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DC163566 DOI: 10.

Dynamic Model for Stiff-String Torque

and Drag
Vadim Tikhonov, SPE, Khaydar Valiullin, SPE, Albert Nurgaleev, SPE, Lev Ring, SPE, Raju Gandikota, SPE,
Pavel Chaguine, SPE, and Curtis Cheatham, SPE, Weatherford

Summary stiff-string models, the advantage of the use of a dynamic

A dynamic stiff-string torque-and-drag (T&D) model is presented approach to solve the steady-state position of the drillstring is
that assumes steady-state motion of the drillstring as its basis for mainly related to superior convergence of the numerical algorithm
calculations. Results are compared with previously published compared with static stiff-string models because the calculation
T&D models that are based on static equilibrium. The novelty of of contact points is faster.
the new dynamic model is the ability to solve T&D operations of
the entire drillstring from bit to topdrive in reasonable time by use Introduction
of standard engineering computers. Soft-String Model. In the early 1980s, the first torque-and-drag
The new approach is modeled after a 3D dynamic model of (T&D) models were developed. Exxon published their model
drillstring and bottomhole assembly in an elastic borehole. It con- (Johancsik et al. 1984), and at least one other major operator devel-
siders bending stiffness, torsional stiffness, contact forces, and oped a very similar model for internal use. The Exxon paper is by
friction with localization of contact points. A numerical method is far the most well-known paper on T&D. This model and similar
described that has proved to have excellent convergence. Com- ones are still commonly used today. Minor enhancements, such as
plete governing equations are provided, and the method is addition of bending-stress-magnification factor and auxiliary
described in detail to permit readers to replicate results. buckling predictions, have been added over the years. The model
The dynamic model is compared with two static stiff-string was formulated in differential-equation form in 1987 (Sheppard
models. Comparisons are also provided for three conventional et al. 1987). According to Mitchell (Mitchell and Samuel 2007;
soft-string models, including the Lubinski-Paslay-Cernocky bend- Aadnoy et al. 2009), Sheppards equations represent the standard
ing-stress-magnification factor. Four field case studies are pre- method used for T&D analysis in the industry today.
sented for horizontal wells. One well is short radius with dogleg The first T&D researchers developed simple models; presum-
severity greater than 50 /100 ft, and three wells are unconven- ably the concept was to start simple and add complexity only as
tional shale wells with doglegs up to 15 /100 ft. Predictions for required. Today, these models are known as soft string because
surface T&D up/down for the new dynamic stiff-string model are the entire drillstring is assumed to have zero bending stiffness. It
compared with the static stiff- and soft-string models. In many sit- may have surprised early researchers how well such a simplistic
uations modeled, the top-level results for surface T&D up/down model actually worked, or even that it worked at all. Nevertheless,
are close enough for all six models to be within the uncertainty soft-string models are the workhorse of todays industry.
range associated with the commonly used, lumped-parameter fric- A common explanation for envisioning the underlying physics
tion factor. However, some major differences in hookload for slid- for soft-string models is to consider the drillstring to be a weighted
ing and slackoff operations are observed, which are shown to be cable (Mason and Chen 2007). The shape of the weighted cable
caused by differences in location and magnitude of contact force exactly conforms to the shape of the wellbore so that the inclina-
between the drillstring and wellbore. Further, significantly lower tion, azimuth, and curvature at each point along the wellbore are
surface torque is predicted by the new dynamic stiff-string model perfectly matched by the drillstring. Drag is developed because of
compared with other models for one case history because of lower axial movement of the drillstring up or down as a result of friction
contact forces in the vertical section of the well. In fact, the key with the wellbore. Resistance to movement of the drillstring is
finding of this paper is that major differences are observed for determined by a force of magnitude equal to the coefficient of fric-
contact forces for the new dynamic stiff-string model compared tion multiplied by the normal (or contact) force between drillstring
with all five other models, including the two static stiff-string and wellbore (Sheppard et al. 1987). Torque is developed because
models. These differences in contact forces are most significant of circumferential, or rotary, movement of the drillstring against
when the drillstring has helically buckled or when doglegs in the the wellbore, again caused by friction. The main problem is deter-
wellbore are high. Contact forces have a large impact on local mining the resistance to rotary motion and deciding what radius to
stress behavior, which is important for predictions of casing use for the moment arm. Johancsik et al. (1984) determined the
and drillpipe wear, drillstring fatigue, and failure points in the torque radius to be two-thirds of the distance between pipe-body
drillstring. radius and tool-joint radius and stated it was a reasonable assump-
Although several previous papers have published stiff-string tion that two-thirds of the side load is carried by tool joints and
models, there is no industry-standard formulation. The main prob- one-third is carried by the pipe body. Others have used the tool-
lem holding back the development of an industry-standard stiff- joint radius as the torque radius, presumably on the basis of the
string model is perhaps the complexity of the numerical algorithm assumption that the entire side load, or contact force, is carried by
and substantial running time. To address this problem, some pre- tool joints, which effectively means the pipe body is not in contact
vious stiff-string models account for bending stiffness of the drill- at all with the wellbore.
string but not for radial clearance, whereas others appear to model An important consequence of these assumptions is that it is
only portions of the drillstring as stiff. The new stiff-string model impossible for radial clearance to exist between the wellbore and
accounts for bending stiffness and radial clearance for the entire any point along the drillstring for the soft-string model. On the
drillstring while still giving reasonable computational times. For other hand, a key benefit of these assumptions is the elimination
of a tricky problem: the determination of all contact points
between the drillstring and wellbore.
C 2014 Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper (SPE 163566) was accepted for presentation at the 2014 IADC/SPE Drilling Shortcomings of Soft-String Models. The fact that it is impossi-
Conference and Exhibition, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, 46 March 2014, and revised for
publication. Original manuscript received for review 29 April 2014. Paper peer approved 4 ble to permit radial clearance is a critical shortcoming because
August 2014. most of the drillstring comprises jointed drillpipe (or heavyweight

