Abstract

The process of drilling a borehole is very complex, involving surface and downhole drilling systems, which interact with the drilling fluid and the surrounding rocks. Modeling and simulating every aspect of the drilling process and drilling system is still considered too complex to be realized. However, many areas of modeling and simulation are currently undergoing very aggressive development. These areas include rig systems, downhole dynamics, rock-bit interaction, drilling/formation fluid, and the Earth model. High-fidelity models in these well-defined areas have demonstrated some success. Lately, drilling modelling and simulation has become one of the key factors for advancing drilling systems automation/control, intelligent managed pressure drilling and drilling optimization by understanding and/or predicting downhole dynamics.

Modeling the magnitude and spatiotemporal distribution of uncertainty in the actual drilling process poses serious challenges in constructing high-fidelity models of the entire drilling system. However, the advancement of technology may dramatically improve the future of such an attempt to accurately model and simulate the whole drilling process.

The topics presented in this paper include the current state of drilling process simulation software and simulators, the challenges of modelling drilling systems for automation and control, adaptive simulations for downhole drilling systems and the operator's perspective on drilling modelling. This paper examines the current state of drilling modelling and simulation and identifies its future goals.

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