Simulation Study on Influences of Wellbore Tortuosity on Hole Cleaning in Extended-Reach Drilling
- Shigemi Naganawa (University of Tokyo) | Hiroyasu Kudo (INPEX) | Hitoshi Matsubuchi (JODCO/INPEX)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- December 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 277 - 289
- 2017.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- hole cleaning, numerical simulation, extended-reach drilling, wellbore tortuosity
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 449 since 2007
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Wellbore tortuosity or spiraling can lead to the trapping of a cuttings bed in a trough of a tortuous hole, thereby leading to poor hole cleaning in extended-reach drilling. The objectives of this study included quantitatively evaluating the influences of wellbore tortuosity on hole cleaning and cuttings-transport behavior in extended-reach drilling. In addition, the study provided a recommendation of effective drilling practices. The study involved performing hole-cleaning-optimization studies for an extended-reach well with a long horizontal section aiming for maximum reservoir contact, by use of a transient cuttings-transport simulator. The planned trajectory of the well was assumed to have a certain degree of wellbore tortuosity in the horizontal section. The pump rate and bottoms-up circulation operation were optimized on the basis of parameter studies and additional transient simulations by considering the effects of penetration rate and variation in cuttings size.
Simulation results indicated the formation of a considerably high cuttings bed, particularly in the downdip intervals (updip in mudflow direction) at an insufficient pump rate; one-third to one-half of the drillpipe diameter could be potentially buried in a cuttings-deposit bed, and this can result in a packed-off hole or stuck pipe. A higher rate of penetration (ROP) can also cause insufficient hole cleaning. In this case, controlled drilling that maintains a reasonably low penetration rate may be effective. Furthermore, borehole breakout may enlarge hole diameter and generate large-sized cuttings. Both of these can have negative impacts on hole cleaning, and, thus, borehole stability and smooth wellbore-trajectory controls should be carefully considered. To clean these holes, frequent bottoms-up circulations were effective at each stand of drilling even if the optimization of other drilling parameters was limited. The findings also revealed that accumulated cuttings in a tortuous wellbore were trapped in the trough of the hole, and that the bed height of locally trapped cuttings in the downdip intervals could be much higher than that indicated by previous studies.
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