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Factors to be ConsiderE~d

In Drilling Optimization
Pan America.n Pet'l'ole1t1n Corporation,
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Extensiye drilling research, particularl~' in the last ten THE DEVELOPMENT OF ROTARY DRILLING can be di,'icled
:,.,ears. has resulted in a better understanding of the effect into four distinct periods - Conception Period, 1900-
of drilling variables and their interactions. The practical
application of this knowledge has kept hole-making costs 1920; Development Period, 1920-1948; Scientific Pe-
at the 1958 le\"el in spite of inflation. Optimized drilling, riml, 1948-1968; and Automation Period, which began
which was first applied on a comprehensive basis in 1967, in 1968. The major accomplishments of the first three
has significantly reduced drilling costs, although it has
:ret to reach its full potentiaL Optimized drilling is defined periods, and a prediction of what lies in the future for
as the "mathematical treatment of the most important the Automation Period, are shown in Table I.
controllable drilling- variables to de\'elop a comprehensive In reviewing these developml~nt periods, the ques-
minimum-cost drilling program". The variables involved
in rotar:,.. drilling are classified as alterable or unalterable tion naturally arises as to the reason fol' the approxim-
and the variables selected for mathematical optimization ate 30-year lapse between the end of the Conception
are herein described. Period and the start of the Scientific Period. There
A more detailed treatment will be gh"en to the most im- are a number of reasons that can be given, but un-
portant yariables optimized-mud, hydraulics, bits, weight doubtedly the most significant one is that major oil-
and rotary speed. Rig selection and data acquisition are
also discussed, as these factors play an important role in field equipment firms, mud service companies and
optimization_ The paper includes data which show that operators did not start appropriating the large
significant reductions in drilling costs haye been obtained amounts of money it takes to do high-quality drilling
when optimized drilling programs were effeetil'ely imple- research until about 1948. 'Vhen we look at the major
mented_ An 'interesting aspect of the data presented 'is
that sal'iogs achieved in "second-round" optimums were accomplishments obtained durinlr the Scientific Period,
significant and, in one case, more than those sa\·jngs the most productive years are found to be from 1958
obtained in "first-round" optimums. This indicates that to 1968. A measure of the impact of the drilling tech-
better data, more eXllerience in applying olltimized dril-
ling principles and developing confidence in the program nology developed during the latter part of the Scien-
are ke:r factors in the successful use of this new drilling tific Period on hole-making costs, as compared to tot.1I
approllch. well costs, can be seen from Figure 1.
Total well costs increased 1·1 per cent from 1958
through 1967, while hole-makin~: costs remained at the
1958 level; i.e., about $4.25/ft. 0l Other costs, such as
completion, logging and casing expendit.ures, increased
J. L. LU.i\11IUS is a research group
supel"Visor in the Research Depart- 21 per cent. If the extensive drilling research effort of
ment of Pan American Petroleum the past 10 years had not been undertaken and had noL
Corporation. A native of Edgemoor, been successfully reduced to pradice in routine drilling
South Carolina, Mr. Lummus grad- operations, it is estimated that a t~'pical 8,000-9,000-
uated from Erskine College in 1942,
where he majored in chemistry and foot hole would cost an additional $3,OO/foot to drill
physics, He worked as a chemist with today. This would amount to a saving of about $500
the DuPont Company until 1944, million for 1967 alone, which is testimony to the facl
when he entered the U,S. Na"y, serv- that the investment in dl"ilIin!f research undertal{en
ing as an officer aboard amphibious
ves£els in the Pacific. bJ' man~r companies has paid off.
::VIr. Lummus joined Pan American in 1946 as a junior Optimized drilling has been one of the most signif-
chemist. In 1949, he was made research c.hemist and has icant accomplishments obtained during the Scientific
since specialized in drilling Jnud and the improvement of Period, but it was not introduced on a comprehensive
drilling techniques, and has co-authored more than twenty
technical papers on drilling- fluids and related subjects. basis until 1967, and therefore will not reach its full
He u£sumed his present title in 1958, potential for several years. It is very important to reol·
THE PAPER \VAS PRESENTED: at the 20th Annual ize that optimized drilling would not be possible today
Technical }[eeting of The Petroleum Society of elM, without the hard work of numerous researchers who
Edmonton, May, 1969. ha,·e spent considerable time studying the effects of
drilling variables and how they relate to each other.

136 The Jcurnal af Canadian Petroleum

The purpose of this paper will be to discuss the
variables involved in rotary drilling and how optimiza-
tion principles are applied in controlling the most im-
pOl"tant variables to develop comprehensive rninimum-
cost drilling programs.


