20 in. equipment when a diverter
is required.

Provisions shall be made to take pressures


either flowing, shut-in or pumping

Figure 4: Saudi Aramco Class D Diverter BOP Stack

Figure 4 is a Saudi Aramco diverter system. A true diverter system, by definition, closes the
annular and opens the HCR (Hydraulically Controlled Remote) valve at the same time. The well
cannot be shut in because it cannot hold the shut in pressure; the formation at the conductor shoe
will fracture. This action would lead to an underground blowout which is more difficult to kill.
The underground fracture could come to the surface thereby causing a blowout with no means of
control and possible loss of the rig.

On land rigs, the flowline is run to the reserve pit. These lines should be at least 100 ft long,
discharging the effluent a safe distance from the rig. The minimum line ID should be 7 in.

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RAM PREVENTERS
The ram preventer is the result of some eighty years of development. The first ram preventers
were developed in the early 1900s. The ram preventer will only seal on the specific condition
for which the ram block is designed.

Ram Body
Seal Seat

Bonnet Seal

Ram Block

Emergency Piston
Rod Packing

Bonnet &
Bonnet Bolts

Fluid Connection

Side Outlet for Choke/Kill Line

Piston Rod Mud Seal

Figure 5: Ram Preventer (Hydril)

The major parts of the ram preventer consist of:


1. The ram body which houses all the parts that allow the ram preventer to operate.
2. The fluid connection which is the port for the hydraulic fluid connection that operates the
piston.
3. the side outlet which is a connection built into the ram body that allows fluid to be circulated
into or out of the wellbore.
4. The piston rod mud seal which is a secondary seal that keeps the drilling fluid from
contaminating the inner seals on the piston rod.
5. The bonnet which is secured by the bonnet bolts allows access to the ram body to change the
ram block.

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6. The emergency piston rod packing which is a grease injection port that allows a seal to be
made on the piston rod should the primary seal begin to leak.
7. The bonnet seal which is an elastomeric seal that prevents wellbore fluid under pressure from
escaping.
8. The seal seat which is a replaceable part that stops wear on the ram body by the operation of
the ram block. It can be replaced in the field.
9. There are two types of ram blocks with packer seals:
I. Ram blocks that seal on pipe (Figure 6) or wireline in the hole. The block is
specifically designed for a particular size of drill pipe, tubing, casing or wireline.

Block Body

Ram Packer

Figure 6: Ram Block for One Size Pipe (Hydril)

Ram blocks designed for pipe should not be closed without pipe in them because the
sealing elements may be damaged by extrusion.

Ram Packer

Pipe

Figure 7: Open pipe rams

Ram Packer

Pipe

Figure 8: Closed pipe rams


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The pipe ram block can also be a variable bore block (Figure 9) which can seal on a
size range.

Ram Body

Ram Packer
with Inserts

Figure 9: Varibore Bore Ram Block (Hydril)

Variable rams became available by 1979. These rams extend the versatility of the
ram-type preventer by sealing on pipe of various sizes. This flexibility could
eliminate the need for changing rams when running a tapered string or when testing
with tubing. Variable rams use steel fingers that move inward to seal around pipe
smaller than the ram body.

All manufacturers of ram preventers offer variable bore rams (Figure 9) which can
close and seal on a range of pipe diameters. These rams can be especially useful when
a tapered string is in use or when substructure space limitations restrict the addition
of another ram preventer. Also if aluminum drill pipe is being used an effective seal
cannot always be assured with regular pipe rams because the diameter of the pipe is
larger near the tool joints than at the middle of the joint.

Variable bore rams have limited hang off potential, depending on the size of pipe on
which they are sealing. For example Cameron variable bore rams (13-5/8 U for 5 to
2-7/8) will support 450,000 pounds of 5 drill pipe or 150,000 pounds of 3-1/2 drill
pipe. Most variable bore rams are constructed in a similar fashion with the key
element being a feedable rubber packer.

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II. Ram blocks that can be closed on open hole. There are two types of rams which do
not have pipe openings and can be closed on open hole. The most widely used is the
blind rams (Figure 10);

Ram Block

Ram Packer

Figure 10: Blind Ram (Hydril)

the other is the shear ram. The shear ram (Figures 11 & 12) is designed to cut through
tubing, drillpipe or casing and it has the ability to seal on open hole. Shear rams are
used mostly in a subsea stack.

Ram Body

Packer
Seal

Lower Blade

Figure 11: Lower blade on shear ram (Hydril)

Ram Body

Ram Packer
Upper Blade

Figure 12: Upper blade on shear ram (Hydril)

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Upper Blade Lower Blade


Shear Rams Open

Shear Rams Closing

Shear Rams Closed

Figure 13: Shear rams operation

Rams are interchangeable between ram-type preventers of the same design and
pressure rating. Casing rams are usually substituted for pipe rams when casing is run.

Most pipe rams can be locked in the closed position, operated manually and
hydraulically and support the weight of the entire drill string. Pipe rams cannot be
installed upside down because they are designed to hold pressure from one direction
only.

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PRESSURE RATINGS & SIZES


Pressure Ratings

The assembly working pressure should be equal to the maximum possible surface pressure, and
any choice will be arbitrary to some extent. The safest approach is to assume the maximum
possible surface pressure to be the maximum anticipated bottom-hole pressure less gas gradient
to the surface. When fracturing at the casing seat would limit pressure in the hole, the maximum
possible surface pressure is the fracturing pressure less a gas gradient to the surface. For a very
dry gas, 0. 1 psi/ft gradient may be used if the well is no deeper than 10,000 ft, and 0.15 psi/ft
may be used for deeper wells. Casing burst strength should be designed accordingly, with wear
factor included.

Known conditions may allow these requirements to be reduced. If formations are known to
contain only oil or water, the working pressure of the preventer need not be greater than
anticipated bottom-hole pressure less 0.2-0.3 psi/ft.

These conservative assumptions may lead to over design of the blowout prevention equipment in
some cases; however, it is certainly safer than assuming a maximum surface pressure based on
an arbitrary amount of mud left in the hole.

The design principles stated cannot be followed in many deep, abnormally pressured wells, since
probable pressures exceed the maximum working pressure of available equipment. Therefore,
some risk must be taken if the well is to be drilled. Experienced and well-trained drilling crews
decrease these risks.
For production strings, the BOPs and casing should have ratings higher than surface tubing
pressure.

Rotating heads and strippers will have a lower rating than will the rest of the well-control
system. It is generally accepted that annular preventers with a pressure rating 5000 psi lower
than that of ram preventers can be used on stacks with 10,000 psi and higher ram preventers.
This is accepted because the ram BOPs can be used if these lower pressure items are in use and
well pressure approaches their limitation.

Pressure ratings are given in the follwing tables:


Table 2 API sizes and pressures for all preventers.
Table 3 Sizes, pressure ratings and types of Hydril annular preventers.
Table 4 Sizes and pressure ratings for Hydril ram preventers.
Table 5 Sizes and pressure ratings for Cameron U preventers.