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drillpipe, for that matter) that has significantly different outer drillstring is either not moving or moving without any time de-
diameters for the connection (tool joint) and the pipe body. A pendency. Static means the drillstring is not moving. Somewhat
bright 12-year-old would realize that the assumption that jointed in conflict with this view, the classic soft-string models of Johanc-
drillpipe is in continuous contact along its entire length is simply sik et al. (1984) and Sheppard et al. (1987) were classified by
not true. A far more reasonable assumption would be that only the Mason and Chen (2007) as steady state, meaning that transient
largest outer diameter for each drillstring component is in contact effects were ignored and the drillstring was assumed to be moving
with the wellbore, and the smaller-diameter portions are not in in a steady manner rather than being static. Regardless of whether
contact at all. However, to calculate T&D by use of soft-string the soft-string model permits any motion of the drillstring, the
assumptions, the inability to model radial clearance is immaterial fact is that velocity terms do not appear in the formulation.
because the friction forces on the drillstring are independent of Indeed, one of the industry-available programs compared in this
the surface area in contact. paper does not permit the user to enter any velocity values (such
So why does radial clearance matter? As mentioned earlier, as axial speed or rotary speed) for both its soft-string and stiff-
soft-string models neglect bending stiffness, which means there is string models. The other industry-available program does not per-
no resistance to column buckling. When soft-string models were mit user input for rate of penetration, or axial speed, for sliding
developed in the early 1980s, horizontal wells were not drilled, or operations for both its soft-string and stiff-string models. So, it is
at least not routinely. In those days, best practices for drillstring clear that these programs do not consider essential elements of a
design called for maintaining the neutral point in the drill collars dynamic program. The only manifestation of axial drillstring
so that drillpipe was never intentionally run in compression. This movement in the soft-string models is the addition of the drag
practice was designed to eliminate the possibility of drillpipe term, which is assumed to be the product of the coefficient of fric-
buckling. However, in the late 1980s, horizontal drilling entered tion multiplied by the contact force, again with an unspecified ve-
the scene, and it has become commonplace today. The advent of locity. This approach does not really entail a dynamic drillstring
horizontal drilling made it necessary to make fundamental model but rather is a useful way to include friction. Moreover, the
changes in drillstring design. Today, both heavyweight drillpipe torque term, which is frictional resistance to rotary motion, is the
and regular drillpipe are sometimes deliberately run in compres- same frictional drag term multiplied by a somewhat unknown (or
sion. Therefore, it is essential to predict the onset of buckling in at least arbitrary) moment arm. Consequently, we refer to the
drillpipe as a requirement for drilling horizontal wells. But the ab- industry-available programs as static.
sence of radial clearance in soft-string T&D models represents a
major obstacle. To address this shortcoming, the industry adopted Stiff-String Models. To overcome the shortcomings of soft-
auxiliaryor bolt on models that had been originally devel- string models, new and more complex models were developed.
oped for helical post-buckling of coiled tubing in horizontal wells. Generally these other models are lumped into a fairly broad cate-
The first such model was published in 1984 (Newman et al. gory known as the stiff-string model.
1989). This work was conducted to improve predictions of reach Inclusion of Bending Stiffness. Ho (1988) discussed the
limits in high-angle wells for coiled tubing. The concern was that shortcomings of the soft-string model and developed an improved
predictions of occurrence of lockup (the inability to push the model that combines abottom hole assemblyanalysis in the
coiled tubing deeper) did not match field observations. The con- stiff collar section, coupled with an improved soft string model
clusion was that lockup is caused by helical buckling, which for the remainder of the drillstring. The improvement offered is
resulted in significant increases in contact force between the that the bending stiffness of the drillstring is included but the drill-
coiled tubing and the wellbore. The contact force increased with string is still assumed to be in continuous contact with the well-
the square of compressive axial force, which led to the practical bore (Ho 1988).
conclusion that once helical buckling occurred, lockup was immi- Mitchell and Samuel (2007) developed an analytical model
nent (Wu and Juvkam-Wold 1995). similar to those of Ho (1986, 1988) and studied the classic soft-
Coiled tubing has two important differences from jointed drill- string model. Mitchell (2008) offered improvements to the classic
pipe: It does not have any upsets, or tool joints, and it is not soft-string model by replacing the commonly used minimum-cur-
rotated. This might seem to make the application of the coiled- vature-interpolation method for directional surveys with a spline
tubing buckling model problematic for jointed drillpipe. However, model. Run times are stated to be extremely fast, less than 0.10
the coiled-tubing buckling model provides two essential features second on a modern personal computer. There is growing accep-
that are absent in the soft-string T&D model: the ability to model tance in the industry that spline interpolation provides a better
radial clearance and bending stiffness. description of the likely drillstring configuration than minimum
Consequently, these buckling models have been applied to curvature. However, Mitchells spline model assumed that the
soft-string models as part of T&D analysis. drillstring matched the well-path curvature (using the improved
T&D soft-string model is used to predict the axial forces spline well path), thereby remaining in continuous contact with
along the drillstring to determine where compressive forces the wellbore. Consequently, this model does not permit radial
occur. clearance, which is an essential element of a holistic stiff-string
Buckling model is used to predict the minimum compressive model.
force required to begin helical buckling along the drillstring, Inclusion of Radial Displacement. Cernocky and Scholibo
taking into account varying radial clearance and bending (1995) stated that their development of an analytical model that
stiffness. accounted for bending stiffness and radial clearance was to
Results from the two programs are compared, and portions address column buckling of casing. Details about the analytical
of the drillstring are identified where helical buckling is pre- model are not provided, but extensive details on associated nu-
dicted to occur. merical modeling by use of Abaqus finite-element analysis (FEA)
The most conservative approach is to reject any drillstring design are given in a separate reference (Cernocky and Scholibo 1994).
that predicts helical buckling. The reason is that the model pre- Their objective was to study casing damage caused by reservoir
dicts large increases in contact force from helical buckling. How- compaction. The primary modeling focus was to simulate deple-
ever, others believe it may be possible to operate with portions of tion of the reservoir pressure and corresponding loads and defor-
the drillstring in a helical-buckling configuration. Another down- mation of the casing. The local model of the well was used to
side for rotating helically buckling pipe is that the increased con- predict the reservoir loading on the casing, by use of nodal loads
tact force accelerates wear of the drillstring and casing. instead of distributed loads on the casing. Central-processing-unit
The governing equations of these classic soft-string models are (CPU) run times were extremely slow, about one CPU week on
modeled after static equilibrium (Mitchell and Miska 2011). Equi- an HP730 workstation (Cernocky and Scholibo 1994).
librium means there are no net external forces on the drillstring, Rezmer-Cooper et al. (1999) used a finite-element stiff-string
which would mean acceleration is zero. This would indicate the model for both bending stiffness and radial clearance. Results for

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soft-string models sometimes give poor results for stiff tubulars,

X (North) clearance in the annulus (Mason and Chen 2007). Not all stiff-
string models are equal. Some account for bending stiffness but
Z not for radial clearance, whereas others account for both effects.
O
Why Did We Develop the New Dynamic Stiff-String
e3 e1 Model? The new stiff-string model takes its starting point to be
3D dynamic equations of motion for the entire drillstring from bit
Y
to topdrive. Bending and torsional stiffness of the drillstring is
considered in the model. Radial clearance is modeled, and contact
points are calculated rather than assumed. The wellbore is allowed
to deform elastically as a result of contact with the drillstring. The
O interaction of lateral, torsional, and axial vibration is taken into
s e2 account. The friction force is based on a hysteresis dynamic
model. The method of solution assumes steady-state motion of the
drillstring. These assumptions we believe capture more of the
essential physics of the problems compared with existing models.
Moreover, the method of solution described here permits T&D
analysis from bit to the topdrive on standard engineering com-
puters with robust numerical convergence in reasonable simula-
Q
tion time. For the field case histories presented in this paper,
M(0) approximately 15 minutes of computing time was used per T&D
operationsuch as drilling, reaming, and rotating off bottomon
Fig. 1Coordinate systems. an engineering desktop computer.
The model and method of solution is presented in full detail in
one case history showed the contact forces for stiff string were this paper and previous papers (Tikhonov et al. 2006; Tikhonov
significantly lower than for soft string (Rezmer-Cooper et al. and Safronov 2008, 2011), which permits other experts to validate
1999). The paper also states that their stiff-string model calculated and replicate the results presented here. Consequently, we believe
a much more accurate torque loss for the drillstring compared the new dynamic stiff-string model presents innovative capabil-
with the soft-string model, but it did not say which was higher. ities for the industry to model drillstrings with both stiffness and
Menand et al. (2006) developed a stiff-string model of a com- radial clearance. These improved capabilities can be used to solve
plete drillstring that uses a numerical method that was stated to be problems where it is essential to model local contact or stresses,
much faster than finite element. The drillstring is assumed to be a such as casing and drillpipe wear, drillstring fatigue, buckled
beam element, and the borehole is assumed to be rigid and circu- drillstring, and failure points in the drillstring.
lar. The contact algorithm is begun by assuming no contact any- As described in the next section, the new dynamic stiff-string
where in the drillstring and then uses an iterative process to model is run to solve the steady-state motion of the drillstring.
introduce contact, one point after another. The advantage of this approach is mainly related to superior con-
Aslaksen et al. (2006) described FEA analysis of the drillstring vergence of the numerical algorithm compared with static equilib-
from bit to surface. The analysis ran on a Unix platform and pro- rium. Another advantage of the general dynamic formulation of
vided time-based simulations of the drilling process that included governing equations in the new stiff-string model is the ability to
a laboratory-derived rock/bit-interaction model. The method mod- study transient dynamic drillstring problems in the future.
eled torsional, axial, and lateral vibrations and accelerations. The
paper points out solutions for the entire drilling system are Theoretical Basis of the Model
exceptionally time consuming and complex both in setup and The mathematical model for the dynamic stiff-string torque and
computational time. Although FEA modeling had been used as drag (T&D) is modeled after the method of the drillstring
early as 1943, the paper stated that the long computational time dynamic analysis in a well (Tikhonov et al. 2006). Originally, this
had meant that relatively short lengths of drillstring had been ana- method was designed for buckling (Tikhonov et al. 2006) and
lyzed. The general approach is described for this method, but suf- whirling (Tikhonov and Safronov 2008) studies. We summarize
ficient details on the solution method are not provided to allow the basic principles of this analysis and then apply the methodol-
readers to replicate the papers results. ogy to perform T&D analysis.
McSpadden et al. (2011) carries out full stiff-string analysis of
casing by use of a purpose-built FEA code to calculate radial dis-
The Mathematical Model of a Drillstring. The 3D mathemati-
placements of the casing centerline from the wellbore centerline.
cal model of a drillstring in a well used in the new stiff-string
The radial deflection of the casing string at each node allows for
model is described by Tikhonov et al. (2006) and Tikhnov and
determination of the true casing curvature or effective dogleg se-
Safronov (2008). The model includes a system of equations for
verity. The model was run in static mode although the same stiff-
lateral, torsional, and axial modes of a drillstring, written as pro-
string-analysis model has also been used in dynamic mode to study
jections on axes-coordinate system oe1e2e3, referenced to the
stresses on the coiled-tubing stack from wellhead to injector as-
wellbore (Fig. 1):
sembly (Smalley and Newman 2005). Application of the dynamic
model has also been made to analyze drillstring loads during jar- 00
mr Tr  jj  EIr  jj
00 00