There is no such thing as a "true" optimum drilling
program; invariably, compromises have to be made
because of limitations beyond our control which result
in something less than optimum. Perhaps it can be ex-
plained this way - for years it has been known that
rate of penetration could be increased b}~ drilling with
,vater, rotating the bit faster and increasing flow
velocity through jets in the bit. Lack of sufficient
mechanical and hydraulic horsepower often prevents
the propel' balancing of variables to obtain maximum
drilling efficiencJr. Also, there has always been a lim-
iting value above which an increase in rpm, weight-
on-bit and pump rate did little or no good. New tech-
nology has raised these limits, but thel' are still there,
The limits set for drilling variables are all influenced
" by the resulting bit life, the first major factor; some
195& - 1968
are also influenced by the second major factor, the
stability of the wellbore. HOLE cum NG DOWN I~ !LOWER PA RTI '
Although water is the fastest drilling liquid, some
colloidal solids in the fluid are necessary in many FiguTf!, 1.-Tnmd oj Indu.stry D1'illing Cost.
areas to provide hole stability_ In other areas, weight-
., on-bit is limited by the deviation characteristics of the
formation. Rotary speed and pump pressure are gen-
erally limited by equipment capability and resulting effective level. Optimum weight and rpm are not
maintenance costs. Therefore, the IO'west-cost drilling achieved unless hydraulics and mud are optimum;
will result when limits are imposed which maximize what generally results is that a balanced program is
not only drilling rate but also equipment life and well- developed to fit the specifications of a particular rig.
bore stability. In some cases. if wellbore stability and Optimum procedures can more nearly be applied if the
equipment life are maximized, a decreased penetration optimization approach is also used to select the rig-.
rate will have to be accepted. In other words, a bal- From a practical viewpoint, the general idea of op-
anced program has to be effected, one in which the timized drilling can be e>"'''Pressed by the series of
drilling variables being considered are at their most curves in Figure 2- A semi-wildcat well is drilled at
the lowest bid of $12.00/foot. It takes 100 days and
costs $180,000. From the experience gained on this
TABLE I well, the next well is negotiated at $10.80/foot. It takes
90 days and costs $162,000. This process continues,
ROTARY DRILLING DEVELOPMENT with each succeeding well costing a little less, due to
experience previously gained, until the average drilling
Conception Period
time has been reduced to 50 days and costs reduced to
Development Pe-riod
1900-1920 1920·1948 $90,000 at a standard field price of $6.00/foot.
Rotary Drilling Principle
1900 (Spindle Top) More Powerful Rigs
Rotary Bits
1908 (Hughes) Better Bits I."--SURFACE CASIW;
Casing and Cementing
1904-1910 (Halliburton) Improved Cementing FIRST WELL (AWARD LOW BID, sl2lFn
Drilling Mud
1914-1916 (National Lead Specialized Muds SECot~D WElL CNEGOTIATED. SID.COIm
SciellUjfc Period
Automation Period

Expanded Drilling Research

Full Automation of Rig
and Mud Handling
10.(00 ,
Better Understanding of "Closed-Loop" Computer \
Hydraulic Principles Operation of Rig ~~
Significant Bit Control of Drilling ll~
Improvements Variables ll~
Optimized Drilling; lS."" L ~""--"'-~~
Complete Planning of 50 90 100- DRILLING TIME
Improved Mud Technology Wen Drilling from DAYS (OVERAUJ
Spud to Production no,coo 'fUIl.OOJ 'SIID,COO-COST
Figure e.-Optimized Drilling Philosophy.

Technology. Odober"Oecember. 1969. Montreal 139

The philosophy of optimized drilling is to use the
TA~LE II l"ecord of the first well as a basis for calculations and
DRILLING VARIABLES to apply optimum techniques to the second and third
weUs, thus arri\'iug at a negotiated field price of
$6,OO/foot much sooner.. [f drilling costs could be re-
Alterable Unulleruble duced by utilizing optimum techniques. an operator
['...Iud Weather could drill more wells per sear in a given moen than he
Type Location might otherwise drill, or he may be able to drill wells
Solids Content Rig Conditions that may otherwise be uneconomical from a cost-to-
Viscosity Rig Flexibility production standpoint.
Fluid Loss Corrosive Borehole Gases
Densit)r Bottom-Hole Temperature The reduction of costs through the use of optimum
techniques does not stem from faster penetration rutes
Hvdraulics alone. An optimum drilling program anticipates pos-
.. Pump Pressure Round Trip Time
Jet Velocity Rock Properties sible well problems and provides methods to handle
Circulating Rate Characteristic Hole Problems these problems as they arise in an effort to reduce
Annular Velocity "'iFater Available over-all rig days.
Bit Type Formation to be Drilled GENERAL CONCEPT OF OPTIMIZATION
"-eight-on-bit Crew Efficiency AS APPLIED TO ROTARY DRILLING
Rotary Speed From a mathematical point of view. the drilling
variables can be classified as alterable 01" unalterable.
as shown in Table II .
The classification shown i~ not strict, as some of
the unalterable variables may be altered by a change
\'ARrABLES CONSrDERED IN OPTIMIZAnON in the alterable ones. For example, a change in mud
type may allow for a change in bit type. resulting in a
."Wlruble UllalleTGble faster penetration rate through a particular formation .
Mud Formation to be Drilled The compressi\'e and tensile strength of the l'ocl(
Hydraulics Depth drilled remain constant, but the rock's drilling proper-
B(t Type ties have been altered by changing the drilling fluid
""t-Rpm and bit type.
Of course, there is considerable interdependence
,=lmong the alterable variables. For instance, mud vis-
RElATIVE)lRILLING RAIT cosit.'l and fluid loss are considerabl.y influenced by
the type and amount of solids. The wt-rpm combina-
WEIGHT ] tion is inter-related; an increase in one ma~r neces-