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Table 2
BOP Sizes and Sealing Components

Rated Working Flange or Minimum Ring-Joint


Pressure, Hub Size, Vertical Bore, Gaskets

psi in. in. RX BX

500 (0.5 M) 29-1/2 29-1/2 - -


2,000 (2 M) 16-3/4 16-3/4 65 -
21-1/4 21-1/4 73 -
26-3/4 26-3/4 - -
3,000 (3 M) 7-1/16 7-1/16 45 -
9 9 49 -
11 11 53 -
13-5/8 13-5/8 57 -
20-3/4 20-3/4 74 -
26-3/4 26-3/4 - -
5,000 (5 M) 7-1/16 7-1/16 46 -
11 11 54 -
13-5/8 13-5/8 - 160
16-3/4 16-3/4 - 162
18-3/4 18-3/4 - 163
21-1/4 21-1/4 - 165
10,000 (10 M) 7 1/16 7 1/16 - 156
9 9 - 157
11 11 - 158
13-5/8 13-5/8 - 159
16-3/4 16-3/4 - 162
18-3/4 18-3/4 - 164
21-1/4 21-1/4 - 166
15,000 (15 M) 7 1/16 7 1/16 - 156
9 9 - 157
11 11 - 158
13-5/8 13-5/8 - 159
18-3/4 18-3/4 - 164
20,000 (20 M) 7 1/16 7 1/16 - 156
9 9 - 157
11 11 - 158
13-5/8 13-5/8 - 159

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BOP Sizing

Table 2 lists the API recommended blow-out-preventer sizes and flanges for different working
pressures.

The preventers must be selected with a vertical bore capable of passing the casing and, in some
cases, the casing hanger. Working pressure must be equal to or greater than the least of the
anticipated maximum surface pressure, the burst-pressure rating of the casing, or the formation-
breakdown pressure at the base of the casing. Many preventers have connections that can be used
for choke and kill lines in lieu of a drilling spool. There is no standardization of component
design except for those listed in Table 2. Each manufacturer selects and designs components he
considers best.

API Std 6A relates to working pressure, flange connections, plant test pressures, materials,
throughbore dimensions, and marking of BOPS.

Table 3
Sizes and Pressure Ratings for Hydril Annular Blowout Preventers

Bore Working Pressure Ratings (psi)


Size 500 1000 2000 3000 5000 10M 15M 20M
2-9/16 - - - GKS GKS GKS - -
4-1/16 - - - - - GS GS -
6-3/8 - - - RS - - - -
7-1/16 - - MSP GK/GKM GK GK GK GK
9 - - MSP GK GK GK - -
11 - - MSP GK GK GK - -
13-5/8 - - - GK GL/GK GK - -
16-3/4 - - GK GK GL/GK - - -
18-3/4 - - - - GL - - -
21-1/4 - - MSP - GL - - -
29-1/2 MSP - - - - - - -
30 - MSP - - - - - -

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Table 4
Sizes and Pressure Ratings for Hydril Ram-Type Preventers

Bore Working
Size (in) Pressure (psi)
7-1/16 3,000; 5,000; 10,000; 15,000
9 3,000; 5,000
11 3,000; 5,000; 10,000
13-5/8 3,000; 5,000; 10,000
16-3/4 10,000
18-3/4 10,000
20-3/4 3,000
21-3/4 2,000

Table 5
Sizes and Pressure Ratings Available for
Cameron Type U Rams

Working Vertical
Size (in) Pressure (psi) Bore
7-1/16 3,000 7-1/16
7-1/l6 5,000 7-1/16
7-1/16 10,000 7-1/16
71/16 15,000 7-1/16
11 3,000 11
11 5,000 11
11 10,000 11
11 15,000 11
13-5/8 3,000 13-5/8
13-5/8 5,000 13-5/8
13-5/8 10,000 13-5/8
13-5/8 Model B 15,000 13-5/8
16-3/4 Model B 3,000 16-3/4
16-3/4 Model B 5,000 16-3/4
16-3/4 10,000 16-3/4
18-3/4 10,000 18-3/4
21-1/4 2,000 21-1/4
20-3/4 3,000 20-3/4
21-1/4 10,000 21-1/4
26-3/4 3,000 26-3/4

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STACK ARRANGEMENTS
A BOP stack is several blow out preventers connected together one on top of the other. The
normal BOP stack consists of:

1. annular preventer
2. ram preventer - blind
3. ram preventer - pipe
4. drilling spool (optional) This is also known as a drilling cross
5. kill line, choke line and fill line
6. bell nipple

A large number of stack arrangements are possible, including those using duplicate preventers,
kill lines, choke lines, and relief lines. Duplicate ram preventers are necessary if tapered drill
strings are used, and high-pressure hook-ups usually have an extra preventer, alternative choke
and kill lines connected to the casing head, choke manifolds, and multiple chokes. When
preventers are equipped with side outlets, the drilling spool may be omitted, and kill and choke
lines attached to connections on the preventer.

With the large number of ram arrangements possible, a convenient method of designation was
needed. This was supplied by API Bulletin D13. For example,

5M- 13-5/8-RSRA

indicates, in order, the working pressure (5000 psi), minimum bore (13-5/8), and the
arrangement of the stack from bottom to top (RSRA). In this system, R indicates a ram-type
preventer (blind or pipe rams, not designated), S the drilling spool, and A an annular preventer.
Other designations are Rd for a double ram-type preventer, and G for a rotary stripper head for
gas, air, or aerated-fluid drilling.

Attempts at standardization were made by API in Bulletin D13, while API RP53, which
superseded the Bulletin, presented several arrangements that are acceptable without designating
one as preferable. API RP53 has been discontinued. Although a large number of stack
arrangements may be possible, these can be reduced to several arrangements that are preferred.
Inability to standardize on the "most preferred" arrangement stems from the advantages and
disadvantages of one arrangement of ram preventers not being outstanding over any of the
others.

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The following discussions assume that the BOP stack has pressure and that there are no
problems with the well such as lost circulation or a hole in the drill string.

Activities that should be possible by stack operation:

1. Normal kill down drill pipe using either pipe ram (Figure 14).
This is a prime requirement regardless of the geometry of the drill string.

ANNULAR

PIPE RAM
1K 1C

SECONDARY KILL FLOWLINE BLIND RAM PRIMARY CHOKE FLOWLINE


CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE 2K 2C

PIPE RAM
EMERGENCY KILL FLOWLINE SECONDARY CHOKE FLOWLINE
CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
3K 3C
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE
4K 4C

Figure 14. Normal kill down drill pipe

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2. Kill with blind ram closed.(Figure 15).


