Cuttings Transport With Aqueous Foam at Intermediate-Inclined Wells
- Jesus Capo (Chevron Corp.) | Mengjiao Yu (U. of Tulsa) | Stefan Z. Miska (U. of Tulsa) | Nicholas E. Takach (U. of Tulsa) | Ramadan M. Ahmed (U. of Tulsa)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- June 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 99 - 107
- 2006. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.3.4 Scale, 2.1.7 Deepwater Completions Design, 5.5.1 Simulator Development, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 1.7.1 Underbalanced Drilling, 2 Well Completion, 1.7.7 Cuttings Transport, 1.8 Formation Damage, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 2.7.1 Completion Fluids
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An experimental study of cuttings transport with foam at intermediate angles has been conducted in a full-scale low-pressure ambient-temperature (LPAT) flow loop at the U. of Tulsa. An anionic surfactant was used in these water-based foam tests at a concentration of 1 vol%. Air was used as the dispersed fluid. Tests were conducted to obtain flow curves for foams with 70 and 80% qualities in 2-, 3-, and 4-in. pipes. A simulator was developed to predict pressure, flow velocity, specific volume-expansion ratio, and foam quality along the wellbore, on the basis of the volume-equalized power-law model.
Tests were conducted to determine the effects of inclination angle, foam quality, foam velocity, and rate of penetration (ROP) on cuttings transport. Results from this study show that the in-situ cuttings concentration ranged, according to the inclination angles, from 4.8 to 14.6% for 45°, 14.3 to 22.3% for 55°, and 8.5 to 25.7% for 65°. It is shown in this study that the transport of cuttings (in terms of cuttings concentration) has a better performance with foams of low quality. For a given inclination angle and similar foam-flow conditions, increasing the ROP from 20 to 44 ft/hr can lead to an increase in the in-situ cuttings concentration of up to 7%.
A new correlation for the ratio of the cuttings-bed area to the cross-sectional area of the annulus as a function of dimensionless numbers (Ar, NRe, Fr, Ss, and q) was developed and allows for potential practical applicaitons. The differences between the calculated and measured values are within the range of ±17%.
Foam has a variety of applications in the oil and gas industry. Particularly, foam can be used as a lightweight drilling fluid in underbalanced-drilling applications. Drilling with foam has been shown to provide significant benefits, including increased drilling rate, minimization of lost circulation, reduction of differential pipe sticking, and reduced formation damage. Foam also has potential applications in deepwater drilling operations.
The rheological behavior of foams plays a key role in determining the efficiency of cuttings transport in drilling operations. Although great efforts have been made (Wise 1951; Raza and Marsden 1967; David and Marsden 1969; Mitchell 1971; Krug and Mitchell 1972; Beyer et al. 1972; Blauer et al. 1974; Wendorff and Ainley 1981; Sanghani and Ikoku 1983; Burley and Shakarin 1992) to model the rheological properties of foams, there is an apparent disagreement among investigators in selecting the best model for describing the flow behavior of foam. Because of the complexity of foams, the resulting models frequently contain parameters that are difficult or impossible to measure and, hence, of limited applicability.
Valko and Economides (1992) introduced the "Volume-Equalized Principle?? based on the concept of constant friction factor [Reynolds number (NRe)] along the flowline. In practice, the principle states that all shear-stress/shear-rate data points obtained from isothermal experiments under different geometries and qualities (because of different volumetric inlet gas/liquid ratios or quality changes along a pipe) lie on a single curve if both the shear stresses and shear rates are volume equalized.
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