In drilling operations, attention generally is given to hole angles rather than to changes of angle, in spite of the fact that the latter are responsible for drilling and production troubles. The paper presents means for specifying maximum permissible changes of hole angle to insure a trouble-free hole, using a minimum amount of surveys. It is expected that the paper will result in a decrease of drilling costs, not only by avoiding troubles, but also by removing the fear of such troubles.
Excessive dog-legs result in such troubles as fatigue failures of drill pipe, fatigue failures of drill-collar connections, worn tool joints and drill pipe, key seats, grooved casing, etc. Most of these detrimental effects greatly increase with the amount of tension to which drill pipe is subjected in the dog-leg. Therefore, the closer a dog-leg is to the total anticipated depth, the greater becomes its acceptable severity.
Very large collar-to-hole clearances will cause fatigue of drill-collar connections and shorten their life, even in very mild dog-legs. Another finding regarding fatiguing of collar connections in dog-legs is that rotating with the bit off bottom sometimes may be worse than drilling with the full weight of drill collars on the bit, mainly in highly inclined holes when the inclination decreases with depth in the dog-leg.
Means are given for specifying maximum dog-legs compatible with trouble-free holes. An inexpensive technique proposed is to take inclinometer or directional surveys far apart; then, if an excessive dog-leg is detected in some interval, intermediate close-spaced surveys are run in this interval.
The application of the findings should result in a decrease of drilling costs, not only by avoiding troubles, but mainly by removing the fear of such troubles. The result would be much more frequent drilling with heavy weights on bit, regardless of hole deviation.