This option is required normally for ram, annular or piping repair. The pipe is hung off on the
lower pipe rams and the pipe is disconnected, the blind rams are closed and the kill
circulation operation can be suspended or it can continue while repairs are made. In order to
disconnect the drill pipe as shown, there must be a float in the drill string or kill weight mud
must be in the drill pipe.

ANNULAR

PIPE RAM

1K 1C

SECONDARY KILL FLOWLINE BLIND RAM PRIMARY CHOKE FLOWLINE


CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE 2K 2C

PIPE RAM
EMERGENCY KILL FLOWLINE SECONDARY CHOKE FLOWLINE
CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
HCR VALVE 3K 3C HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE
4K 4C

Figure 15. Kill with blind or shear ram closed

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3. Ram to ram stripping (refer to figures 17 & 18 item C.).


This option is required to be able to get the drillpipe in or out of the hole. Normally when a
well kicks while tripping, the requirement is to get back to bottom or as close as possible to
make the kill easier to accomplish. The stripping operation is called ram to ram stripping but
if the annulus pressure is not too high the annular preventer and the top pipe ram would be
used to strip back into the hole because if the lower pipe ram is damaged there is no method
to repair it.
One of the pipe ram preventers would need to be different size or variable rams if the drill
string was tapered.

Stacks with Two Ram-Type Preventers


Reference is made to Figure 16, where these items are illustrated in a simple, two ram stack.
Uses of the individual elements of BOP stacks are discussed next, and complete systems are
discussed later in this section.

Rotary Hose
5000 psi WP

4" Stand Pipe Upper Kelly Cock

Pressure Kelly
Gauge Lower Kelly Cock
Kelly Saver Sub
4 1/16" Stand
Pipe Valve
Annular

Blind Rams
2 1/16" Kill Line
3 1/16" Min. ID
Drilling Cross

Check Valve Manual HCR Manual

Pipe Rams

Casing Head

Figure 16. Typical two-ram blowout-preventer stack arrangement.


Saudi Aramco Class B 3000 psi BOP Stack

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The logic for the arrangement of a stack with two ram preventers is illustrated in the following
discussion. Here, a spool was used, but using the side outlets on the preventer would serve the
same purpose with fewer flanged connections.

Where only two sets of rams are used, there are four arrangements for the blowout preventer
stack as shown next. The discussion assumes the well is under pressure. Symbols are the API
designations just discussed, but listed from top down.

1 2 3 4
R-Blind R-Blind R-Pipe R-Pipe
S-Spool R-Pipe R-Blind S-Spool
R-Pipe S-Spool S-Spool R-Blind

Advantages:
Numbers 1 and 2: With drill pipe in the hole, the upper rams may be changed to pipe rams.
When this is done, the drill pipe may be reciprocated through the upper rams while
maintaining the lower rams as a reserve.
Number 1: With two pipe rams and some pipe in the hole, the drill pipe can be stripped
back to bottom.
Number 1: If a leak develops above the rotary, the drill pipe may be suspended in the
lower rams; and by closing the upper blind rams, the hole can be circulated. Also, this
holds for Number 2, if there is sufficient distance between rams to place a tool joint box.
Number 1: Since most kicks occur with some pipe in the hole, the lower pipe rams may be
closed for repairs to the drilling spool or flowline.
Numbers 1, 2, and 3: When the blind rams are closed, these permit use of the drilling spool
flowlines and chokes.
Numbers 2 and 3: With either of the rams closed, these permit the use of the choke
flowlines and chokes.
Numbers 2 and 3: By application of the double-type preventers, a low substructure height
may be used. This is especially so if outlets of the preventer are used in lieu of the drilling
spool.
Numbers 3 and 4: Drill-pipe rams can be changed to casing rams while the drill pipe is out
of the hole.
Number 4: If any serious leaks develop in the stack, the drill pipe can be set on bottom or
dropped and the well closed in as a last resort.
Number 4: There are a minimum number of flanges exposed below the blind rams.
Numbers 2, 3 and 4: When the pipe rams are closed, the choke line is available for use.
Number 4: When the blind rams are closed, all of the previous connections can be stripped
off or repaired.

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Primary Disadvantages:
Numbers 1, 2, and 3: If the blind rams are closed, there would be no control if a leak
occurred around the drilling spool.
Numbers 2 and 3: There are more flanges exposed to well pressure.
Numbers 1 and 4: With bottom rams closed, circulation involves secondary casing-head
connections.

Flanges are considered weak points in any hookup; therefore, where side outlets are used,
Numbers 2 and 3 are not considered the best arrangements by many because the drilling spool
introduces an extra flange. However, the primary choke and kill line connections should be
available when either blind or pipe rams are closed (Numbers 2 and 3). Overall, Number 2 is
probably the most popular, however Saudi Aramco uses Number 1.

Stacks with Three Ram-Type Preventers


To obtain an appreciation for the evaluation of a stack with three ram preventers a generally
accepted configuration will be developed for a string with one pipe size, and also for a tapered
string. Then a second, yet just as popular, configuration will be presented. To experienced
personnel, the preferable arrangement will be the one that most closely corresponds to his
previous, personal experiences. Since experiences differ, preferences differ.

Arrangement Logic
The drilling business is often a series of compromises, both in equipment and practices. This is
certainly true with BOP stack arrangements.

Consider placement of blind rams in a three-ram surface BOP stack. If blind (or shear) rams are
placed at the bottom of the stack, with no flowlines below, then the BOP stack has the advantage
of a "master" valve for open hole situations, or a last resort valve if all else fails during a kick.
But this placement also imposes limitations on stack utility.

For example, drill pipe cannot be hung off on pipe rams below the blind ram and the well killed
by circulating through the drill stem. This arrangement may also force placement of pipe rams so
close together that adequate space is not available for ram-to-ram stripping. If blind rams are
placed at the top of the ram BOP stack, they can be replaced with pipe rams for ram to ram
stripping operations to either protect the lower pipe ram or, in the event of a tapered string, to
furnish the pipe ram size that will fit the size of drill pipe being stripped. But this arrangement
also presents a problem because it prevents utilizing the blind ram as a master valve in open hole
situations for repair of items above it, or changing to casing rams. It also may force spacing of
pipe rams so close that ram-to-ram stripping is impossible.

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The question arises as to how to best maximize advantages of both of these placements and
minimize disadvantages. The two compromise arrangements illustrated herein place blind rams
on top for tapered string drilling and in the middle when one size drill pipe is being used. This
allows hanging off pipe in the pipe rams and circulating through the drill stem (with proper
placement of kill and choke lines); adequate clearance for ram-to-ram stripping; and partial
utilization of the blind ram as a master valve for equipment repair (top ram change to casing size
obviously being safer with the blind ram in the middle).

Arranging rams is important, but choke and kill flowline (wing valves) placement is equally
important to fully utilize the BOPs. Again, compromises are made between the most
conservative position of having no flowlines below the bottom ram and a middle road position of
arranging the flowlines for maximum BOP usage.