RPM , sitate a reduction in the other for smooth economical

III considering which variablE's to choose for mathe-
WEIGHT-llPM WEIGHT ; RPM J tnatical optimization, experience and research suggeHt~
1:iix: four alterable olles alld two unaltel'Hble ones.
WEIGHT-llPM =::J]-- NEGATIVE INITRACTION These variables are listed in Table IlL
The basic interactive effects between these variable!i
\\-'ere determined by factorial design experiments.
WEIGHT ] Variable interaction exists when the simultaneuus in-
HYDRAUliCS ::::J crease of two or more variables does not produce an
additi\Te effect as compared to the individual effects.
The meaning of variable inter:\ction is illustrated ill
",CTUAl ; I__ POSITIVE Figure S_ This sho\\'s the related responses in drilling
rate when the variables are increased from one level to
another; first individually, second simultaneously, A
2 J 4 negative interaction exists when increasing both varia-
Fig If/"(' :J ..-lVhaf is Inte1·actiofl? bles does not produce as high a drilling rate as ex-
pected, although it will be higher than obtained when
increasing either variable alone. A posi live interaction
TARLE IV exists when the drilling rate is hig-hel" than expected
TYPICAL DRILLING VARIABLE INTERACnON IN when both variables are increased; Le., olle helps the
HARD ROCK other"
I -ariable Combilllliion [llle.racfio/l
Thus, a negative or positive interactiull does not
mean a reduced or increased drilling rate as sllch; it
WI-Rpm Negatn"e means that the re.:mlting drilling rate, when two or
Weight-H:\!draulics P05itn"e more variables are increased. is less than 01' more than
Rpm-Hydraulics None
Low Solids-Hydraulics Positt"e what \vould normally be expected if thl~ v<lt·iables h,we
Low Solids-Weight Positive an additive effect upon each other,
Bit Typc.-Form:ltion Either
Low Solids-Bit Type Positive Table IV shows typical interactions between the
Rpm-Formation Negativc important drilling yariables, It is important to note
I\'Iud Solids-NDP* Positi,,'c that these results are not fixed but may change if the
levels at \vhich the variables are being compared are
'"Non· Dispersed, dual-J.ction pol~rmer changed.

140 The Journal af Canadian P(!trol(!um

. - --~-'~-"'- -- -'


The planning of a detailed mud program should be 200
the first step in putting together an optimized drilling
program, as the drming fluid is the most important 1\
single factor affecting drilling rate_ Selection of the
best mud for a partieular area will allow the use of ~ 150
optimum hydraulics to clean the bit and hole and lead ~

to effective implementation of optimum wt-rpm rela- ~

tionships to drill faster and to properly wear out the >-
bit_ "'

Excluding clear water, the best mud is a non-dis- '"

persed fluid having a total clay solids content of no
more than 4 per cent and a drilled solids to bentonite
ratio of less than 2 :l.(:!l A number of articles dating
back to 1960 have presented laboratory and field data
showing that the solids content of a drilling fluid has
a significant effect on penetration rate, number of o 5 10 IS
bits used and drilling days. A statistical average of PERCENT SOLIDS BY VOlUME
data from over 100 wells drilled in the U_S_ and Canada
FigHl"C 4.-Effect of Solids on Drilling
to various depths is shmvn in Figw'e 4. Most of the Pe1'jonl1ance.
data llsed were from wells drilled with dispersed muds,
but a few wells drilled with true non-dispersed muds
showed faster penetration rates than nearby wens
drilled with dispersed muds with the same clay solids 95
content. This prompted laboraton·c drilling tests, with BENTONITE TO lOW YIELD CLA_Y RATIO 1,1
resulting data shown in Figure 5, This work showed ~
~ 9lJ
that the particle size as ,,,ell as the total colloidal size "'=
has an important bearing on drilling efficiency. The '"
z 85
idea is to keep particles as big as possible while still ~

retaining flow and fluid-loss properties.

> 15

Opti1ml1l~ hydraulics is the p1"oper balance of the = 70
hydraulic elements that 'Will adequately clean the bit
and borehole 'with minimum hOTsepowe1'. The elements 65
I 2 J 4 5 6
are: flow rate, which sets annular velocity and pres-
sure losses in the system; pump pressure, which sets SOLI OS CONTENT, VOLUME '"
jet velocity through the nozzles; the flov·... rate - pump Figw'c 5.-EUcct 0; Solids Dispersion on Drilling Rate.
horsepower relationship, which sets h,)rdraulic horse- ,,~, "

