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Research Papers

Hydraulics of Drilling With Aerated Muds Under Simulated Borehole Conditions

[+] Author and Article Information
L. Zhou, R. M. Ahmed, S. Z. Miska, N. E. Takach, M. Yu

 University of Tulsa, North Campus, Tulsa, OK 74110

A. Saasen1

 StatoilHydro ASA, Stavanger, N-4035 Norway

1

Present address: University of Stavanger, Norway.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 132(1), 011002 (Mar 26, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001133 History: Received March 19, 2008; Revised April 14, 2009; Published March 26, 2010; Online March 26, 2010

Maintaining optimum circulation rates is important in aerated mud drilling operations. However, reliable predictions of the optimum rates require accurate modeling of the frictional pressure loss at bottom-hole conditions. This paper presents a mechanistic model for underbalanced drilling with aerated muds. Extensive experiments in a unique field-scale high pressure and high temperature flow loop were performed to verify the predictions of the model. This flow loop has a 150×89mm2(6×3.5) horizontal annular geometry and is 22 m long. In the experiments, cuttings were introduced at a rate of 7.5 kg/min, representing a penetration rate of 15 m/h in the annular test section. The liquid phase flow rates were in the range of 0.300.57m3/min, representing superficial liquid velocities in the range of 0.47–0.90 m/s. The gas liquid ratio (gas volume fraction under in situ condition) was varied from 0.0 to 0.38. Test pressures and temperatures ranged from 1.28 to 3.45 MPa, and 27°C to 80°C, respectively. Gas liquid ratios were chosen to simulate practical gas liquid ratios under downhole conditions. For all the test runs, pressure drop and cuttings bed height over the entire annular section were measured. Flow patterns were identified by visual observations through a view port. The hydraulic model determines the flow pattern and predicts frictional pressure losses in a horizontal concentric annulus. The influences of the gas liquid ratio and other flow parameters on the frictional pressure loss are analyzed using this model. Comparisons between the model predictions and experimental measurements show a satisfactory agreement. The present model is useful for the design of underbalanced drilling applications in a horizontal wellbore.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

A simplified schematic drawing of the flow loop

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Figure 2

Test facility showing separation tower (right) and injection tower (left)

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Figure 3

Test section of the flow loop showing the experimental setup

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Figure 4

Schematic of flow of aerated muds with cuttings

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Figure 5

Stratified aerated mud flow configurations with stationary cuttings bed

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Figure 6

Simplified slug flow configurations

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Figure 7

Measured pressure drop versus elapsed time

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Figure 10

Measured and predicted differential pressure versus GLR for test group No. 2 (QL=0.38 m3/min, T=27°C, P=1.28 MPa)

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Figure 11

Measured and predicted differential pressure versus GLR for test group No. 2 (QL=0.45 m3/min, T=27°C, P=1.28 MPa)

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Figure 12

Measured and predicted differential pressure versus GLR for test group No. 3 (QL=0.38 m3/min, T=77°C, P=1.52 MPa)

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Figure 13

Measured and predicted differential pressure versus GLR for test group No. 3 (QL=0.45 m3/min, T=77°C, P=1.52 MPa)

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Figure 14

Measured and predicted differential pressure versus GLR for test group No. 4 (QL=0.38 m3/min, T=80°C, P=3.45 MPa)

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Figure 15

Measured and predicted differential pressure versus GLR for test group No. 4 (QL=0.45 m3/min, T=80°C, P=3.45 MPa)

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Figure 8

Measured differential pressure versus GLR for test group No. 1 (T=49°C, P=1.38 MPa)

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Figure 9

Measured differential pressure versus liquid flow rate for test group No. 1 (T=49°C, P=1.38 MPa)

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