Figures 17 and 18 illustrate two BOP and wing valve arrangements. Activities possible with each
of these two arrangements are summarized at the bottom of the figures and further illustrated in
Figures 14 and 15. Before reviewing Figures 14 and 15, general observations can be made about
both arrangements.
1. No spools are used. Choke and kill wing valves are connected directly to side outlets integral
with the BOP ram body This reduces connections and chances of flange leaks.
2. A standard size 13-5/8 inch, flanged double ram is mounted on top of a single-ram unit. This
provides sufficient space for shearing above a standard 5-inch NC50 connection hung in the
bottom pipe ram, as illustrated in Figure 15. This is the best arrangement for use with a
single drill-pipe size.

Notes B2 and C1 on the bottom of Figure 18 (arrangement for tapered strings) indicate that space
between the blind rams and small pipe rams limits certain activities. For tapered string
application, this space problem could be eased by stacking the single-ram unit on top of the
double-ram unit. However, Figure 18 shows the double on top. This illustrates another
compromise, since in the field it would not be practical to rearrange the BOP stack before
picking up a smaller drill string.

Some contractors prefer to assemble the single on top so that the annular and single can be
separated from the double for handling. Trade offs may be necessary in this matter. The primary
aim here is not to debate each point, but to emphasize importance of critically reviewing BOP
arrangements.

Double-ram units can be specially ordered with enough room between rams to hang off and
shear. This special height double-ram unit could be put on bottom, best satisfying both single
and tapered string application. Here we consider standard height double and single BOP units
only, with no spools or special stacks, so the most practical compromise is to place the double-
ram unit on top (Figures 17 and 18).

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ANNULAR

PIPE RAM
1K 1C

SECONDARY KILL FLOWLINE BLIND RAM PRIMARY CHOKE FLOWLINE


CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE 2K 2C

PIPE RAM
EMERGENCY KILL FLOWLINE SECONDARY CHOKE FLOWLINE
CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
3K 3C
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE
4K 4C

ACTIVITIES POSSIBLE

A. Normal kill down drill pipe using either pipe ram (Figure 14)
1. Choke flowlines 2C and 3C below each pipe ram.

B. Kill with blind or shear ram closed (Figure 15)


1. Double ram unit must be on top of single ram to provide sufficient space for hang off and shear.
2. Kill flowline 2K and choke flowline 3C must be arranged as shown

C. Ram to ram stripping (Figure 15)


1 Blind ram must be in middle to provide sufficient space with some models.
2 Kill flowline 2K to equalize pressure before opening bottom ram.
3 Choke flowlines 2C and 3C to bleed fluid and monitor pressures below each ram during stripping.
4 Kill flowline 3K to lubricate in fluid (volumetric method when bleeding gas) or kill below bottom ram.
5 Could also strip between annular and either ram and do items 2, 3 or 4 above.

D. Location of blind ram in the middle


1. More room for ram to ram stripping as previously mentioned.
2. Safe out-of-hole top ram change, annular element change or repairs to the single ram unit or annular.

Note: Location of primary choke flowline 2C at alternate location 1C will allow all previously mentioned activities but is somewhat
more exposed to mechanical damage.

Figure 17. BOP arrangement for one pipe size.

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ANNULAR

BLIND RAM
SECONDARY KILL FLOWLINE 1C
CHECK VALVE 1K
HCR VALVE Sm PIPE RAM PRIMARY CHOKE FLOWLINE
MANUAL VALVE MANUAL VALVE
2K HCR VALVE
2C

PIPE RAM
EMERGENCY KILL FLOWLINE SECONDARY CHOKE FLOWLINE
CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
3K 3C
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE
4K 4C

ACTIVITIES POSSIBLE

A. Normal kill down drill pipe using either, pipe ram (Figure 14)
1. Choke flowlines 2C and 3C below each pipe am.

B. Kill with blind or shear ram closed (Figure 15)


1. Can hang off in large pipe (bottom) rams, shear, and kill.
2. Can hang off in small pipe (top) rams but normally cannot shear due to small space so must back off before closing
blind rams.
3. Kill flowline K2 and choke flowlines 2C and 3C must be arranged as shown.

C. Ram to ram stripping


1 Could change blind ram to large pipe size and strip ram to ram but the arrangement shown provides insufficient space
to strip small pipe ram to ram in some cases.
2 Kill flowline 2K to equalize pressure before opening bottom rams.
3 Choke flowlines 2C to bleed fluid and 3C to monitor pressures below each ram during stripping.
4 Kill flowline 3K to lubricate in fluid (volumetric method when bleeding gas) or kill below bottom ram.
5 Could also strip between annular and either small or large ram and do items 2. 3 and 4 above.

Note: Relocation of kill flowline 2K as shown required to accomplish kill procedures mentioned in items B3 and C2.

D. Location of blind ram on top


1. Can accomplish kill with either size pipe hung off.
2. Can change to large pipe size for ram to ram stripping.
3. Can change to either pipe size thereby minimizing wear on lower pipe rams, which inevitably occurs when pipe is
worked with rams closed.
4. A disadvantage is open hole exposure while installing casing rams while out of hole.
Note: If the single ram unit were arranged on top of double unit or enough space between top and middle ram provided some
other way, then small pipe ram to ram stripping might be possible.

Figure 18. BOP arrangement for two pipe sizes.

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3. Check (non-return) valves are located in each kill wing-valve assembly.


Reasons:
To stop backflow in case the kill flowline ruptures while pumping into the well at high
pressure.
Other valves between check valves and BOP can be left open during kicks for pumping
into the well whenever desired without personnel having to open them.
Kill lines should not be used as fill-up lines. Constant use could result in erosion of
lines and valves which would result in an unsuitable kill flowline. A separate line from
the mud standpipe (independent of all choke and kill flowlines) is desirable for filling
the hole during trips. Nevertheless, kill lines are sometimes used for fill up, so the
check valve protects against a "blowout down the kelly" which might occur after
picking up the kelly on a trip kick; assuming mud standpipe valves and various kill
flowline valves have been left open for fill up.

4. Inboard valves adjacent to the BOP stack on all flowlines are manually operated "master"
valves to be used only for emergency Outboard valves should be used for normal killing
operations. Hydraulic operators are generally installed on the primary (lines 2K and 2C in
Figure 17 and lines 1K and 2C in Figure 18) choke and kill flowline outboard valves. This
allows remote control during killing operations. During normal drilling, secondary (lines 3K
and 3C in Figures 17 and 18) choke and kill flowline "master" valves should be left closed
to prevent mud solids buildup. Conversely master values in the primary kill and choke
flowlines must be open so that fluid passage to the choke manifold can be controlled
remotely. Also, being able to operate the primary choke flowline valve remotely allows the
.well to be closed "softly" on a kick. Hydraulic valve replacement is always possible.