power at the bit; and the drilling fluid, which deter-

,, mines the pressure losses and cuttings transport rate.
These elements have to work in the proper ratios to
achieve optimum hydraulics, and the complexity of
the interactions of the elements is show'n in Figu're 6.
These ratios are sometimes hard to define_ For exam- f
ple, the proper balance between flow rate and annular ,:.".
velocity depends on bit cleaning, erosion of the bore-
hole in turbulent flow and lost circulation problems.
Optimum jet velocit}r depends on formation character-
istics, mud solids, weight-an-bit, bit type and annular MAXIMUM HHp AT JETS ~ MAXIMUM
velocity limitations. Decisions regarding how to de-
fine the proper balance between the hydraulic elements t-'
make this one of the most difficult phases of drilling I
optimization. However, successful hydraulics programs
can be prepared by first considering two factors: bit
cleaning and hole cleaning. Adequate jet velocity and
fluid impact or momentum are required for bit clean-
ing, The recommended jet velocit}r range is from 250
ftlsec_ to 450 ftlsec. as the drilling rate varies from 5
to 100 ft/hr_ Guidelines to obtain adequate fluid im- FLOW RATE. GPM
pact vary from 73 per cent hydraulic horsepower at INCREASING JEI HHp DECREASING JET HHp
the bit during the fast upper-hole drilling to 49 per •
cent during slower drilling at deeper well depths_
The most important aspect of the second considera- DECRfASING JEI VELOCITY
tion - hole cleaning - is having a mud with a suf- Figure 6.-Inter-rela..tion of Hydraulics at Co-Mta..nt Pump
ficient yield value to lift cuttings from the hole_ P1"CSSW'C.

Technology, October..December, 1969, Montreal 141

Fignre 7 shows the results of cuttings lifting tests drilled solids, yield values are zero and the fluid is in
which indicate that a yield value above the 4 to 6 range turbulent flow. which results in low cutting transport,
does not significantly improve the ability of drilling i.e., about half annular velocity. By increasing the yield
fluid to remove cuttings.{:!.) An adequate annular ve- value to the 3 to 5 range, f1m...· is changed to laminar,
locity depends on hole size and the yield value of the which increases the cutting transport to equal the an-
mud system. These values should be adjusted together nular velocity. These results, whlch have been dupli-
to keep: cated many times in the field, show that a small change
(a) the yield valLie as low as possible to facilitate set- in the yield yalue of the mud can significantly impL'Ove
tling of small cuttings in surface pits; hole cleaning_
(b) the annular velocity .!TId cutting transport rate Bit Selection
reasonably close in value; and
(c) the annular flow pattern neither in extreme tur- In order to do a good job of selecting bits for drill-
bulence nOlo in total plug flow. ing a particular well, the engineel· must have a ,\,01'1(-
Figm-e, 8 shows that the properties of the drilling ing knO'vledge of the types of bits available from the
fluid. particularl:.. yield ,-alLie, have a critical effect on major bit hlanufaetul"ers and how best to use these
flo\...· patterns_ Assume a flmv rate of 345 gpm, and an hits in drilling formations ranging from very soft to
annular velocit~r of 139 ft/min., in a 9-inch hole with "eiT hard, considering such problems as deviation,
fairly fast drilling and large chips, If the drilling fluid solids content of the mud, hole gauge, lost circulation.
is clear water or contains only a small amount of etc. A comprehensive bit correlation chart, continually
updated to include new bits, is therefore the starting
{Joint in selecting the proper bits for drilling a well.
It is also important that the engineer have both
!Ill qllalitatiYe and quantitative descriptions of bit weur
70 ~PP. VI SC, • lB from at least two nearbJr control wells in order to do a
z good job of selecting bits for the proposed well. The
[;: information needed, which may have to be obtained
APP, ViSe, • 9 from various sources, is shown in Table V.
~. 50
0 It can be surmised from the foregoing remarks and

:;:4lJ from studying the list of informat ion needed that com-
« plete information on bit wear from control wells is an
~JO absolute necessit~r in planning a comprehensive bit
~ 1/2 x 114 CUTTING IN 12-114" HOLE
;OlD ANNULAR VELOCITY, 90 FTlMIN selection program. The present AAODC-API Bit
:> Grading Code(~) is good as far as it goes. but it is not
10 definitive enough fat comprehensive planning of an
0 optimum drilling program. The present code could be
0 3 4 j2 6 7 8
FigHl-e i.-Effect of Yield ralue on Cuttings Carrying
Capacity. T.\RLE V


RATE RATE I\Iill-Toolh Bits
I§.: YV
.• 01 PV • 3
Economic Life Remaining (TeeUl and Bearin~s)
~§;)1\i'IJI" YV. 0 Tooth Height
Wi • 8.5 WT • 8.6
T T Gauge 'Wear
53 FT/MIN 65 FTlMIN Type oj Wear_· Self Sharpening
Flat Crested
CUTIING Broken Teeth
RATE Chipped Teeth
Upset Teeth
.4bllormal Wear: Shirt-Tail Wear
T Tracking
11 FTlMIN Inner Row Teeth Gone and
Heel Rows Good
Nose Bearing Loose
Off-Center Wear
Fa~-r1/rf!s: Broken Cone:;
PV ·3 Broken Spear-point
YV ~ 3 Cones Locked
P WI·8.7 Seal Failure
139 FTfMIN Coring
RATE Insert Bits
PV • 6
YV • j Bearings: Economic Lire Remaining
WI • 9.0
P Cutting Structure: Repairability of Cone.<l Indicaled.
1 to 4
1'17 FT/MIN 1 - All Cones Repairable
2 - Two Cones Repairable
Figure B.-Flow Patterns for 9-inch Hole. 3 - One Cone Repairable
(Assumptions: - fast drilling; lal'ge chips; 4 - All Cones \Vorn Beyond Repair
annular velocity of 139 it/min.).

