Executive Summary

Robert Mitchell, Halliburton Company

Then and Now

A few months ago, I moved to a new office. As preparation for the move, Ihad to go through all the accumulated junk from my years in that office (havinglearned from this experience, I recommend you fully back up your computerbefore you unplug it!). In this huge pile of material, I found the first issueof SPE Drilling Engineering, February 1986, along with two other issuesfrom the first year of publication. Considering how central drilling is to ourindustry, it seems curious that we did not get a journal until 1986! Well,considering that we didn’t rate inclusion in the SPE Petroleum EngineeringHandbook until 2006, I guess I should not have been surprised.

So how does the first issue of SPE Drilling Engineering compare totoday’s SPE Drilling & Completion? In the first year of publication,SPE Drilling Engineering was published six times a year, with abouteight papers per issue, for a total of 484 pages for the year 1986. Currently,SPE Drilling & Completion is published four times a year, and, forexample, the March 2009 issue had 20 papers for a total of 216 pages. Soroughly speaking, we now publish about twice as many papers, though a mix ofdrilling and completion, and about twice the total page count. Looking over thelists of authors, I see a lot of familiar names, which is not surprising as Iam a contemporary. What is pleasing is how many of us are still activelycontributing to drilling technology and still publishing in this journal.

What is somewhat intimidating is the work of the first Executive Editor, thevery distinguished Keith Millheim. In my executive summaries, I try to brieflytell you what the paper is about, so you can read it if it piques yourinterest. Dr. Millheim wrote a review of each paper, offering praise orcriticism, as appropriate. He seems to know each author and their workpersonally. Thank you, Dr. Millheim, for the very flattering review you gave mypaper. In that first issue, he wrote six pages of commentary. And he found timeto do this six times a year! There were truly giants in those days.

This month there are eleven drilling papers and three completion papers fora total fourteen papers.

Drilling Papers

Formation Damage Caused by Emulsions During Drilling With EmulsifiedDrilling Fluids. The formation damage mechanisms for emulsion-baseddrilling fluids, and the conditions under which each mechanism may dominate,were tested for two types of emulsified drilling fluids, one with mineral-basedoil and one with synthetic-based oil. Critical Conditions for EffectiveSand-Sized-Solids Transport in Horizontal and High-Angle Wells. Amechanistic model, which predicts bed erosion for sand-sized solids ineccentric annuli with non-Newtonian flow, has proved to give good agreementwith extensive experimental test results. Olefin-BasedSynthetic-Drilling-Fluids Volumetric Behavior Under Downhole Conditions.Volumetric properties of synthetic-based oils are more sensitive to pressureand temperature conditions than water, brine solutions, mineral oil, or dieseloil, suggesting that equivalent-circulating-distance calculations must be donewith care for these fluids. The First Dual-Lateral Well Successfully DrilledUnderbalanced in Libya. Underbalanced drilling technology solved problemsof formation damage, lost circulation, and poor penetration rates in twohorizontal legs of the B-24 well. Experimental and Numerical Investigationsof Borehole Ballooning in Rough Fractures. Borehole ballooning/breathing isa combined mud-loss/-gain event observed during drilling operations innaturally fractured formations. Experiments and numerical-model studiesestablished the importance of fracture roughness and identified situationswhere the degree of roughness becomes critical. Measurement and Analysis ofInduced Torsion in Helically Buckled Tubing. A theoretical analysis thatpredicted shear force and twisting moment in a helically buckled pipe wasverified by experimental tests. The potential impact of induced torsion can beimportant for some practical drilling and completion operations where bucklingloads are high and radial clearances are large. Buckling of Tubulars inSimulated Field Conditions. An advanced drillstring-mechanics model ispresented and used to predict the onset of buckling in simulated fieldconditions, including the effects of rotation and friction. IntegrityAssessment of Well Barriers Threatened by Increasing Casing-Hanger Loads.Important casing-hanger loads are described including those operational andgeological factors that make the casing-hanger load reach abnormal values.Gauge, Cutting Structure, Torque Control Components--What Really Counts forOptimal Tool Face Control With FC Drill Bits? This paper uses acomprehensive series of laboratory tests to determine the key designrequirements to deliver a smooth torque response and improved directionalperformance. Implementation of a Shock and Vibration Mitigation Process:Achieving Real-Time Solutions and Savings. The high cost of damage fromshock and vibration is felt to justify an integrated-mitigation program. Thispaper describes predrill planning, bottomhole-assembly design, and real-timemonitoring as elements of this program. A Compendium of DirectionalCalculations Based on the Minimum-Curvature Method--Part 2: Extension toSteering and Landing Applications. The minimum-curvature method is theindustry standard for wellbore-trajectory description. This paper builds onearlier work and contains complete details of twelve explicit algorithms,including the calculation of a target based on the tool face at the start orend of an arc and for the landing of a well path parallel to a formationbedding plane.

Completion Papers

Increasing Production by Maximizing Underbalance During Perforation UsingNontraditional Lightweight Completion Fluid. Pulverized rock grain is theprimary cause of wellbore damage in perforations, so providing underbalanceduring the perforating process could help minimize this damage by inducing flowback into the wellbore for cleanup. This paper reports on the formulation ofsuperlight completion fluids where laboratory tests show that density values aslow as 5.0 lbm/gal could be achieved. Analysis of Casing-Shift Problems inCompacting Reservoirs. Casing-shift problems are thought to be one of thecauses of production decline. This paper addresses how the bonding of casingand formation breaks under confining stresses, how a casing slides after thebonding breaks, the magnitude of shear force required to induce casing shift,and the magnitudes of casing shift for typical reservoir conditions."Don't Let the Temperature Log Fool You"--False Indications ofHeight Containment From Case Studies in a Tectonically StressedEnvironment. This paper describes, through case studies, the uniqueproblems of evaluating fracture height in tectonically stressed formations.Furthermore, it shows that while both temperature and tracer logs may add valueto evaluating fracture effectiveness, their results should be validated by athorough pressure analysis of the injection data for validity.