5. No choke or kill flowlines are connected to the casing head outlets, but valves and unions
are installed. This provides:
Reserve outlets for emergency use only.
Relief opening to prevent pressuring the casing and open hole should a casing head
plug tester leak during BOP testing.
It is not good practice to flow into or from a casing head outlet. If this connection is
ruptured or cut out, there is no control. Therefore, primary and secondary choke and kill
flowlines should all be connected to heavy duty BOP outlets (or spool outlets), with
wellhead outlets used only in an emergency.

6. Figures 17 and 18 do not illustrate flowline variations such as relief lines direct from BOP
to a gas/mud separator, or outlets for gauges or remote pump connections. These have merit,
but were excluded to prevent diversion from the primary purpose of illustrating flowline
locations that provide a high degree of utility during killing operations.
Notations on Figures 17 and 18 illustrate various activities possible with the two subject
arrangements. Certain limitations are also listed.

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Rotary Hose
5000 psi WP

4" Stand Pipe

Mud Pump Upper Kelly Cock

Kelly
Pressure
Gauge Lowr Kelly Cock
Kelly Saver Sub
4 1/16" Stand
Pipe Valve Mud Flow Line
Rotating Head
Annular
Check Valve

Pipe Rams
2-1/16" 5M Kill Line Blind Rams

Drilling Cross
4-1/16" ID 5M
4 1/16" x 2 1/16" Choke Line
Pipe Rams
DSA Flange

Manual
HCR
Casing Head

Weco Union 1502


Emergency 2-1/16" Kill
Line Laid To At Least
60 FT. From Wellbore.
For Connection to
Emergency Pump

Figure 19. Class A Saudi Aramco 3000 psi BOP stack

Figure 19 is a suggested stack arrangement for the rigs working for Saudi Aramco while drilling
production wells. In reviewing the previous discussion the arrangement is satisfactory however
there needs to be another kill and choke flowline connected below the lower pipe ram. The valve
arrangement should be reversed to make it complete.

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Rotary Hose
5000 psi WP

4" Stand Pipe

Mud Pump Upper Kelly Cock

Kelly
Lower Kelly Cock
Pressure
Gauge Kelly Saver Sub
4 1/16" Stand
Pipe Valve Mud Flow Line
Rotating Head
Annular
Check Valve

4 1/16" x 2 1/16" Drill Pipe Rams


DSA Flange BlindRams

Drilling Cross
2-1/16" 10M Kill Line 4-1/16" 10M
Choke Line
Blind Rams
Master Pipe Rams

Manual
HCR
Casing Head

Weco Union 1502

Emergency 2-1/16"
Kill Line Laid To At
For Connection Least 60 FT. From
to Emergency Wellbore.
Pump

Figure 20. Class A 10,000 psi BOP Stack

With similar logic, the stack configuration presented in Figures 20 and 21 can be developed.

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ANNULAR

PIPE RAM

1K 1C
BLIND RAM

2K 2C
SECONDARY KILL FLOWLINE PRIMARY CHOKE FLOWLINE
CHECK VALVE DRILLING SPOOL MANUAL VALVE
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE 3K 3C

BLIND RAM
4K 4C

EMERGENCY KILL FLOWLINE PIPE RAM SECONDARY CHOKE FLOWLINE


CHECK VALVE MANUAL VALVE
HCR VALVE HCR VALVE
MANUAL VALVE 5K 5C

6K 6C

Figure 21.

Figure 20 is a the Saudi Aramco arrangement as illustrated in the Saudi Aramco well control
handbook. This handbook is received when the actual well control course is taken. Figure 21 is a
simpler illustration that is used to describe some of the different scenarios that this four ram
configuration can accomplish.

Normal kill operation:


1. With the upper pipe ram closed the returns can be taken through connections 1C, 2C, 3C, 4C,
5C and 6C
2. With the lower or master pipe rams closed the returns can be taken through connections
5C and 6C

Kill with blind rams closed:


1. With the upper blind ram closed the kill line connections can be made at 2K, 3K and 4K and
the choke line connections can be made at 5C and 6C.
2. With the lower blind ram closed the kill line connection can only be made at 4K and the
choke line connections can be made at 5C and 6C.

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Neither one of these options are good because 5C is an emergency connection and 6C is a
connection of last resort. If the upper pipe ram and the upper blind ram were swapped then the
kill could be accomplished while keeping the connection 5C in reserve. The lower blind rams are
still in place to close on an open hole and the upper blinds or the upper pipe rams can be changed
to casing rams.

Ram to Ram stripping


1. This configuration can strip the way it set however the master ram must be used.
2. Pressure can be applied through 1K, 2K, 3K and 4K. Pressure can be bled off through 1C,
2C, 3C and 4C.

Changing the lower blind ram to a pipe ram would allow stripping without using the master
pipe ram.

Changing the upper blind ram to a pipe ram would allow the stripping without using the
master pipe ram. This can only be accomplished if there is enough room between the two rams
to accommodate a tool joint. Normally this is not the case with double pipe rams unless they
have been specifically designed for a stripping operation.

For tapered string operation the lower blind ram becomes the small pipe ram for normal kill
operation and for ram to ram stripping the upper pipe ram can be changed to fit the smaller pipe.
The stack arrangement versatility changes by using varibore rams. In Saudi Aramco four ram
arrangement the blind rams theoretically do not have to be removed if varibore rams are used. Or
if put in place of the upper pipe ram and the lower blind ram, there would be emergency large
pipe rams and stripping capability exists for all pipe sizes all the time; however, what are the
disadvantages?

Evaluating stack redundancy and flexibility becomes more tedious as the stack becomes more
complicated. Also, the chances of standardization decrease.

Summary
The BOP stack must be designed so that all elements will pass the casing, casing hanger, and bit.
The preventers should correspond as nearly as practical to the casing size. Adapter spools have
extra flanges that may leak, and should be avoided if possible. Large preventers on smaller
casing spools may have adequate pressure rating, but vibration of the large mass results in severe
stress on the casing head and should be avoided.

A separate fill-up line to the bell nipple should be used to fill the well during trips. Kill lines
should not be used as fill-up lines because of increased erosion; if a check valve is not installed
or if it plugs, the fill line would have to be shut in before the well could be shut in. Also, the kill
line is more likely to plug if left filled with mud instead of clean water.

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When flowing into or from the well, only the heavy duty BOP outlets should be used, not the
casing valves. In squeeze or kill operations, for example, some service companies recommend
using the casing valve outlets. This is not a good practice because if the casing valves or outlets
to the valves erode or rupture, a kick cannot be controlled.

The stacks should be anchored with adjustable rods to derrick legs or other suitable support to
minimize vibration and allow alignment. The tie rods should be as level as possible; otherwise,
movement will still occur. On barges, jackups, and other platforms with long, unsupported
casing lengths, the wellhead casing should be secured to the drive pipe.