142 The Journal of Canadian Petroleum

, .
.~ . ~~-~ - '' - - ~~-----_.-
•• ~ • •,.......:..'..._. M


improved by establishing more complete guidelines to .15

obtain more unifol'm and detailed grading. The sug- 150 RPM
gested improvements are:
L - In addition to specifying the amount of tooth
wear. criteria should be provided to indicate ~

which teeth should be measured to obtain the ~

grading for a given bit tJrpe. 0

2. - Guidelines should be developed for measuring the :-:;

remaining useful tooth life: this could be a sim- I;;
ilar procedure to the one nm"l used to estimate re- tt'
maining bearing life. .05
3. - Bits pulled because they have reached an eco-
nomic limit due to formation changes or loss in
penetration rate, or for other reasons such as o 10 aJ 30 40 50 6IJ 70 III
becoming "plugged", sbould be so noted.
4. - Insert-type bits should be graded in terms of WEIGHT ON BIT. 1001 LB
wear due to feet of hole made at specified weights Figw'c 9.-Effects of TVeight and RP111 on D1-illing Cost.
and rotary speeds rather than in terms of re- (Example: 8%,-in. bit; medium-hard formation.)
pairability. Co,,";;tant ,'pm - Variable Weight - This method for
5. - Any abnormal wear, such as number of broken drilling with mill-tooth bits appears to be practical.
teeth and position of these broken teeth on the Genel'ally, good drillers gradually apply more weight
bit, should be so noted. as the bits become dull. This method has not been
It is believed that these, and possibly other sug- ,videly accepted, as it requires an automatic driller and .: .
gested guidelines, could be incorporated into the pre- more supervision than other wt-rpm programs. How-
J sent bit grading code without undue complication of ever, where applicable, the constant rpm and variable
the grading procedure and would provide more uni- weight method is considerably more efficient than
form grading throughout the industry. An improved constant rpm and constant weight programs.
bit grading code would make it possible to obtain bet- Constant 1"pm and Weight - Due to the limitations
ter data for more skillful planning of optimized pro- indicated above, most computer programs have been
gress. limited to constant rpm and weight. Because so many
Weight-Tpm limitations do exist, it has been necessary to make
programs as flexible as possible and cover as large a
Pan American's optimized drilling program is based range as the drilling engineer considers necessary.
on equations developed by Galle and Woods(~) and Bill- Optimu1n 7'P1n and ~Veight - Optimum rpm and
ington and Blenkarn(6) which define how the complex weight is the rpm and weight that one might run if no
relationship between weight-an-bit and rpm affects the limitations other than the bit could be considered.
wear of a bit in a particular formation. In order to get This is the rpm and weight for absolute minimum
some concept of optimization, it is important to under- cost not considering any other factors, such as condi-
stand ,,,hat these equations can provide in terms of tion of drill string, deviated hole, development of
data output. Using these equations, the weight-rotary torque, etc.
speed relationship can be categorized as shown in
Table VI. Best Weight for Given rpm - Should formation or
rig capability limit rpm, the program will determine
Variable rpm-lOt - Because so few rigs are electric the proper rpm for minimum cost ,vith imposed re-
or completely versatile as far as range of rpm and strictions. This will cost more per foot than when op-
weight is concerned. little use can be made of a var- timum rpm and weight are used.
iable optimum rpm and weight program. HO\vever, it
is the most efficient method for drilling with mill- Best ''"fJ1n to,' Given Weight - Should the drill collars
tooth bits. available or deviation control dictate a certain weight-
on-bit. this program predicts proper rpm for optimum
cost considering this restriction. This cost will also be
more than for optimum rpm and weight.
TABLE VI Figu're 9 shows an example of how optimum drilling
programs select the proper weight and rpm to achieve
minimum-cost drilling. In this instance, a medium-hard
WT-RPM RELATIONSHIPS formation is being drilled with an 8%-inch mill-tooth
Variable RPIl1 and Weight bit "inside the computer" at varying weights and
Best Variable RPrv[ and 'Weight rotary speeds. The data show that a combination of
150 rpm and 45,000 pounds weight-on-bit would drill
COllstanf RPA1 and Variable lVeighl
Best Variable '~leight for Gi,ren RPl\·I this particular formation at the lowest cost. The next
best combination would be 100 rpm and 55,000 pounds
Constant RPA1 and Wet"g1zf on bit. The advantage of the computer is that equa-
Best RPM and Weight tions can be quickly and economically solved to
Best Weight for Given RPlvI
Best RPM for Given 'Weight provide the information shown in Figure 9 for a mul-
tiple number of conditions. This provides the driller
OpUmum RPM and Weight with a flexibility that he never had before.
Provides minimum cost per foot,
but does not consider other factors Rig Selection
Best Weight for Given RP111 No discussion on drilling optimization would be
Besl RPl11 for Given Weight
complete without emphasizing the importance of the
flexibilit:r and capabilities of a particular rig in im-