ring (Newman and Proctor 2009). 00

jMr  jj0 f n ;                 1
Summary. Two general types of mathematical models are in use
for T&D software: soft string and stiff string. The soft-string M0 l; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
qIp w
model is widely available and represents the industry standard. It
is used because of the simplicity of its algorithm, rapid calculation x T 0 fx ; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
m
time on even the most basic laptop computer, and the sufficiently
accurate results obtained for many common drilling situations. where r y jz; y, z projections of the drillstring axial line on
Stiff-string models have been developed to provide more-accu- axes oe2 and oe3; m* effective mass, which includes mass of the
rate analysis than soft-string models. It is generally believed that drillstring m and the added fluid mass inside the drillstring and in

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the annulus per unit length; EI, GIp, AE bending, torsional, and The new stiff-string model, developed by use of the previously
axial stiffness of the drillstring, respectively; qIp moment of described process, has a wide range of applications for conducting
inertia of the drillstring; T AEx0  0:5jr0 j2 axial force; M numerical simulation in the area of drillstring mechanics.
GIp w0 j1 torque; j a0  jh0 cosa a projection of the
well curvature onto plane oe2oe3; j1 cosah0 a projection of Adaptation of New Stiff String for T&D Analysis. The ability
the well curvature onto axis oe1; a, h the inclination angle and to obtain a steady-state solution through the numerical simulation
the azimuth angle of the wellbore, respectively; w torsion angle; of a dynamic problem allows its use for T&D analysis. In this
fn fy jfz; fx, fy, fz projections of the external force per unit case, integration of dynamic equations over time is a kind of itera-
length onto axes oe1, oe2, and oe3, respectively; l frictional tor- tive procedure establishing steady state of drillstring and contact
que per unit length; and j (1)1/2 imaginary unit. forces required for T&D analysis.
Note the prime means a derivative with respect to arc length s The main problem arising from such an approach is to ensure
(Fig. 1) and the dot is derivative with respect to time t. the numerical stability of an explicit integration scheme. To sat-
Major components of external forces and torque include isfy the necessary convergence condition of a numerical algorithm
weight, contact force, and friction force: for a stiff system, the timestep Dt should be chosen on the basis of
the following condition:
f n wsina  pr=jrj1  jkh vh =v; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 rr!
m m
fx wcosa  kx px=v;
_ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Dt < min DL ; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
AE0 k
l 0:5Dpkh ; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 where DL is the mesh size and k is the stiffness of the borehole
wall per unit length as defined by the elastic characteristics of
where w weight of the drillstring in mud per unit length; rock.
p contact force per unit length; vh 0:5Dw _ circumferential
For representative values of the drillstring and rock stiffness
velocity of a point on the drillpipe surface; v x_ 2 v2h 1=2 re- from 7,000 psi for sandstone to 30,000 psi for granite (Glowka
sultant velocity of a point on the drillpipe surface; D outer 1989) integration step Dt reaches 104 to 106 seconds, which
diameter of the drillstring; and kh, kx friction factors in the cir- significantly slows down the computer analysis. For instance,
cumferential and axial direction, respectively. transient dynamic processes such as buckling or whirling calcula-
The model assumptions are tions for a 1,300-ft drillstring by use of a mesh with 3-ft spacing
The contact force is dependent on a penetration of drillstring and a timestep of 53105 seconds will require up to 4 hours of
into the wellbore wall: p p(d), where d (y2 z2)1/2 d0; computing time to be completed. However, for the sake of T&D
d0 0.5(Dh D) clearance between the wellbore wall and analysis of the steady-state processes, modeling of the transient
the drillstring; and Dh hole diameter. dynamic regimes is not of great importance.
Dependence p(d) is quadratic-elastic (Tikhonov et al. 2006). As follows from Eq. 7, the integration timestep could be
The circumferential velocity of a point on the drillpipe sur- increased by artificially increasing mass m. Then, to suppress the
face relative to its own axis is significantly higher than the inevitably increasing oscillations, corresponding artificial damp-
circumferential velocity of a point on the drillpipe surface ing should be introduced into the numerical scheme. This numeri-
relative to the wellbore axis. This assumption permits the cal technique permits rapid decay of transient processes without
simulation of drillstring-whirl cases. introducing any disturbance into the overall steady-state-equilib-
Dahls elasto-plastic model is used as the friction model rium dynamic results. We have run simulations with and without
(Tikhonov and Safronov 2011). the artificial mass and damping to confirm the validity of this
The drillstring and wellbore parameters can vary along the approach. By use of the artificial mass and damping technique,
measured depth. This feature permits modeling different drillstrings the running time to achieve steady-state dynamic equilibriumor
and bottomhole assemblies in wells with varying wellbore diameter. full decay of the transient intermediate processeson a mesh of
For field case histories presented here, we assumed gauge hole. several thousand elements (drillstring up to 15,000 ft) requires
Different rig operations are determined by boundary condi- approximately 15 minutes of computing time. Without the use of
tions for Eqs. 1 through 3. the artificial mass and damping, computing time was roughly
For Eq. 1, the inputs required are lateral displacements at doubled. The result of the steady dynamic state is a solution of the
the top and bottom of the drillstring in the cross-sectional static equations that could be derived from Eqs. 1 through 6 for
plane of the well r(0) and r(L), and the corresponding first x and steady-state velocity val-
zero acceleration values of r; w;
and second derivatives, where L drillstring length. _
ues r 0; w X; x_ vr :
_
For Eq. 2, the inputs required are torque on bit,
Q GIp w0 O, and the drillstring rev/min, angular velocity 00 00 00 00
Tr  jj  EIr  jj jMr  jj0
_
X wL.
wsina  pr=jrj1  j0:5DXkh =v 0;      8
For Eq. 3, the inputs required are weight on bit, P T(0),
and rate of penetration or axial speed, vr xL.
_ M0 0:5Dpkh ; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
The equations of motion, Eqs. 1 through 3, are numerically
integrated by use of the method of lines (Tikhonov et al. 2006). T 0 wcosa kx pvr v: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Eqs. 1 through 3, which are of the second order with respect to
time, are converted to six equations of the first order (i.e., in The steady-state condition was considered to have been
Cauchys form). Partial derivatives with respect to length are achieved when the kinetic energy at any point along the drillstring
approximated by nonuniform finite differences on mesh along the (and neglecting rotation at the input rev/min) was less than 0.01 J.
arc length, s. The resulting system of ordinary-differential equa- The conventional soft-string equations of T&D can be ob-
tions is integrated by use of the Runge-Kutta explicit method. tained from Eqs. 9 and 10. Eq. 8 represents the equilibrium of
Initial conditions for integration of the system of Eqs. 1 forces acting normal to the borehole wall and determines the dis-
through 3 can be arbitrary, although reasonable assumptions are tribution of the contact force along the length of the drillstring,
used to improve convergence. For example, one reasonable initial p(s). It is worth noting that the obtained solution considers the
condition assumes that only all tool joints are in contact with the drillstring-bending stiffness and allows the user to determine axial
wellbore wall. The initial conditions for the drillstring in the well- force and torque, as well as bending moment, Mb (Eq. 11), and
bore are specified in the first stage of the integration process. This contact force, R (Eq. 12):
stage is used for identification of the natural position of the drill-
string inside the hole, which includes locating all contact points in 00
Mb 0:5Djr j; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
a 3D well under gravitational force, friction, and contact forces.

