Summary

On the basis of the wellbore and reservoir heat-transfer process during deepwater drilling, a heat-transfer model between wellbore and formation is built up for two different conditions: without riser and with riser. Wellbore and formation temperature distributions under different drilling-fluid-injection temperatures, flow rates, circulating times, and drilling depths are simulated by use of this model. Taking the hydrate-phase equilibrium into consideration, a possible region of hydrate-formation dissociation is analyzed, and effective methods are proposed to control the hydrate dissociation. The results indicate that, during shallow formation drilling, the increase of drilling-fluid flow rate will cause the wellbore temperature to rise, but below the hydrate-dissociation temperature in the whole process; during deep-formation drilling, drilling fluid is heated, and the heat is transferred from the deeper formation to the shallower formation through fluid circulation. Thus, the hydrate-reservoir temperature increases gradually along the wellbore radial direction. Hydrates will dissociate after the hydrate equilibrium temperature is reached; this may cause wellbore collapse or methane leak from the reservoir and result in disaster. To control hydrate dissociation during deepwater drilling, attention should be paid to the period of deep-formation drilling. Sensitivity studies indicate that the risk of hydrate dissociation rises as the drilling-fluid-injection temperature, flow rate, and circulating time increase.

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