Technology, October-December, 1969, Mont-real 143

plementing an optimum drilling program. In most in- changes in the mud and hydraulics program and provi-
stances, the program is modified to fit a particular sions for better mud handling are much easier to work
rig" This imposes limitations on the control of one or out in the pre-drilling conference between the operator,
more variables, thus decreasing, to varying degrees, conb-actor and mud service company them after drilling
the drilling efficiency, Eventualbr, the logic and poten- operations are underway.
tial savings to be gained by using the program to set
rig specifications will pre,'ail and it ,.,rill then be pos- Data Acquisition
sible to implement drilling techniques more nearly ap- Success in implementing an optimized drilling pro-
proaching optimulTI c.onditions. At the present stage gram. depends on a number of factors, such as the
of development, optimized drilling techniques are skill of the engineer who prepared the program, co-
basicallJr being used to upgrade rigs from x to ';l per operation of all parties, etc.. but the program is
cent, x per cent being dependent on what degree of doomed to failLlre unless the data from control wells,
self-optimization a contractor has achieved for a par- on which recommendations for the proposed well are
ticular rig. For example, a drilling contractor may based, are accurate. Engineers who prepare programs
have drilled a number uf wells in a particular area spend a lot of time gathering data from various
with essentialll' the same crew and rig equipment and, sources and <..:hecking their validity. [nvHriably, pieces
by experimentatiOll, obtained near-optimum conditions. of data are missing; if the data are critical in the
In some instances. this has been found to be as high preparation of the program, additional ~earching has
as 80 per cent, so the maximum improvement obtain- to be done.
able with optimization would be 20 per cent. The ideal method of collecting data is to in~tal1
The criteria for selecting a rig to run an optimum monitoring and recording equipment on the rig, with
program are shown in Table VII. If these criteria ,..·ere round-the-clock operators and supervisor)' engineers
not used and the wrong rig was selected, the following present to insure that all necessary infoL"mation about
limitations could result: the drilling operation is recorded for anahrsis and use
L - Inadequate hydraulics would limit bit weight due in preparing improved optimized drilling programs.
to balling, and reduce penetration rate. Ho,..'ever, it does not appear practical to lise a $25/hr
2. - Inadequate selection (,f rotary speeds may caUSe monitoring h·ailer anrl auxilial-Y equipment to increase
inefficient drilling of some formations_ the efficienQ' of a $50/hr rig for drilling a few wells.
3, - Inadequate drill collars cost money through re- It may, howeYer, be feasible for gathering data for
duction in weight-an-bit with resultant penetra- improving pl·ograms if at least fi fteen wells are to be
tion rate. drilled in a given area. In expensive offshore-location
4. - Inadequate mud handling equipment impairs the drilling, where rig costs may run as high a~ $500/hl",
entire drilling effort, as the desired mud proper- data-gathering equipment and an on-the~liite computer
ties cannot be maintained. or a data link to a time-sharing· computer for ana-
GeneralIlr, what happens is that at least some of the lyzing data and feeding bacl[ cOl'l'ectec\ "alueH for bit
criteria are not met and drilling is conducted under runs to the driller could payoff quickb' in improved
borderline conditions. For example, h,\fdraulics may he drilling efficiency. Drilling engineers are becoming
completely satisfactory under relatively shallow condi- aware of the advantage of accura1e data and the value
tions, but may fall short of providing the required bit of on-the-spot analysis, and there seem~ to be little
horliepower and hole cleaning needed for the bottom question that this phase of drillin,~ will expand greatly
part of the hole. Also, failure to provide adequate in the near future.
equipment for the chemical and me(~hanicall·emovalof On a less sophisticated. but more pmctical. level,
drilled solids mal' prevent maintaining a desired clny Pan American has found, l:iince 19G6, that effective
solids content at greater depths, where maximum ef- optimized drilling programs can be prepared using
ficiency is needed to drill at minimum costy) hand-recorded data from the API-AAODC daily drill-
Consideration should be given to the capabilit~' of .a ing reports, mud service company mud reports and bit
drilling rig and to possible re'i'amping of equipment records, augmented with information from logs and
before drilling operations are commenced, so that discussions with drilling contractors. This data-collec-
necessary adjustments can be made in the optimum tion procedure will continue fOJ" sume time to supply
drilling program to achieve the best possible efficieney information needed to optimize most of am· wells. Im-
under limitations imposed by the rig. Such things as proved indu~trl' standard forms, such as the Daily
Drilling Report, coded to facilitate key-punching, ,...·ill
TABU::: VII not oilly reduce the amount of writing a driller has to
do but also upgrade what he doe~; write. 'Vide use of
CRITEIUA FOR RlG SELECTION these forms will soon result in better records.
The data required to prepare an optimized drilling
Hydraulic Horsepower AI'ailable program are listed in Table VIII.
- Power need to run jet velocities 350-.,100 ftiEec.
- [0 no case less than ~50 ftisec. in slow drilling
- Also, horsepower for pump aod rotarr combined TAnLE VllI
and compound confi~uration
Drill Collars Available
- Sufficient weight needed, depending on formations
expected LoJ"IS (pre[~rabl}' IES or sonic)
Bit Records
Selectioll oj Rotar)' Speeds AlTczil(lble Mud Records
- Proper rpm ran!res are needed, depending on forma· Recorded Dnlling Data, i.e., torque. pump pressure, pcnc-
ations expected tration rate, etc.
Drilling Specifications for Proposed Well, i.e.. c:lsinl,:" points,
Adequate lHud Handling hole size. expected problems, etc.
- Need adequate settlin~ tanks, mixing pumps [or mud, Ri~ Specifications
chemicals, and mechailical solids remo\'al equipment CorrelaLion of Formation Tops to Proposed 'reB