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R pDL: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Case 1: Backward-Nudge Profile in Unconventional Shale

Well in West Virginia. Case 1 is a backward-nudge well drilled
in West Virginia, USA. This profile is used in shale formations to
Contact Force per Joint vs. per Node. Soft-string models math- increase horizontal reservoir exposure by nudging the well away
ematically assume continuous contact of drillstring with casing/ from the intended target direction, as seen in Figs. 2a and 2c. For
wellbore. This assumption prevents soft-string models from pre- Case 1, the build section begins at 5,200 ft at an initial inclination
dicting the actual location of contact along the drillstring. Further- of 16 . The build section was drilled with maximum doglegs close
more, to calculate contact forces, an additional assumption is to 15 /100 ft as shown in the upper part of Figs. 3a and 3b and
usually made that only tool joints are in contact. In other words, Fig. 4. Note the backward nudge increases the maximum dogleg
the contact force is conventionally lumped per 31-ft joint for severity. The build ends at 6,300 ft, where the well is horizontal.
reporting purposes. The well remains horizontal until 9,818 ft with doglegs on the
The new stiff-string model makes no assumptions regarding order of 0.53 /100 ft (Fig. 3a). For the cased-hole section from
location of contact. Instead, it calculates the force on each node, the surface to 5,400 ft, a friction factor of 0.20 is used. For the
which for a beam model can be as close as 3 ft. As the following open hole, a friction factor of 0.25 is used. Both friction factors
case histories show, the new stiff-string model predicts that in were chosen to represent reasonable values on the basis of experi-
some cases additional contact occurs on the pipe body between ence. The well is assumed to be 8.5 in. in diameter from surface
tool joints, whereas in other cases some tool joints are not in con- to total depth (TD). The mud weight used in the well is 12.8 lbm/
tact at all. The capability to predict local contact behavior is im- gal. The drillstring consisted of an 8.5-in. polycrystalline diamond
portant for analysis of casing and drillpipe wear and drillstring compact bit with a 6.75-in. mud motor bottomhole assembly,
fatigue. It also helps identify failure points, thus improving drill- and 5-in. S-135 19.5 lbm/ft drillpipe with NC50 connections
string operational reliability. (Table 2).

Model Comparisons by Use of Field Case T&D Analysis Results: Comparison and Discussion. The com-
Histories parison of hookload and surface torque calculated by different
Three field cases were chosen to compare the torque and drag models for basic rig operations is shown in Table 3. At first
(T&D) results obtained by the new stiff string, a new soft-string glance, the comparison of T&D results indicates good agreement
model (Tikhonov and Safronov 2010), and two industry-available of results among programs. But a closer examination of the
programs (referred to as Program A and Program B) that both operations of rotating off bottom (ROB) and sliding reveals some
have soft- and stiff-string models. For each field case, the analysis important distinctions among programs. Furthermore, it is note-
has been carried out for seven common rig operations, as shown worthy that only the new stiff-string and new soft-string models
in Table 1. are capable of modeling reaming operations, as shown in Table 1.
The well profiles shown in Fig. 2 represent common horizontal ROB. The axial-force distribution along the drillstring while
well types. Each case was chosen because it has unique and in- ROB is at TD shows good agreement for the results obtained by
structive features for T&D analysis. all models (Fig. 3a). This figure also shows that surface results for

0 0 0 4,000
4,000 0
3,500
3,500
200
50 1,000
1,000 3,000 100
3,000

2,500
2,000 2,500
150
400 2,000
N+/S (ft)

N+/S (ft)
N+/S (ft)

2,000 2,000
200 3,000 1,500
TVD (ft)

1,500 1,000
250
600
TVD (ft)

TVD (ft)

1,000 4,000 500

3,000 500
300
0
800 350 5,000
0 500
400 1,000
4,000 500 1,5001,4001,2001,000 800 600 400 200 0 200 6,000 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0
200 0 200 400 600 800 1000
1,000 E+/W (ft) E+/W (ft)
E+/W (ft)
7,000
5,000 1,200
8,000
6,000 1,400 9,000
0 500 1,000 1,5002,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 0 200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400 1,600 0 5001,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000
(a) Horizontal Displacement (ft) (b) Horizontal Displacement (ft) (c) Horizontal Displacement (ft)

Fig. 2Well profiles: (a) Case 1, backward-nudge well; (b) Case 2, short-radius well; (c) Case 3, backward-nudge well.

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20 20

DLS

DLS
10 10

0 0
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 7,500 8,000 8,500 9,000 9,500 10,000 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 7,500 8,000 8,500 9,000 9,500 1,0000

120 7,000

100 6,000

80 5,000

Torque (lbfft)
60 4,000

40 3,000
New Soft String
New Soft String
2,000 New Stiff String
20 New Stiff String
Program A Soft String
Program A Soft String
Program A Stiff String
Program A Stiff String
0 1,000 Program B Soft String
Program B Soft String
Program B Stiff String Program B Stiff String
0
20
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000
(a) MD (ft) (b) MD (ft)

Fig. 3Comparison of the T&D results for ROB operation, Field Case 1: (a) axial load and (b) torque distribution. DLS 5 dogleg se-
verity in units of degrees per 100 ft.

20
20

DLS
10
0
DLS

10 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500

1,500
New Soft String
New Striff String/Joint
0 New Striff String/Node
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 7,500 8,000 8,500 9,000 9,500 10,000 Program A Soft String
Program A Striff String

Contact Force (lbf)

1,000 Program B Soft String
1,500 Program B Striff String

New Soft String

New Stiff String/Joint
500
New Stiff String/Node
Program A Soft String
Program A Stiff String 0
(b) 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500
1,000 Program B Soft String MD (ft)
Contact Force (lbf)

Program B Stiff String 0.4

DLS
0.2
0
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500
1,000
New Soft String
New Striff String/Joint
New Striff String/Node
Program A Soft String
Program A Striff String
500
Contact Force (lbf)

Program B Soft String

Program B Striff String

500

(c) 0
0 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000
MD (ft)
2,500 3,000 3,500
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000
MD (ft)
(a)

Fig. 4Contact force during ROB operation for Field Case 1 along: (a) entire drillstring, (b) build section, and (c) top 2,500 ft of ver-
tical section.

hookload are in good agreement for all models (within 4%). The The contact-force-distribution figures show some interesting
surface torque (Fig. 3b) for ROB has somewhat larger differences effects predicted by the new stiff-string model. To interpret these
among programs, with a maximum difference of approximately results, note that the red line represents the new stiff-string model
1,000 lbf-ft for surface torque (15%). One of the main reasons for with contact force calculated per 31-ft joint, as is performed for
the observed difference is the fact that contact-force distributions all other programs. The orange bars represent contact force for the
for different models are not identical, as shown in Fig. 4. The big- new stiff-string model calculated on a per-node (3-ft) basis. The
gest difference in contact force occurs for the Program A stiff first observation is that the new stiff-string model predicts no con-
string, which predicts much higher values in the build, as shown tact in the first 2,500 ft of the vertical section in the well, as shown
in Fig. 4b. by the red line in the close-up of the vertical section in Fig. 4c.