Locking screws should be provided with stem extensions, universal joints (if needed), and hand
wheels. The hand wheels should be located outside the derrick substructure.

When handling or moving stack elements, the flanges should be covered with steel or wooden
plates, or mounted on a skid. Side outlets should be plugged and care exercised to avoid
damaging control lines on hydraulic cylinders.

Substructure height must be sufficient to accommodate the complete stack. Cellars are frequently
dug and concreted to house casing heads, thereby lessening substructure height requirements.

Drilling spools and preventers should not be below ground, as this requires bends in the choke
flowline and results in poor access. Leaking gas or oil in a cellar is particularly dangerous for
personnel working there because gas may displace all air. About three feet of space is required
for the bell nipple to accept the flowline and prevent overflow. About 10 feet of substructure
height is required for a double ram preventer, an annular preventer and flow stack, and the
requirement may go as high as 30 feet when all elements discussed for a deep well are included
in the stack.

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ACCESSORY BLOWOUT PREVENTION EQUIPMENT


Various devices will indicate gain or loss of drilling fluids whether it is an indication of volume
or flow rate. The indicating devices should write to charts near the drillers position. The same
read out should be installed in the tool pushers office and the drilling representatives office.
Warning devices (horns, lights, etc.) are necessary to alert the crew to a change in pit volume or
flow rate. These should be installed and operate all the time while there is open hole on all rigs
drilling in areas with hazardous or uncertain formation pressure.

Pit Volume Totalizers


The pit volume totalizer (Figure 22) totals the drilling fluid volume from all pits and records it
on a chart. These devices may employ either air pressure or electric signals to monitor the pit
volume.

Figure 22

Mud Flow Indicators


Flowline monitoring devices detect early changes in the flow pattern of the drilling fluid system.
Installed near the wellhead, they sense and respond before the pit volume devices do thus giving
the driller early warning of a mud flow change so the prompt proper action can be taken. The
flow indicators should be installed and kept operating continuously while there is open hole.
There are two popular types of mud flow indicators on the market; electrical differential and
flow sensor. The differential flow meter measures the difference between the fluid inflow and
out flow for the well and records the difference on a chart. The flow sensor uses a paddle
installed in the flow line which is deflected by increasing mud returns.

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Mud Gas Separators


Gas Out
Degassers:
These very helpful units remove gas entrained in the
drilling fluid during normal drilling operations,
preventing circulation of gas cut mud. Circulating
gas cut mud into the hole can lead to bottom hole
hydrostatic pressure reduction and possibly a well
kick. Compensating for entrained gas with weighting
Gas cut mud material unnecessarily increases costs. The degasser
should be operated daily to keep it clean.
Degassers are available in both atmospheric and
vacuum models. Atmospheric models occupy less
space and are generally easier to maintain but the
vacuum models are generally more efficient.

Gas Busters:
The typical gas buster (Figure 23) or poorboy
degasser is constructed at the rig site or obtained
from the local rental tool company. Gas busters are
easy to use and maintain and should be cleaned
periodically. Never circulate cement returns through
Mud out
a gas buster. Most gas busters are constructed from a
length of large diameter pipe with a series of internal
baffles to cause the gas to break free of the drilling
fluid. A siphon arrangement at the bottom permits
mud to flow to the shale shaker while maintaining a
fluid head to hold the gas in the upper part. The gas
vent pipe at the top should be large enough to permit
gas to be vented at a safe distance away from the rig
floor without much back pressure. Gas busters have
a tendency to shake when gas cut mud is circulated
through them so they should be well anchored. Short
fat gas busters are generally preferred over the tall
skinny variety.

Figure 23

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Safety Valves
Safe operation requires that full opening safety valves (Figure 24)
to fit each size of drill pipe and collar in use be kept in the open
position on the rig floor. Then, should the well begin to flow
when the kelly is not connected the correct size can be stabbed
into the drill pipe tool joint and made up. Installing a valve as a
precaution is good practice when the drill pipe is left in the slips
for any length of time that requires the kelly to be disconnected.
Care should be taken that all valves have the proper threads and
they will go through the BOPs and casing so that they could be
stripped into the hole below a back pressure valve (inside BOP).
Note that the term full opening does not mean that the ID of the
valve is the same as the pipe but that the bore through the valve is
not restricted.

Figure 24

Inside BOP
This is a back pressure or float valve that allows stripping or
running drill pipe into the hole without fluid flow upward through
the valve. It can be stabbed and made up on the drill pipe only at
very low flow rates. The best method is to stab and close the full
opening safety valve then install the inside BOP if the decision is
made to go back in the hole. The dart type inside BOP (Figure 25)
is one of the more widely used tools. The dart is used to hold the
tool open, making it possible to install the tool while the mud is
flowing from the well. Releasing the dart permits the valve to
close. The upper sub is then removed and additional drill pipe
may be added as desired.

Also available is a drop in inside BOP which can be pumped


down the drillpipe. This tool lands and seats in a special sub
installed in the bottom hole assembly.

Figure 25

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Drilling Chokes
The prime function of a drilling choke (Figure 26) is to create a resistance to flow on the well
which will increase the bottom hole pressure sufficiently to control formation flow while the
well is circulated. Chokes are available in either positive or adjustable styles for flow control
with a variety of sizes and pressure ranges. An adjustable choke regulates pressure better than a
positive choke which has a fixed opening. Hydraulic chokes are easier to adjust and permit
accurate regulation of the choke pressure. An important feature of most hydraulic drilling chokes
is that the choke can be placed in the choke manifold but is controlled remotely from a panel
which displays the casing and drill pipe pressure.

Figure 26

Trip Tank
In order to keep the hole full on trips, measuring and monitoring the mud volume put in the hole
is necessary. The measurement is most accurately determined through the use of a trip tank. The
trip tank can be any tank or pit in which the mud volume can be measured to within 1/2 barrel,
with the measuring gauge visible to the driller on the floor.

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There are two types of trip tanks; the gravity type and the circulating type. The gravity trip tank
is installed above the flow line and uses the head of fluid in the tank to fill the hole intermittently
as pipe is pulled from the hole. The circulating trip tank, installed below the flow line, uses a
centrifugal pump to pump mud into the well from the tank as pipe is pulled from the well. In this
arrangement, returns from the well flow back into the trip tank. The pump should run
continuously while tripping so that the hole fill can be monitored at all times. Intermittent filling
only provides information once every several stands. Figures 27 and 28 are schematics of
circulating trip tanks.

Figure 27

Stroke Counters
In the absence of a trip tank, the pump stroke counter offers the driller an alternative means of
measuring fluid volume used to fill the hole on trips. In order to use the stroke counter properly,
the driller must know two things. First, the driller must know the fluid displacement for the
particular pipe and hole size being used. Second, the volume discharged per stroke of the pump
in operation must be known. This information gives the driller the ability to check for the correct
fill volume required while tripping.

