Drilling engineers frequently make expensive misjudgment due to improper prediction and control of pressure along the wellbore. The flow of fluid in the wellbore is complicated not only by contraction and expansion through tool joints, but also by the effect of pipe rotation.

Field data has proved the excessive pressure drop through tool joint. Extensive experimental and theoretical studies have been conducted to study the effects of tool joint and pipe rotation on pressure loss along the drillstring. However, there is a discrepancy between published studies about the effect of pipe rotation on pressure drop in pipe and annular flow. For Newtonian fluids, it is well known that pipe rotation does not affect the pressure drop. Nevertheless, for non-Newtonian drilling fluids, several experimental works reported the reduction of pressure loss; while other works reported the increase in pressure loss.

In this study, the flow of drilling fluid through contraction and divergence across the tool joint is investigated using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software package. Different pipe rotation speeds are used to simulate the flow of an incompressible Yield Power Law fluid in both pipe and concentric and eccentric annuli. The velocity and pressure profiles are analyzed and compared to emphasize the effect of tool joint and pipe rotation on pressure loss. The results show that pressure drop through tool joints is significant. Pipe rotation has small effect on pressure drop at low velocity, and different effects on pressure drop at higher velocity. Positive and negative effects depend strongly on flow geometry and flow velocity.

The results of this study provide valuable information about the flow of drilling fluids through tool joints and along the wellbore. These give useful insight into the effect of pipe rotation and tool joint on pressure drop. Accurate calculation of pressure drop along the wellbore with pipe rotation is highly important in hydraulic program, optimization and well control, especially for deepwater wells.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.