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Table 3Field Case 1: T&D results comparison for hookload and surface torque.

Second, it can also be seen that the new stiff string predicts no other predictions, the contact forces per node (orange bars in Figs.
contact in the build for more than two whole joints at 5,500 ft, as 5b. and 5c) in the build and high-dogleg sections are much lower
shown by the red line in the close-up of the build in Fig. 4b. For than the lumped-per-joint contact force, because of multiple
the rest of the well, the new stiff string predicts that contact occurs instances of drillpipe/body contact. The new stiff-string model
only on the tool joints. This is shown by the agreement between gives greater insight on actual drillstring-contact-point prediction
the orange bars (which represent contact-force-per-node results) by being able to predict helically buckled drillstring position in
and the red line (which represents contact force per joint). None the hole. In Fig. 5d, the position of the drillstring predicted by the
of the other models were able to capture this behavior. new stiff string is shown to be helically buckled in the wellbore
Sliding. The sliding operation at TD in this well shows sev- just above the build section. The upper part of the figure shows a
eral noticeable differences between the programs (Fig. 5). For the side view of the drillstring, with some tool joints contacting the
axial-load distribution (Fig. 5a), Program As stiff string stands top of the wellbore whereas others contact the low side. The lower
out as the lowest hookload. This is caused by the larger amount of part of the figure provides a top view of the drillstring with some
helical buckling predicted by the Program A stiff string, which tool joints contacting either side of the wellbore. The color of the
can be observed from the higher contact forces for the light blue tool joint represents the intensity of the contact force, as shown by
curve in the build section in Fig. 5b, and particularly in the close- the code bar at the bottom of the figure, with red being the highest
up in Fig. 5c. When helical buckling occurs, the program dramati- values. Let us recall that buckling in the three soft-string models
cally increases contact forces. All programs, except both models is calculated by use of a separate equation that is bolted on to
of Program B, predict the onset of the drillstring helical buckling the T&D analysis after its completion, as described earlier in the
just above the build section. Program B predicts sinusoidal buck- Introduction. However, this is not the case with the new stiff-
ling but not helical buckling. This can be seen by the lower con- string model, which calculates the location of each contact as well
tact forces for the green curves (for Program B soft and stiff) in as the contact force at each location.
Fig. 5b and particularly in the close-up in Fig. 5c.
Comparing contact forces predicted by the new stiff-string Case 2: Short-Radius Well. Case 2 is a short-radius horizontal
model and the other programs, we note that distribution of contact well drilled in Texas with a maximum dogleg close to 50 /100 ft,
forces (lumped per joint) are in a fairly good agreement with Pro- as shown in the upper part of Figs. 6a, 6b, and 6c. The build starts
gram B and the new soft-string model, with the only exception at 1,300 ft and ends at 1,500 ft, where the well becomes horizon-
being the prebuild interval. Although lumped contact forces in the tal. The well remains horizontal until reaching total depth at 2,830
high-dogleg section (red curve in Figs. 5b and 5c) are close to the ft, with doglegs between 0.5 and 6 /100 ft (Fig. 6c). The entire

20 20
DLS

DLS

10 10

0 0
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 7,500 8,000 8,500 9,000 9,500 10,000 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 7,500 8,000 8,500 9,000 9,500 10,000

60 5,000
New Soft String New Soft String
New Stiff String 4,500 New Stiff String/Joint
40 New Stiff String/Node
Program A Soft String
4,000 Program A Soft String
Program A Stiff String
Program B Soft String Program A Stiff String
3,500
Contact Force (lbf)

3,000 Program B Stiff String

0 2,500
2,000
20 1,500
1,000
40
500

60 0
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000
(a) MD (ft) (b) MD (ft)

Side View
10 5
DLS

0
2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 0
1,000
Projections, (in)

New Soft String

New Stiff String/Joint 5
New Stiff String/Node 4,350 4,400 4,450 4,500 4,550 4,600 4,650
Program A Soft String
Program A Stiff String
MD (ft)
Contact Force (lbf)

Program B Soft String Top View

Program B Stiff String
5
500
0
5
4,350 4,400 4,450 4,500 4,550 4,600 MD (ft) 4,650

0
0 50 100 150 200 250
2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500
(c) MD (ft) (d) CF (lbf)

Fig. 5Sliding operation at TD, Field Case 1: (a) axial load, (b) contact-force distribution, (c) close-up of contact force in vertical
section, and (d) helically buckled drillstring position in wellbore. CF 5 coefficient of friction.

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60
(a) 45

DLS
30
15
0
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 (c) 60
8 45

DLS
New Soft String
New Stiff String 30
10 Program A Soft String
15
Program A Stiff String

12 Program B Soft String 0

Program B Stiff String 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000
14

16 7,000 New Soft String

18 New Stiff String/Joint
6,000 New Stiff String/Node
20
Program A Soft String
22
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 Program A Stiff String
5,000

Contact Force (lbf)

MD (ft) Program B Soft String
60
Program B Stiff String
(b) 45
4,000
DLS

30
15
0
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500
3,500
New Soft String
New Stiff String
3,000
3,000 Program A Soft String
Program A Stiff String
2,500 Program B Soft String
2,000
Torque (lbft)

Program B Stiff String

2,000

1,500 1,000
1,000

500 0
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500
0
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 MD (ft)
MD (ft)

Fig. 6Drilling operation, Field Case 2: (a) axial load, (b) torque, and (c) contact-force distribution.

Table 4Field Case 2 drillstring design.

well is modeled with a constant friction factor of 0.30. The mud Rotary Drilling. For modeling rotary drilling in this well, all
weight used in the well is 10.0 lbm/gal. The drillstring used con- programs predict very similar axial loads, but contact forces and
sists of a 4.75-in. polycrystalline diamond compact bit with a especially torques for the programs differ (Fig. 6). As in the slid-
4-in. mud motor, a short section of nonmag drill collar, and ing operation for Case 1, the torque and contact-force graphs ex-
2.875-in. S-135 9.95 lbm/ft drillpipe with NC31 connections to hibit curiosities with respect to the stiff string of Program A. This
the surface (Table 4). The results of the analysis obtained by the program, unlike all others, predicts a larger increase in contact
different soft- and stiff-string models are shown for axial force, force in the build portion of the well. This consequently leads to
torque, and contact force along the drillstring (Fig. 6). an increase in the torque for its stiff string and is perhaps a pri-
mary reason behind the increased torque of Program A compared
T&D Analysis Results: Comparison and Discussion. Results with its soft string (Fig. 6b).
for T&D analysis of this field case are shown in Table 5. All pro- The torque for Program As soft string and the two industry-
grams are very close for drilling, ROB, and pickup. As noted available stiff strings in this case is approximately 3,000 lbf-ft,
before, only the new stiff string and new soft string provide results whereas the torque of the new stiff string is much lower because
for reaming, so a comparison against the other programs is not of the difference in contact distribution along the drillstring. Tak-
possible. There are very large differences in results for sliding and ing a look at the contact forces predicted by the new stiff string
slackoff, which are operations prone to drillstring buckling. Space per joint, we see that they match very well with the other pro-
constraints here prevent a detailed discussion of these widely grams. The use of this lumped-per-joint contact forces the results
varying results, but the different treatment of buckling by the six of the new stiff string and the prediction for surface is 2,990 lbf-
programs is the underlying cause. ft, which is extremely close to results from most other programs.

Table 5Field Case 2: T&D results comparison for hookload and surface torque.