144 The Journal of Canadian Petroleum

There have been many problems encountered in im- SAVINGS IN HOLEMAKING COSTS IN AREAS
plementing optimized drilling programs. These pro- BEEN USED
grams suggest changes in past drilling techniques; i.e_ l
mud system, drilling assembly, rig geometry, bit t;rpes
andlor hydraulics. Some contractors are accustomed Area Savings/fool
to drilling on experience only and are naturallr reluct- \Vest Texas. - ... ... . ....... . ... $0.35
. "
ant to change their techniques until they see that op- East Texas...... ... .. . . ... ... ... 0.52
timized drilling programs are an improvement over Rocky Mountain ... _.. .... . . ...... 1.66
present practices. A number of contractors have now Gulf Coast. ... .. ..... .. ..... ...... 2.22
had considerable experience with optimized drilling Canada .... ...... ...... . ..... 4.87
techniques and several are completel:ir sold on the ad-
vantages and potential of this new drilling approach.
Another important problem with optimized drilling TABLE X
programs develops when the rig equipment is not the
same as that on which the program was based. This PER CENT IMPROVEMENT RESULTfNG FROM
difference in rig equipment can have an effect on the FEET OPTIMIZED
weight-rpm program, the hydraulics program and/or
the mud program.
Many problems can develop after the drilling pro- ~Vell Days Bits H,s FlfBil FlfH' Hrs/Bil
gram has been started. Formation tops mal' vary from
those of the program, bit performance may be much 1 29.5 36.2( -3)' 23.6 28.4 36 7.2
2 16.2 65(+15)' 16.0 45 22 18
lower than expected. pump pressure may' be lower than 40.5 51
planned or well 'kicks' may require premature '\veight-
83( +16)'
25(+0)' 16.1
62 16.5
ing-up of the mud. 5 33 69.0( +6)' 26.6 123 36.7 15.25
6 34 68(+3)' 29.4 127 42 67.5
In order to prevent problems which are almost sure 7 36.1 53.8(+0)' 37.8 91 62 20.8
to come up from seriously disrupting implementation 8 40.8. 48.6( -5)' 44.5 75.5 71 6.2
factors, the drilling optimization program should be 9 318 65(+1)' 27.3 132 39.4 65.0
planned to have as much flexibility as possible. The 10 26.6 60(-1)' 30.2 66.5 13.1 43.0
drilling recommendations can be changed to fit the Weighted
rig equipment and then rerun through the computer. Average 32 54 31 88 39 23
Also, equipment can be rented or modified to satisfy
the optimum recommendations. *Numbers in parentheses refer to button bits used as com-
., pared to control.
Despite implementation problems, the application
of optimized drilling techniques has resulted in signif-
icant savings in drilling costs. Table IX shows a sum- DIRECT CST
mary of the cost-per-foot savings for five different
areas in Pan American's operations in 1968. Savings FErT

ranged from $0.35fft in West Texas to $4.87/ft in S CONTROL
9.508 31 759 12.5 76,080 ~1.01
Canada. WELL
Tables X and XI and Figure 10 are examples of the WElL A 10,759 26 9 776 13.9 79.200 1.41 7.5
results obtained in applying optimum drilling tech- WELL B 10.825 16 12 J2Il 15.5 71,160 6.67 IU
niques_ Table X shows the per-cent improvement
achieved in optimizing ten wells, or a total of 91,330 ft.
The per-cent improvement in the various categories.
i.e., rig days, bit rotating hours, ft/bit, ft/hr and 8
hr/bit, ranged from 6 to 132 per cent as compared to ~
drming experience on selected control wells. z
Table XI and Figu1"e 10 show the results of first- "'c
and second-round optimization in two different areas. ~

