Lost circulation is a complicated problem to be predicted with conventional statistical tools. As the drilling environment is getting more complicated nowadays, more advanced techniques such as artificial neural networks (ANNs) are required to help to estimate mud losses prior to drilling. The aim of this work is to estimate mud losses for induced fractures formations prior to drilling to assist the drilling personnel in preparing remedies for this problem prior to entering the losses zone. Once the severity of losses is known, the key drilling parameters can be adjusted to avoid or at least mitigate losses as a proactive approach.
Lost circulation data were extracted from over 1500 wells drilled worldwide. The data were divided into three sets; training, validation, and testing datasets. 60% of the data are used for training, 20% for validation, and 20% for testing. Any ANN consists of the following layers, the input layer, hidden layer(s), and the output layer. A determination of the optimum number of hidden layers and the number of neurons in each hidden layer is required to have the best estimation, this is done using the mean square of error (MSE). A supervised ANNs was created for induced fractures formations. A decision was made to have one hidden layer in the network with ten neurons in the hidden layer. Since there are many training algorithms to choose from, it was necessary to choose the best algorithm for this specific data set. Ten different training algorithms were tested, the Levenberg-Marquardt (LM) algorithm was chosen since it gave the lowest MSE and it had the highest R-squared. The final results showed that the supervised ANN has the ability to predict lost circulation with an overall R-squared of 0.925 for induced fractures formations. This is a very good estimation that will help the drilling personnel prepare remedies before entering the losses zone as well as adjusting the key drilling parameters to avoid or at least mitigate losses as a proactive approach. This ANN can be used globally for any induced fractures formations that are suffering from the lost circulation problem to estimate mud losses.
As the demand for energy increases, the drilling process is becoming more challenging. Thus, more advanced tools such as ANNs are required to better tackle these problems. The ANN built in this paper can be adapted to commercial software that predicts lost circulation for any induced fractures formations globally.