It is not easy to obtain an optimal hole cleaning for the drilling operation because of the complicated relationship between the drilling parameters influencing hole cleaning. The two viscosity components (e.g. plastic viscosity (PV) and yield point (YP)) and the flow rate (Q) are essential parameters for effective hole cleaning. Thus, understanding the relationship between those parameters will contribute to efficient hole cleaning. The aim of this paper is to explore those relationships to provide optimal hole cleaning.

Descriptive data analytics was conducted for data of more than 2000 wells drilled in Southern Iraq. The data were first cleansed and outliers were removed using visual inspection and box plots. The Pearson correlation (PC), a widely used method to measure the linear relationship between two parameters, was utilized to access the relationships between PV and Q, YP and Q, and YP/PV and Q. Moreover, a 10% sensitivity analysis was escorted to quantify and comprehend those relationships.

The PCs were calculated to be 0.5, 0.076, and 0.22 for the relationships between YP, PV, and YP/PV with Q, respectively. YP had the highest direct relationship with Q, while PV had the lowest. When the YP increases, a sufficient Q has to be provided to initiate the flow and maintain the mud cycle. In addition, to prevent large solid particles from settling due to the slip velocity, sufficient annular and particle velocities have to be achieved. After initiating the flow, an increase in flow rate to overcome resistance due to PV will not be significant. Therefore, YP has more effect on Q than PV. To maximize hole cleaning, thickening ratio (YP/PV) should be increased. This requires an increase in flow rate, which can be quantified by using the sensitivity analysis provided to achieve the required Q for any increase in YP/PV.

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