Bottom Scavenging-A Major Factor Governing Penetration Rates at Depth
- N.H. Van Lingen (Koninklijke/Shell Laboratorium)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 187 - 196
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.5 Drill Bits, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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A laboratory study has been made to determine what factors affect the penetration rate of roller bits, diamond bits and drag bits in rock drilling with clay/water muds. The rather simple relations that exist when pressures in and around the borehole are equal become more complicated when under down-hole conditions the penetration rate is hampered by the existence of a pressure differential between the mud at the hole bottom and the pore liquid at cutting depth. Expressions that have been derived for both the penetration rate and the magnitude of the pressure differential in permeable rock together fully account for operating, rock, mud and bit variables. In impermeable rock a similar pressure differential is caused by the bit action itself. In all cases, the pressure differential and the reduction in penetration rate increase with the effectiveness of the plastering at the bottom of the hole by mud particles. Where bits are employed whose action is largely that of crushing, however, the plastering may become even in ore effective owing to the addition of rock particles rubbed into the pores of the rock. With roller bits, a plastically behaving layer may be formed, which causes a further reduction in penetration. In the case of bits whose action is chiefly scraping, moreover, penetration may be arrested by the bit's becoming balled-up. The various adverse effects are reduced by thorough scavenging of the hole bottom. This paper shows how with jet bits the efficiency of such scavenging may be improved by suitable choice of the position of the nozzles.
The reduction in a bit's penetration rate with increasing depth of hole has been the subject of many investigations. Various investigators have independently reached the conclusion that this reduction occurs not so much because the rock-breaking process becomes more difficult as it does because the lifting of the rock fragments is impaired by a fluid pressure differential holding the fragments down. When such a pressure differential can be avoided, as in air drilling and to a smaller extent in water drilling, penetration rates remain high. Although the range of applicability of these techniques is being extended, most oil wells still have to be drilled with mud. In this paper we present the results of laboratory experiments carried out to determine what factors govern the hold down effect encountered in mud drilling. In the course of this investigation, the well known importance of bottom scavenging came more and more into prominence. Not only may it reduce the magnitude of the hold-down forces, but also it appeared to be a means of preventing the accumulation of a plastic mass of cuttings and mud on the hole bottom and bit which may cause penetration to cease almost completely. So that the effects of fluid pressures may be more readily understood, the factors that govern penetration rate in the absence of these pressures will first be discussed. The effect of down-hole pressures will then be assessed for the case of permeable rock where fluid pressures are well defined, and it will be demonstrated how rock strengthening due to confining can be accounted for. Subsequently, fluid pressures in less- permeable rock will be examined; we will show that in impermeable rock it is the bit action that governs fluid-pressure distribution and hold-down. In the case of poor scavenging and/or high bit load, cutting cake manifests itself. The effect, like various others, appears to depend on the type of bit used. From the very beginning, therefore, we shall base our discussion on the three main types of bits used in rotary oil-well drilling--roller bits, diamond bits and drag bits. Since space is limited, it will be impossible to make more than a passing reference to many aspects of the problem. Moreover, certain relations that are not of primary importance to our argument will unavoidably have to be stated in a somewhat dogmatic fashion, and the experimental data on which these are based necessarily must be omitted.
The drilling experiments were performed on three machines, of which one has been designed for the realistic simulation of down-hole pressure conditions.
In this machine (diagramed in Fig. 1) the mud, pore and confining pressures can all be adjusted independently. The foil-covered rock sample contained in the inner pressure vessel is confined by oil that is pressurized by means of a hand pump. The pore space of the water-saturated sample is connected to an arrangement which keeps the pressure in the pore space constant regardless of the rate of filtrate flow through the sample.
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