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20 20

DLS
DLS
10 10

0 0
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000

16,000 3,000
New Soft String
New Stiff String/Joint
14,000 2,500 New Stiff String/Node
Program A Soft String

Contact Force (lbf)

Program A Stiff String
Torque (lbfft)

12,000 2,000 Program B Soft String

Program B Stiff String

10,000 1,500

8,000 New Soft String 1,000

New Stiff String
Program A Soft String
6,000 Program A Stiff String 500
Program B Soft String
Program B Stiff String
4,000 0
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000
MD (ft) MD (ft)
(a) (b)

Fig. 7Rotary drilling, Field Case 3: (a) torque and (b) contact-force distribution.

Table 6Field Case 3 drillstring design.

Table 7Field Case 3: T&D results comparison for hookload and surface torque.

However, if local contact forces are taken into account, it can be shown in Table 7. For hookload, results are similar for drilling,
clearly seen that there is substantial pipe/body contact, as shown ROB, and slackoff, but some differences are seen for sliding and
by the new stiff string (Fig. 6c), and that the results differ greatly. pickup. For surface torque, the most significant difference is that
The characteristic of the new model to capture local contact the new stiff string predicts much lower values for drilling and
through dynamic analysis, consider stiffness and geometric nonli- ROB. This difference in surface torque while drilling will be dis-
nearity of the drillstring, and correspondingly assess friction-tor- cussed here by examining the contact-force predictions.
que loss results in a lower prediction for surface torque.
Rotary Drilling. The new stiff-string model predicts lower surface
Case 3: Backward-Nudge Profile in Unconventional Shale torque (11.6 klbf-ft) than all the other software (between 13.8 and
Well in Texas. Case 3, like Case 1, is also a backward-nudge 15.7 klbf-ft). The differences range from 19 to 35%. As seen in Fig. 7,
horizontal well, but it was drilled in the Eagle Ford shale in locality of contact forces again plays an important role. Examining
Texas. As the well profile shows in Fig. 2c, the backward nudge the dogleg severity (graph shown above the contact-force figures), it
occurs at approximately 7,200-ft true vertical depth with maxi- can be seen that this well profile is tortuous along the entire wellbore.
mum doglegs close to 16 /100 ft (Fig. 7a). The well becomes hor- In this situation the new stiff-string, and to some extent the Program
izontal at 9,150-ft measured depth (MD) and remains horizontal B stiff-string, models again show the role of tubular stiffness. The
until 12,478-ft MD, with doglegs between 0.5 and 3 /100 ft (Fig. new stiff-string model predicts an important aspect of local contact
7a). The cased hole goes from surface to 2,998 ft, with an that the other programs do not capture: the absence of drillpipe con-
assumed friction factor of 0.20. The rest of the well is open hole tact in the initial vertical part of the well, with the drillstring only par-
with an assumed friction factor of 0.25. The mud weight used in tially in contact for the rest of the wellbore until approximately 5,000-
the well is 11.1 lbm/gal. The drillstring used for drilling this well ft MD, and sometimes losing contact for several joints (Fig. 7b). The
is shown in Table 6, with most of the drillstring comprising 5-in. prediction of reduced contact where the drillstring tension is high
S-135 19.50 lbm/ft drillpipe with NC50 connections. leads to the lower surface torque predicted by the new stiff string.

T&D Analysis Results: Comparison and Discussion. Hookload Concluding Remarks on Three Field Case Histories. For the
and surface torque predicted by each program for Case 3 are three case histories, in many situations modeled, the top-level

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Table 8Field data from daily drilling reports.

results for surface T&D up/down are close enough for all six tory 3 discussed earlier. Such daily report data provide a single
models to be within the uncertainty range associated with the value or range of values that represent 24 hours of drilling. Our data
commonly used, lumped-parameter friction factor. However, for this well represented 8 days of drilling over 9,500 ft of hole (Ta-
some major differences in hookload for sliding and slackoff oper- ble 8). Consequently, obtaining eight data points can hardly be
ations are observed, which are shown to be caused by differences expected to represent the actual drilling operations with precision.
in location and magnitude of contact force between the drillstring Moreover, the entering of data into daily reports is subject to human
and wellbore. Further, significantly lower surface torque is pre- interpretation. For example, one person might enter the highest
dicted by the new dynamic stiff string compared with other mod- value observed for a specific parameter, such as surface torque,
els for one case history because of lower contact forces in the while another might enter the average value for the day. Neverthe-
vertical section of the well. less, daily reports are relatively easy to obtain, so we decided to
The key finding of this paper is that major differences are compare Field Case History 3 in detail by use of this method.
observed for contact forcesboth location and magnitudefor The first step is to compare rotating off bottom (ROB) hook-
the new dynamic stiff-string model compared with all five other load field data against the new stiff-string-model predictions. Dur-
models, including the two static stiff-string models. These differ- ing ROB, all friction is in the circumferential direction (none in
ences in contact forces are most significant when the drillstring the axial direction). Consequently, the surface hookload should
has helically buckled or when doglegs in the wellbore are high. match buoyed weight of the drillstring with reasonable accuracy
Helical buckling of the drillstring can harm drilling-optimization after accounting for the weight of the traveling assembly. If there
efforts by preventing effective weight transfer to the bit, thereby are significant differences in predicted and observed hookload
reducing rate of penetration or causing poor motor performance. ROB, then the likely reason is differences in weight of traveling
The difference in contact-force prediction would also be impor- assembly or drillstring composition between the model and the
tant for prediction of fatigue of a rotated drillstring and for predic- field data. Gross errors in mud weight can also affect these com-
tion of casing and drillpipe wear. parisons, but this is a relatively minor effect. The comparison of
field data for ROB hookload is given in Table 9 and shown in
Fig. 8. Generally, Fig. 8 shows close agreement. Model predic-
Comparison of New Stiff- and Soft-String Models Against tions for the shallowest measured depth (MD) have a relatively
Field Data for Field Case Histories 3 and 4. As discussed in the large difference from field data (32%), which could be attrib-
preceding section, the new stiff-string models compared favorably uted to sheave friction causing inaccuracy in the rigs weight sen-
in most situations against well-accepted industry Programs A and sor or an error in our estimation of the weight of the traveling
B. This good agreement provides some level of validation for the assembly. Model predictions for the rest of the well, including the
new stiff-string model. The next step in validation of the new stiff- important horizontal section, are within 6% for the new stiff-
string model is to compare its predictions against field data. string and soft-string models, which is well within the expected
In this section, the new stiff-string model is compared against variation.
field data for the same Field Case History 3 described in the pre- The next step is comparison of pickup hookload data to assess
ceding section and against field data for a fourth well, which is effects of axial-friction factors. As shown in Fig. 9 and Table 10,
denoted Field Case History 4. Data from Field Case History 3 are the agreement is close between field data and predictions from the
depth-based data taken from daily drilling reports (Table 8), models. In Table 11, the average of the absolute value of differen-
whereas data from Field Case History 4 are time-based. Depth- ces between field data and predictions from the new stiff string is
based and time-based field data have different advantages and dis- tabulated. For pickup hookload data, the new stiff-string model
advantages. Both types are used as part of the validation process predictions are on average 9% different from the field data, which
to illustrate the viability of the new stiff-string model. For these is considered to be within acceptable limits (Table 10).
comparisons, the new soft-string-model predictions will also be The comparison of slackoff hookload field data against the
included to illustrate potential differences with the new stiff-string new stiff- and soft-string-model predictions is also performed to
model. As noted earlier, the new soft-string model agrees very complete the validation of the hookload field data. As shown in
closely with industry-accepted soft-string Models A and B. Fig. 10, generally the agreement is close except in the horizontal
section. Table 11 shows the new stiff-string model is on average
Depth-Based Field Data From Field Case History 3. Depth- 9% different from the field data, which is considered within ac-
based data were obtained from daily reports for the Field Case His- ceptable limits. The qualitatively different character of the field

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160 250

140
200

String Weight (klb) 120

100 150
Field Data
80
Field Trend Field Data
New Stiff String 100 Field Trend
60
New Soft String New Stiff String
New Soft String
40
50
20

0 0
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000
MD (ft) MD (ft)

