Technology Focus: Drilling Technology (February 2010)
- Stephane Menand (Mines ParisTech)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2010
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 40 - 40
- 2010. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Many discussions have taken place recently about the excessive nonproductive time (NPT) incurred in the drilling industry today and about the use of cutting-edge technology. From these discussions, it is believed that the drilling industry relies much more on cutting-edge technology than optimized-drilling practice to address downhole problems. Indeed, too many failures or dysfunctions still happen and are unexplained, even in supposedly simple wells, because of the lack of knowledge of what is happening downhole. Without having identified and understood the real cause of a given problem, one solution is to use a new technology that may overcome the problem without curing it. For economic reasons, cutting-edge technology often is used in complex and high-cost-environment drilling operations. For example, high-end rotary-steerable systems combined with downhole vibration measurements transmitted at high-speed along wired pipes enable achieving very complex and accurate drilling trajectories in geosteering. However, this accuracy is achieved as a result of the measurements but without necessarily understanding the drilling fundamentals and the physical phenomena involved. This method is a costly trial-and-error procedure. Indeed, in this complex-drilling operation, drillstring mechanics and hydraulics are very complicated, and physical models sometimes fail to predict and reproduce the actual drilling process. The solution to reduce NPT could be to use instrumentation and new technology in allegedly simple or basic wells to:
- Understand the new-technology function and performance
- Validate the physical models (mechanics and hydraulics)
- Improve fundamental drilling practices
Even though this high-end technology used in low-cost environments sounds contradictory, it should clarify our understanding of what is happening downhole to improve the overall drilling efficiency. Once fundamental drilling mechanics and processes are completely understood, one can go further in complex-drilling operations with the same technology and validated models. And as the proverb says, “Don’t put the cart before the horse!”
Drilling Technology additional reading available at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org
SPE 124142 • “Comprehensive Drilling Model Analyzes BHT Parameters” by A.W. Iyoho, SPE, Shell, et al.
SPE 123374 • “Statistical Method for Detection of Poor Hole Cleaning and Stuck Pipe” by Thor O. Gulsrud, SINTEF Petroleum Research, et al.
SPE 124631 • “Advanced Automatic Control for Dual-Gradient Drilling” by Øyvind Breyholtz, International Research Institute of Stavanger, et al.
SPE 121752 • “Modeling the Effect of a Downhole Vibrator” by Ken Newman, NOV CTES, et al.
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