Using the stroke counter to measure hole fill is less accurate than using the trip tank therefore it
is not preferred. There is a tendency to use the kill line for filling the hole when the rig pumps
and stroke counters are used. This action is never recommended. The kill line is an emergency
piece of equipment that should not be used for routine trip hole fills. Stroke counters provide a
means of correctly displacing special fluids or lost circulation pills. A stroke counter is
especially useful to determine pumped volumes while executing well control problems.

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Figure 28

Gas Detectors
Gas detectors are usually found in mud logging units to detect formation gas which can indicate
abnormal pressure sections and hydrocarbon bearing formations. Rig supervisors should monitor
trip gas, connection gas, and background gas for any significant change. Gas detectors can be
misleading if absolute values of the gas unit rather than relative trends and magnitudes are used
to interpret formation problems.

Mud Logging Units


Mud logging companies furnish personnel and equipment to analyze well cuttings, gas in the
mud, gas type and drilling rate versus formation. They provide detailed mud analysis and gas
analysis to predict hydrocarbon shows. These units should be used in unknown exploration
areas.

Mud Weight Recorders


These devices periodically measure and record mud weight. The output is useful for detecting
light or heavy streaks in the mud whatever the cause. The rig personnel should not depend
wholly on these to provide absolute values. Any change should be checked manually on a
routine basis by the mud personnel. These recorders should be checked frequently when using
high mud weight.

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Drilling Rate recorders


Drilling rate recorders are useful correlation tools when electric logs are available from other
wells in the area. A particular formation that is used for setting casing can be picked quite
accurately. A sudden increase in penetration rate can be the first signs of a well kick.

Drillpipe Float Valves


The drillpipe float valve provides instantaneous shutoff against pressures below the bit when the
well is shut in thereby preventing back flow into the drill string. The drillpipe float valve is a one
way valve that allows full flow through the drill string under normal circulating conditions.
Allowing formation fluids along with drilling mud can be especially hazardous because the drill
pipe can become evacuated very quickly or the bit can become plugged by formation cuttings. If
the drillstring becomes contaminated by formation fluids when the well kicks, the kill weight
mud cannot be accurately calculated. For these reasons Saudi Aramco recommends that a
drillpipe float be installed above the bit.

Choke Manifold
The choke manifold (Figure 29) is the assembly of pipe, valves and chokes that allow the well to
be controlled remotely or manually, to safely discharge the pressured formation fluid from the
wellbore.

The valves and the hydraulically actuated drilling choke are all open in the preferred fluid
routing. The hydraulically actuated gate valve next to the wellhead is closed. When a kick is
detected the hydraulically actuated gate valve is opened and the drilling choke is closed at the
same time that the blowout preventers are closed.
One of the manually actuated gate valves on the buffer tank will be connected to flowline that
goes to the gas buster or to a degasser. A flowline to the flare pit is connected to one of the other
valves.

There is a pressure transmitter to send pressure information to the control console and a pressure
gauge as a backup.
The check valve is part of the kill line. Although this diagram shows two manual valves on the
kill line, in most cases one of them is a remote controlled valve.

Figure 30 is a schematic of a Saudi Aramco 5000 psi choke manifold.

The lead target on the buffer is to stop erosion of the metal when the kick fluid is being
circulated through the manifold.

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Pressure Transmitter

Pressure Gauge
Hydraulically Actuated
Drilling Choke
Buffer Tank

Manually Actuated
Gate Valve

Cross

Manually Actuated
Hydraulically Actuated Drilling Choke
Gate Valve

Check Valve on Kill Line

Figure 29 Choke Manifold (Cameron)

Swaco 2" Nom. - Manual


Super Choke Adjust. Choke

Lead Target

To Flare

Weco Unions

Emergency Flare
Min. 3" Line

To Mud Pit
Instrument Flange
8"
To Gas Buster
Spacer Spool
3 1/8" x 5M

Cameron 7" O.D. x 5 1/8" I.D. Buffer


* All Valves are Sized 3 1/8" x 5M

Figure 30 Saudi Aramco 5000 psi Manifold Schematic

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CHAPTER FISHING OPERATIONS

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

INTRODUCTION 1

REASONS FOR FISHING 1


JUNK IN HOLE 2
PARTED STRING 2
STUCK PIPE AND THEIR CAUSES 3
- MECHANICAL STICKING 3
- DIFFERENTIAL WALL STICKING 5

ECONOMICS OF FISHING 7

AVOIDING HAZARDS 8

PREPARATION FOR FISHING 9


CRITICAL INFORMATION 9
PREPARATION OF HOLE AND DRILLING FLUID 10
TYPE AND DETAILS OF FISH 10

DETERMINING STUCK POINT 11


MEASURING STRETCH 11
FREE POINT INSTRUMENTS 13

PARTING THE PIPE STRING 14


BACK-OFF 14
JET CUT 15
CHEMICAL CUT 15
MECHANICAL CUT 19
SAUDI ARAMCO DRILLING ENGINEERING COURSE
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CHAPTER FISHING OPERATIONS

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

FISHING TOOLS 21
RELEASING OVERSHOT 21
RELEASING SPEAR 22
OIL JARS 23
MILLING TOOLS 24
TAPER TAP 26
JUNK BASKETS 27
REVERSE CIRCULATING JUNK BASKETS 28
FISHING MAGNETS 29
PACKER RETRIEVING TOOLS 30

WASHOVER OPERATIONS 32

WIRELINE FISHING TOOLS 34


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INTRODUCTION

A fish is defined as any undesirable tool, piece of equipment, or other object found in the cased
or uncased wellbore that stops or retards routine operational progress.

Fishing can be defined as any operation required to remove undesirable objects (the fish) from
the wellbore. Fishing requires the use of specialized procedures and equipment to remove,
retrieve, or sidetrack a fish so that normal drilling or completion operations may continue.
Almost every fishing job presents special problems requiring proper analysis, creative thinking,
and the exercise of good judgement to successfully accomplish the objective. Often, fishing jobs
require many tools and frequent trips with the work string, which may consume much rig time
and can result in high operational costs.

REASONS FOR FISHING

Tools and equipment are lost in the hole for a variety of reasons. In drilling operations, common
causes of fishing are a result of

a twist-off or parted drill string,


a stuck drill string,
stuck wirline logging tools,
and lost tools or junk

which inadvertently fall or are otherwise left in the wellbore. Each of these different types of
'fish' require special tools and techniques for retrieval. To explain and discuss all the tools and
techniques as applied to the variety of fishing operations would require a large volume;
therefore, this discussion of the fundamentals must be limited to the most common problems and
the generally accepted methods of retrieval.

The costs and inherent risks when fishing make it imperative that the operations and engineering
personnel involved communicate freely. Predictions of the additional cost and risks associated
with certain types of fishing operations may make it necessary to change the whole job plan and
the final objective.