Fig. 8Field Case History 3: Comparisons of ROB hookload for Fig. 9Field Case History 3: Comparisons of pickup hookload
new stiff-string and new soft-string models vs. field data. for new stiff-string and new soft-string models vs. field data.

data vs. the models in the horizontal section is not well under- In summary, the new stiff-string-model predictions agree with
stood, although the qualitative character of model predictions observed field data for Field Case History 3 within 10% for hook-
appears to be correct in our view. load and within 20% for surface torque. These differences are
Comparing surface torque also helps validate the new stiff- considered to be well within acceptable limits and help confirm
string model against the field data. As shown in Fig. 11, the tor- the validity of the new stiff-string model.
que generally agrees with the new stiff-string-model predictions,
but contains two points of discrepancy in the deepest part of the Field Case History 4
well in the horizontal section. These field data do not continue the As noted in the preceding section, depth-based field data used in
clear trend of increasing torque with increasing MD, which would Field Case History 3 have limitations, primarily the fact that an
be expected and is predicted by both models. The likely conclu- entire days operations are represented by a single data point. To
sion is that the field data are compromised, and this clearly dem- further test validity of the new stiff-string torque and drag (T&D)
onstrates the limitations of the use of only depth-based data model, time-based data are compared by use of a different well,
derived from daily reports. Table 11 shows that the new stiff- which is called Field Case History 4.
string-model predictions on average are 20% different from field This case is a backward-nudge well in the Eagle Ford shale.
data, even including the two spurious points. Casing was set at 6,238 ft, and then the well was drilled open hole

Table 11Average of absolute value of differences between field data and model predictions.

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140 14

120 12

Field Data
100 10 Field Trend
New Stiff String

Torque (klb-ft)
New Soft String
80 8
Field Data
60 Field Trend
6
New Stiff String
40 New Soft String
4

20 2

0
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 0
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000
MD (ft) MD (ft)

Fig. 10Field Case History 3: Comparisons of slackoff hook- Fig. 11Field Case History 3: Comparisons of surface torque
load for new stiff-string and new soft-string models vs. field while drilling for new stiff-string and new soft-string models vs.
data. field data.

to total depth of approximately 19,000 ft. Some of the other pa-

rameters that were used for this well are shown in Table 12 and
the drillstring design is listed in Table 13. Table 13Field Case 4 drillstring design.
The following graphs show the results obtained by running the
new stiff- and soft-string models and comparing them with the
tripping out, speeds of less than 100 ft/hr were used. In addition,
real-time data obtained from the field. This case also shows good
the difference in the bit position was checked, and for tripping in
agreement with the predictions, although some of the data have
was made sure to be positive (and negative for the tripping-out
significant of noise.
operation).
Rotating off bottom (ROB) was determined by selecting rev/
Again, the first step in comparison is to examine ROB to
min between 50 and 100; operation tag of Off Bottom; and rate
ensure predicted buoyed weight of the string matches field data
of penetration between 5 and 5 ft/min. Rotary drilling was deter-
with acceptable accuracy. Results are shown in Fig. 12, which
mined by selecting weight on bit (WOB) greater than 10 klbf; rev/
shows the available field data were limited to the horizontal sec-
min of greater than zero; and the operation tag of On Bottom.
tion of the well. Predictions from the new stiff-string model agree
Tripping-in and tripping-out operations were determined by use
closely with the lower limit of the filtered time-based data, which
of the Off Bottom tag as true and WOB less than 5 klbf. For
indicates a good match.
tripping in, speeds of greater than 100 ft/hr were selected, and for
After matching the ROB hookload, the next step is to calibrate
the friction factors by comparing the pickup and slackoff hook-
loads. The best agreement was obtained with a 0.17 openhole fric-
350
tion factor and a 0.20 cased-hole friction factor. Both of these are
within the range of common friction factors observed in other
300 wells for drilling operations. Results are shown in Fig. 13a for
The slackoff data in Fig. 13a were obtained partly during a trip
String Weight (klb)

250
and partly during connections. Moreover, data were only available
for portions of the well. Data from approximately 9,00014,000-ft
200 measured depth represent a trip and provide less spread compared
Field Data with connection data. Similarly for pickup data in Fig. 13b, data
New Soft String from approximately 14,000 ft to surface represent a trip, and again
150
New Stiff String show a smaller spread after filtering compared with the connec-
tion data. Overall, the agreement is within acceptable limits.
100 The next step is to compare surface torque while drilling and
ROB. By use of an estimated bit torque of 6,000 lbf-ft and the
50 same friction factors as discussed previously, comparisons are
0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 shown for torque while drilling (Fig. 14a) and torque while ROB
MD (ft) (Fig. 14b). The method for filtering the torque while drilling was
to select all the torques less than 5 klbf-ft. For ROB, all torques
Fig. 12Field Case History 4: Comparisons of ROB hookload with values of zero were taken out because this would suggest no
for new stiff-string and new soft-string models vs. field data. rotation. Then, for both drilling and ROB, the torques for both

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DC163566 DOI: 10.2118/163566-PA Date: 23-September-14 Stage: Page: 13 Total Pages: 16

450
450
400
400

Field Data

350 Field Data
New Soft String 350
New Soft String
300 New Stiff String New Stiff String
300
250 250
200 200

150 150

100 100

50 50
0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000
MD (ft) MD (ft)
(a) (b)

Fig. 13Field Case History 4: Comparisons of (a) slackoff and (b) pickup hookload for new stiff-string and new soft-string models
vs. field data.

20 20

15 Field Data 15 Field Data

Torque Drilling (klb-ft)

Torque ROB (klb-ft)

New Soft String New Soft String
New Stiff String New Stiff String
10 10

5 5

0 0
0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000
Depth (ft) Depth (ft)
(a) (b)

Fig. 14Field Case History 4: Comparisons of (a) surface torque while drilling and (b) surface torque while ROB for new stiff-string
and new soft-string models vs. field data.

were arranged in order of depth, and all values for the same depth portant effects on results. Finally, the full dynamic model will be
were averaged to determine a mean value. used to study transient dynamic drillstring problems, such as
The comparison of torque while drilling shows the predictions stick/slip and whirling.
for the new stiff-string model falling near the center of the cloud
of time-based field data, which indicates good agreement. It Conclusions
should be noted that moderate stick/slip occurred during much of
Our conclusions from this work are as follows.
the time represented by these data, which is indicated by the
1. A new dynamic torque-and-drag (T&D) model has been devel-
spread in field data. The torque-while-ROB comparison shows a
oped that assumes steady-state motion of the entire drillstring
similar result to the torque-while-drilling comparison. Again, the
from bit to topdrive. Bending stiffness and radial clearance are
new stiff-string-model predictions lie near the center of the cloud
both accounted for in the model, which classifies the new
of field data, which represents acceptable agreement.
method as full stiff string.
In summary, predictions from the new stiff-string model show
2. The key advantage of the new method is the ability to analyze
acceptable agreement with time-based field data from Field Case
the entire drillstring by use of standard engineering desktop
History 4. Combining this with previously noted good agreement
computers in reasonable computing time. The advantage of the
with depth-based field data from Field Case History 3 and with
use of a dynamic approach to solve the steady-state position of
comparisons against industry-accepted Programs A and B, the
the drillstring is mainly related to superior convergence of the
new stiff-string model has been shown to provide suitably accu-
numerical algorithm compared with static stiff-string models
rate predictions for all cases tested so far.
because calculation of contact points is faster.
3. Although several papers have published stiff-string models,
Future Work there is no industry-standard formulation of it. The main prob-
The dynamic stiff-string model provides improved capability to lem holding back the development of an industry-standard stiff
predict local contact force and stress, which we plan to use to model is perhaps the complexity of the numerical algorithm and
study drillstring and casing wear and drillstring fatigue. Addi- substantial running time. The new stiff-string model described
tional field validation is considered important and is ongoing. The here adopts a full stiff-string model while still giving reasonable
new model will also be used to study noncircular wellbore cross computational times. T&D analysis of the field case histories
sections, which our initial dynamic simulations indicate have im- presented in this paper required approximately 15 minutes of