In the examples shown in Table XI, the first round of 10

optimum wells was drilled in Jul:~r of 1966, based on ~ ________ WaL A
a program prepared using the last two previous wells i!' 11
as the control wells. The second round of optimum pro- 10
grams, implemented in July, 1967, was prepared using
data from the first-round optimums. Table XI shows 12
that savings in drilling an 8,500-ft interval were ap-
proximately 15 per cent for two first-round optimum 13
wells in 1966 and about 8 per cent for the two second-
round optimum wells drilled in 1967. To show the ad-
vantage, a third well was bid and drilled in 1967 with- 14
out benefit of an optimized drilling program. Because
of drilling experience gained in the field, the contrac- 15
tor drilled more efficiently than before optimization,
but performed at about the 1966 level. As this was one
of the more progressive contra.ctors in this area, it 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
seems valid to assume that he would have improved ROTATING HOURS
his drilling efficiency by at least 8 per cent by using Figl£Te lO.-Optimized Dl~illing Results - First- and
the optimized drilling program as a guide. Secolld~Rollnd

Technology, October-December, 1969, Montreal 145

The data presented in Figure 10 show that a 10,759- were greater in the first round. The reasons why sav-
ft interval (WeU A) waa drilled at a coat of $7.41/ft, ings Yary are complex, but basicall)' the success of op-
as compared to $8.01/ft for 9.508 ft in the control welL timized drilling programs depends on the quality of
Savings were 7.5 per cent. The drilling data obtained the control data used in the planning stage. the con-
on ,~rell A were analyzed and used to prepare an im- fidence which people implementin~!:" the programs have
proved drilling program for Wrell B. Results shm\' that in the pl·inciplcs being applied and the efficiency with
drilling costs for a 10,825~ft interval in 'Veil B aver- which the programs are applied. Another important
aged $6.57/ft. or a savings of 11.3 per cent as com- factor invoh·es unexpected hole problems, which often
pared to '"VeIl A. In this case, second-round optimiza- make optimum techniques inoperable.
tion resulted in even greater savings than first-round
optimization, whereas in the preyiolls example, savings REFERENCES
(1) National Petroleum Cuuncil Study, "l mp !ld uf New
Technology on the U,S. Petrol~um IndustL·y,'· H14fJ-
(2) Lummus, J. L.. and Field, L J., "Non-Dispersed Mud:
OPTIMIZED DRILLING RESULTS- A New Drilling Concept," Pctrolelflll E',IUI1U'cr. Murch,
(3) Knowlton, Jack, "U~e of Simple Code on Bit Wenr
(Optimizei Inten'al - 8,500 ft) Urged." Dri/lillg ConlrucfOl', October, 1961, p. 68, luter
amended - Dn'llillg COl!tractfJl', April, 1HG4, p, (i7,
---------_._---.-._------- (4) Galle, E. i'rL and Woods, H. B., "Variable WeiJrht.
Net JlIud and Rotary Speed fOl· Lowest Drilling CO:'its," AllIlUal
Days Bits Cost Meeting AAODC, :"-lew Ol'leans, Louisiana, l!lljQ.
(5) Gallc, E. 3-1., and Woods, H. B., "Best Con~ttlllt
Fastest 'Veil Prior to Weight and Rotar)' Speed for Rotary Rock Bits,"
"Optimum Program", . 23-1/2 27 $10.000 Hu~he.s Tool Company, Spl·in~~ ::\'Iceting uf Pllcific
Coast District Division of PI'oduction, API, Los
2 Wells ·'Optimized" July 1966; AngeJes. Califomia. l\'Ia)' :H, HH.i:3.
Saved $l1,700/Well (15%) 18·:1/-1 22-1/2 S 7,100 (6) Billington, S. A., and Ble.nkam. K. A., "ConstLlllt
Rotary Speeds and Variable 'Veight for Reducing
2 Wells "Optimized" July 1967; Dl·illing CO:5ts," API Paper 851~3fj-G, SIn'inl-:" Meeting,
Saved 35,600/Well (8~~) I4·1/~ 11 S 4.900 iHid-Continent Division of Production, Oklaholn[l
City. Oklahoma, 1962_
Well Drilled in July 1967 (Op- (7) Field. L. J_, "Low Solids .:\on-Di:;.per.::.ed Mud Usa~e
timum Pro~ram Not Tfsed)., .. 18 19-1/~ S 7,00n in Western Canada," Spl"ing' Meeting' of the Roclty
"}[ountain Distric.t, Alberta. Canada, May, l!)liS,


Background Papers for Study of Solid-Earth SciEmces

logical provinces have been prepared in con-
junction with the Science Council's Special Atlantic Continental Margin
Stud)' of Solid-Earth Sciences in Canada. The Arctic Islands
l\fany areas of oil-company interest are co\'- Pacific Continental Margin
ered, particularly offshore, and the papers Western Cordillera
would therefore be a welcome addition to Eastern and Northern Cordillera
the technical literature for an)' petroleum
geologist or engineer. These papers are being
published in the January and February is-
Northern Great Plains
Single copies of the CIM BULLETIN are Southern Interior Plains
available, and reprints of the papers will be Superior Province
made available after publication of the com-
plete series. For information, contact the Grenville Province
CIM BULLETIN editorial office. Appalachian Province

906-1117 Ste. Catherine St. W.,
Montreal 110, P.Q.

146 The Journal of Canadian Petroleum