For relatively simple, straightforward fishing jobs such as the recovery of pipe inadvertently
dropped or left in the hole, an overshot can be used for a reasonably fast and inexpensive
recovery. For a more complicated job such as the recovery of stuck or cemented pipe, or the
recovery of several wireline tools - special fishing tools and skills will be required. When cases
such as these arise, an experienced fishing tool operator should be considered.

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1. JUNK IN HOLE

Junk lost in the hole is considered to be a frequent cause of fishing operations. There are
many possible causes for loose junk to be lost in the hole, however, the most frequent
causes are
the loss of a rock bit cone and bearings
hand tools or other miscellaneous objects that are inadvertently dropped from
the surface
the loss of roller reamer parts
the loss of a hole opener arm and cone
the loss of an underreamer arm
the loss of a pilot bit during hole opening operations

If at all possible, the first step in the recovery of loose junk lost in the hole is to identify
what it is. This may be readily determined if something has been left in the hole on a trip
or has been dropped into the hole accidentally. If the type and configuration of the junk is
not known, an impression block should be considered. Once the type and size of the
object is determined, a decision can be made if it can be recovered as a single whole
piece or whether the object must be milled or otherwise broken-up. It is generally
preferable to recover the junk whole rather than in pieces, however, this is not always
possible.

2. PARTED STRING

One frequent reason for a fishing job results when there is a twist-off and the drill string
parts due to metal fatigue. Rough handling, scarring by tong dies, improper make-up
torque, corrosion and erosion resulting in a washout in the tube body or cracks that form
and enlarge under constant bending and torsional stresses during drilling operations. The
most common place for this to occur is at the connection of a drill collar, at a crossover,
or drillpipe tool joint where the higher stress level generates a crack. Connection fatigue
is commonly found at the base or thread roots on the box or pin connection. When a box
failure occurs, a dutchman (the box end thread) is left still threaded onto the pin end
connection and recovered when the parted string is pulled. Although not as common, the
drill pipe tube can sometimes fail in a long tear or split.

Surface signs of a twist-off include loss of drill string weight, lack of penetration,
reduced pump pressure, increased pump speed, reduced torque, and increased rotary
speed.

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3. STUCK PIPE and THEIR CAUSES


Quite often, circumstances during drilling operations will result in the drill string
becoming stuck downhole. Both human error and mechanical failures can cause this. The
recovery of stuck pipe can be a difficult, time-consuming and costly operation, therefore
it is desirable to identify the type of sticking so that the most effective method of
recovery may be initiated immediately. There are two general categories of drill string
sticking - mechanical and differential. In mechanical sticking, the drill string is lodged in
place by solid material, while in differential sticking, the drill string is held in place by
the differential pressure exerted by the drilling fluid. Further discussion of these sticking
causes is provided below -
3.1. MECHANICAL STICKING

3.1.1. SLOUGHING and SENSITIVE SHALES

There is a tendency for shale sections to absorb water from the mud causing
the shales to swell and break off into the hole and lodge around tool joints,
drill collars and stabilizers causing the drill string to become stuck. Otherwise,
the shales or clays swell up from the adsorption of the free water becoming
very sticky and when trying to pull the BHA back through this section the
drill string may become stuck.
3.1.2. TAPERED or UNDERGAUGE HOLE

- A tapered hole results from wear on the bit gauge when drilling hard and
abrasive formations. When a new bit and BHA is run back into the hole, the
full gauge bit could become stuck when the string is lowered into the
tapered and undergauge hole. Extra care should be taken when running a
PDC or diamond bit. Always ream through a suspect section of hole with
caution if the previous bit was pulled undergauge.
- Undergauge hole frequently occurs across shale formations. If the formation
swells but does not slough off, the deformed layer may close in around the
drill pipe, cutting off circulation and restricting clear passage of the tool
joints, stabilizers and drill collars. A buildup of mud solids can have the
same effect, especially in a permeable zone where water is lost to the
formation. Periodic wiper trips up across the problem zone is necessary to
prevent the formation from closing in around the pipe while drilling.
3.1.3. ABNORMAL PRESSURE and BLOWOUTS

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- When drilling into a abnormally pressured shale or a plastic salt zone with
insufficient mud density, the plastic flow into the wellbore can cause the
string to pack-off around the pipe and become stuck.
- When a blowout occurs, a large volume of sand or shale is driven uphole by
the formation fluids entering the wellbore packing off around the drillstring.

3.1.4. INADEQUATE HOLE CLEANING AND MUD STICKING

This can occur in both cased and open hole. It is usually caused by the settling
out of solids in the mud.

- Inadequate hole cleaning will lead to an accumulation of drill cuttings and


result in sticking. The fluid reology should be checked and adjusted to
maintain desired gel strengths sufficient to support the cuttings when the
pump is shut off.
- Mud sticking can also be induced by high temperatures setting up the mud.

3.1.5. LOST CIRCULATION

When fluid circulation to the surface is lost into a weak, low pressure, zone or
a fractured and cavernous formation, the drill cuttings can accumulate at the
lost circulation interval and pack-off around the pipe.

3.1.5. JUNK IN THE HOLE

Metal fragments or broken-off or dropped equipment, may lodge between the


hole wall and drill pipe tool joints, or drill collars.

3.1.7. KEYSEATING

Keyseating occurs when drill pipe in tension wears an undergauge groove in


the wall (low side) of a curved section, or dogleg, of the hole. When the drill
string is raised or lowered, tool joints or drill collars may become lodged in
the lower or upper end of the keyseat.

3.1.8. CROOKED PIPE

Crooked pipe, often results from dropping the drill string or applying
excessive weight to stuck pipe, may jam against the hole wall and become
impossible to raise, lower, or rotate.

3.1.9. CEMENT STICKING

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This can usually occur when spotting cement plugs or when cementing liners
and is most prevalent in deep hot holes where the cement can flash set due
to insufficient quantity of chemical retarder that is required to prolong the
setting time of the slurry.

3.2. DIFFERENTIAL WALL STICKING

This occurs in open hole when the drillstring comes in contact with a permeable
formation. It is caused by a high hydrostatic pressure creating a differential force
that holds the pipe in a thick filter cake across the permeable zone. It often occurs
when rotation has stopped prior to making a connection. Differential sticking
occurs only across a permeable zone, such as sand, and the friction resistance may
be a function of the filter cake thickness.

The extra force necessary to pull the pipe loose from the wall may be calculated
by the formula below -

F = DP x Ac x Cf

where F = force, lbs


DP = differential pressure, psi
Ac = contact area, sq. in.
Cf = coefficient of friction

It can readily be seen by calculating the forces in two hypothetical situations that
the pull necessary to free the pipe frequently exceeds the tensile strength of any
pipe available.

EXAMPLE 1

Assume that drill pipe contacts the filter cake in a width of 3 inches along a 25 ft
permeable sand interval with a differential pressure of 1600 psi and a friction