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DC163566 DOI: 10.2118/163566-PA Date: 23-September-14 Stage: Page: 14 Total Pages: 16

computing time per T&D operation (such as drilling, reaming, R contact force
rotating off bottom) on an engineering desktop computer. s arc length
4. Three recently drilled horizontal shale wells were analyzed t time
that had high dogleg severity, which is generally believed to T axial force
cause the industry-standard soft-string models to provide poor v resultant velocity of a point on the drillpipe surface
predictions of T&D. The new dynamic stiff-string model is vh circumferential velocity of a point on the drillpipe
compared with two static stiff-string models and three soft- surface
string models. vr axial speed, running speed, or rate of penetration
a. In many situations modeled, the top-level results for w weight of the drillstring length in the mud per unit length
surface T&D up/down are close enough for all six models to y projections of the drillstring axial line on axis oe2
be within the uncertainty range associated with the commonly z projections of the drillstring axial line on axis oe3
used, lumped-parameter friction factor. a inclination angle of the wellbore
b. However, major differences were observed for the new d penetration of drillstring into the wellbore wall or defor-
stiffstring model compared with other models for hookload mation of the wellbore wall
during sliding and slackoff operations. These differences are d0 clearance between the wellbore wall and the drillstring
shown to be caused by differences in location and magnitude DL mesh size
of contact force between the drillstring and wellbore. These Dt integration timestep
differences in contact forces are most significant when the h azimuth angle of the wellbore
drillstring has helically buckled or when doglegs in the well- j projection of the well curvature onto plane oe2e3
bore are high. j1 projection of the well curvature onto axis oe1
c. Significantly lower surface torque is predicted by the k stiffness of the borehole wall per unit length as defined
new dynamic stiff-string model compared with other models by the elastic characteristic of the formation
for one case history because of lower contact forces in the ver- l Frictional torque per unit length
tical section of the well. This resulted in a lower prediction of qIp moment of inertia of the drillstring
surface torque, which matched the field data better. w torsion angle
5. The key finding is that major differences are observed for con- X drillstring angular velocity, rev/min
tact forcesboth location and magnitudefor the new
dynamic stiff-string model compared with all five other mod-
els, including the two static stiff-string models. These differen- Acknowledgments
ces in contact forces are most significant when the drillstring We gratefully acknowledge major contributions from Lee Win-
has helically buckled or when doglegs in the wellbore are high. chell for his technical guidance and expertise and for providing
Helical buckling of the drillstring can harm drilling-optimiza- field case histories; Michael Kuhlman for his technical guidance
tion efforts by preventing effective weight transfer to the bit, and expertise on field practices and providing field case histories;
thereby reducing rate of penetration or causing poor motor per- Anand Kannappan, Melissa Frilot, and Mike Rossing for their
formance. The difference in contact-force prediction would technical guidance and expertise; and Collin Johnson for his
also be important for prediction of fatigue of a rotated drill- expert technical writing. We also appreciate Weatherfords sup-
string and for prediction of casing and drillpipe wear. port in conducting this work and publishing this paper.

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sented at Offshore Europe, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, 58 Septem- Block weight was estimated to be 50,000 lb; this value was sub-
ber. SPE-19229-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/19229-MS. tracted from the discussed hookload data for comparisons shown
Newman, K.R. and Proctor, R. 2009. Analysis of Hook Load Forces Dur- in Figs. 10 and 11, Case History 3, and Tables A-1 and A-2 used
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10.2118/118435-MS. Vadim S. Tikhonov is manager of the Russian Group of Simula-
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ports the Use of Stiffness and Tortuosity in Solving Complex Well 40 years for Moscow Aviation Institute and Aquatic Company.
Design Problems. Presented at SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, Am- Tikhonovs current interests include drilling mechanics, drilling
sterdam, The Netherlands, 911 March. SPE-52819-MS. http:// hydraulics, and numerical methods. He has authored or coau-
dx.doi.org/10.2118/52819-MS. thored more than 150 technical papers. Tikhonov holds a PhD
degree in dynamics and control of vehicles from Moscow Avi-
Sheppard, M.C., Wick, C., and Burgess, T. 1987. Designing Well Paths to
ation Institute and is a member of SPE.
Reduce Torque and Drag. SPE Drill Eng 2 (4): 344350. SPE-15463-
PA. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/15463-PA. Khaydar Valiullin is a senior project engineer in Research & De-
Smalley, E. and Newman, K. 2005. Modeling and Measuring Dynamic velopment with Weatherford. Previously, he worked for 5 years
Well Intervention Stack Stress. Presented at the SPE/ICoTA as a research fellow at Polytechnic University of Milan. Valiullins
Coiled Tubing and Well Intervention Conference, The Woodlands, research interests are wellbore and drillstring integrity, drilling
optimization and automation, defect-tolerance design, and
Texas, 1213 April. SPE-94233-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/94233-
multiaxial fatigue. He has coauthored more than 15 technical
MS. papers. Valiullin holds a PhD degree in mechanical systems en-
Tikhonov, V.S., Safronov, A.I., and Gelfgat, M.Ya. 2006. Method of gineering from the Politecnico di Milano and a masters degree
Dynamic Analysis of Rod-in-Hole Buckling. Proc., 8th Biennial ASME in petroleum engineering from Ufa State Technological Univer-
Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis, Torino, sity. He has been a member of SPE since 1999.

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DC163566 DOI: 10.2118/163566-PA Date: 23-September-14 Stage: Page: 16 Total Pages: 16

Albert Nurgaleev is Lead Engineer Technical Support for Tubu- industrial engineering from Wichita State University and a
lar and Premium Connections at TMK Company. Previously he bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Madras
worked for 6 years in Research & Development with Weather- University, India. He is a member of SPE.
ford in Russia. Nurgaleevs current interests include stress anal-
Pavel Chaguine is a design engineer at Weatherford. Previ-
ysis, fatigue tests, and torque-and-drag analysis. He holds a
bachelors degree in physics engineering from the University ously, he worked as an engineering intern at Weatherford.
of Russia. Nurgaleev is a member of SPE. Chaguines research interests include computational fluid dy-
namics, drilling dynamics, and robotics. He holds a bachelors
degree in chemical engineering from Rice University and is
Lev Ring has been the Director of Technology Development
currently pursuing a masters degree in mechanical engineer-
with Weatherford since 2002. His current interests include
ing at Rice University. Chaguine is a member of SPE.
managed-pressure drilling, drilling automation, and real-time
simulation of drilling processes. Ring holds a PhD degree in Curtis Cheatham is a drilling-engineering adviser in Research
physics and mathematics from the Russian Academy of and Development at Weatherford. He has worked for Weath-
Sciences and a masters degree in applied physics from the erford or its legacy companies since 2001, with a focus on new
Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia. He is a member of technology development in drilling-engineering simulation
SPE. and numerical modeling, drillstring mechanics and torque
and drag, drilling dynamics, drilling hydraulics, rotary-steerable
Varadaraju Gandikota is Manager of Secure Drilling for Deep- systems, automation, and real-time drilling optimization.
water Systems Engineering with Weatherford. He has been Cheatham has authored or coauthored 15 technical papers.
with the company for more than 8 years and has been He has been a member of SPE for 37 years and was previously
involved in numerical modeling and simulation for the past 15 an executive editor and is currently an associate editor of SPE
years. Gandikota previously worked in other industries in Drilling & Completion. Currently, Cheatham is a member of
applied research, engineering, and numerical modeling. His the technical program committees for the 2014 SPE Deep-
current interests include managed-pressure drilling, drilling-sys- water Drilling & Completion Conference and the 2015 SPE/
tems modeling, computational fluid dynamics, and fluid/struc- IADC Drilling Conference. He holds bachelors and masters
ture interaction. Gandikota holds a masters degree in degrees in mechanical engineering from Rice University.

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