Buckling and Lockup of Tubulars in Inclined Wellbores

[+] Author and Article Information
J. Wu

Maurer Engineering Inc., Houston, TX 77018-7098

H. C. Juvkam-Wold

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3116

J. Energy Resour. Technol 117(3), 208-213 (Sep 01, 1995) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2835342 History: Received August 20, 1993; Revised March 01, 1995; Online January 22, 2008


This paper studies sinusoidal and helical buckling of tubulars in inclined wellbores and the “lockup” of tubulars due to buckling. The results show that tubular buckling starts from the tubular bottom in low-inclination wellbores, where the axial compressive load is largest due to tubular weight. In high-inclination wellbores it may start from the top portion of the tubular, where the axial compressive load is largest due to frictional drag. This clarifies the confusion on whether or not the tubular buckles at once on its entire length in inclined wellbores. New sinusoidal and helical buckling load equations are presented to better predict tubular buckling in inclined wellbores (0–90 deg). The lower the wellbore inclination angle, the smaller the axial compressive load required to initiate tubular buckling. However, a certain nonzero axial compressive load is still needed to buckle the tubulars in vertical wellbores. When tubulars buckle helically, a large wall contact force will be generated, and the “slack-off” weight at the surface will not be fully transmitted to the tubular bottom due to large resultant frictional drag. The “lockup” of tubulars may even occur, where the tubular bottom load cannot be increased by slacking-off weight at the surface.

Copyright © 1995 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Buckling
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