Face Time with New Graduates

On August 22, 2018, I was honored to participate in the BP/CAPA 2018 Career Development Forum organized by the BP Asian Network (BPAN) and Chinese American Petroleum Association (CAPA). The theme was the challenges and opportunities in the digitalization revolution.

Gefei Liu, president of PVI, participated in the 2018 Career Development Forum in Houston, organized by BP Asian Network (BPAN) and CAPA

My first time as a panelist turned out to be a very good experience. I was encouraged by the CAPA organizers and co-panelists, especially the attendees, some old friends, mostly fresh graduates and students. The message I passed to the audience can be summarized into three points:

  • You are always your own CEO, no matter if you work for someone or have a business of your own. Give your best, and go all in. Nobody regrets giving his or her best.
  • Think big and start small as illustrated by the old Chinese saying, “A journey of thousand miles starts with the first step.”
  • A little kindness goes a long way. Being kind will help you succeed in the workplace, your business and life. “People will forget what you said and what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Despite the lingering heatwaves in Houston, this forum was like fresh breeze in the air. I felt that it was a special day, because I had meaningful interactions with old and new friends. After all, life is about inspiring and being inspired.

Small Business, Bit Impact.

“I know you always want to have an MBA degree.” My brother called me from Kentucky in August. “There is this program specially designed for small business owners like you. Try it. It is free if admitted.”

This 10-minute conversation with my dear brother caused me a 4-month commitment to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program this fall. After an on-line application, an on-site interview and one week of Hurricane Harvey, I was admitted to this program (Houston site) in the middle of September 2017.

We have 20 scholars, as called by the organizer, in this session. The purpose of the program is to teach busy businessmen to grow their business. Unlike degreed programs, which are costly, length and faculty-focused, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program is a gift, fast paced and peer-focused. It is not only free, but they also provide breakfast and lunch. My classmates are all business owners, but I am the only one in petroleum engineering area. I guess that this does not matter, as all business share the similar process.

One day, a lady instructor showed us a slide loaded with the information of US firms. To my surprise, there are nearly 30 million companies in US. She continued to the next slide showing the number of employees of these companies. It was even more shocking: among those 29+ million companies in US, more than 80% are no-employee firms. Ever wonder how many US firms hiring more than 500 people? The answer is 18,219. So, for those of you who are working for big companies, you should feel privileged, because only 0.06% of all the US companies hire more than 500 people.

However, if you are working for companies with only a few or a couple of hundred employees or you are running one of similar sizes, please do not be discouraged, because together, we are the largest employer in the US economy.

A few weeks into the program, I have been inspired by the creative way of their teaching. We paired up to do presentation and discuss. We used super-sized Post-It to brainstorm our ideas on new opportunities. We are encouraged to generate ideas for other business owners. I already got some ideas how to generate ideas within our company. Keep learning and keep practicing, I told myself.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program

Circulation Sub Series—4: Case Study Part II of II

3. Effect of Flow Rate

To study the sensitivity of flow rate on a circulation sub’s performance, 3 cases were chosen: one is without a circulation sub, and the other two have 1 (in2) and 2 (in2) of TFA, respectively. As we increase the flow rate from 1 to 10 (bpm), bypass ratios for both cases decrease. One might wonder why the bypass ratio decreases as flow rate increases. Does not the circulation sub play a bigger role in tougher conditions such as a high flow rate situation? Here is the reason behind the reverse change: the pressure drop across circulation sub nozzles (Path B) is proportional to the square of the flow rate, regardless of the rheological model. The frictional pressure loss along Path A is proportional to the flow rate to the power of 1.75 for Newtonian fluids in turbulent flow conditions. When the flow rate increases, it is relatively easier for fluid to flow along Path A than Path B. Therefore, at higher flow rates, the bypass ratio is smaller.

Figure 10: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Flow Rate

Figure 10: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Flow Rate

However, even with the slightly decreased bypass ratio at higher flow rate, the presence of a circulation sub greatly reduces pump pressure and bottom hole ECDs, as illustrated in Figure 11 and Figure 12. The benefits become more pronounced at higher flow rates. As noted before, the inclusion of a circulating sub makes a dramatic impact up to a certain TFA, in this case 1 square inch.

Figure11: Pump Pressure vs Flow Rate

Figure 11: Pump Pressure vs Flow Rate

Figure12: Bottom Hole ECD vs Flow Rate

Figure 12: Bottom Hole ECD vs Flow Rate

4. Effect of Viscosity

Since viscosity has a small impact on the analysis, the circulation sub’s nozzles have been changed to 2 x 10 (1/32in) for this portion of the analysis, which yields a TFA of 0.153 (in2) for our base case.

The flow split at a circulation sub is the result of flowing fluid seeking the path of least resistance and pressure balance. The frictional pressure loss along Path A is a function of fluid viscosity, density, flow rate and flow path geometry. If the flow is laminar, the pressure loss is proportional to the fluid viscosity for Newtonian fluid. The resistance of path B is dominated by the pressure drop across nozzles, where the viscous frictional effects are essentially negligible. As fluid viscosity increases, it is more difficult for fluid to flow through Path A. The bypass ratio will increase as illustrated by Figure 13. Both pump pressure and bottom hole ECD increase as fluid viscosity becomes higher. However, they would be much higher if no circulation sub is present.

Figure 13: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Fluid Viscosity

Figure 13: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Fluid Viscosity

Figure 14: Pump Pressure vs Fluid Viscosity

Figure 14: Pump Pressure vs Fluid Viscosity

Figure 15: Bottom Hole ECD vs Fluid Viscosity

Figure 15: Bottom Hole ECD vs Fluid Viscosity

5. Effect of Fluid Density

If the flow is turbulent, the pressure loss along Path A is proportional to the fluid density to the power of 0.75 for a Bingham plastic fluid. On the other hand, the pressure drop across Path B is proportional to the fluid density. As the fluid density increases, it is relatively more difficult for fluid to flow through Path B. The bypass ratio will decrease when fluid density increases as illustrated by Figure 16. The pump pressure increases as fluid density increases. The bottom hole ECD increases because both hydrostatic pressures and frictional pressure loses increase with greater fluid density.

Figure 16: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Fluid Density

Figure 16: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Fluid Density

Figure 17: Pump Pressure vs Fluid Density

Figure 17: Pump Pressure vs Fluid Density

Figure 18: Bottom Hole ECD vs Fluid Density

Figure 18: Bottom Hole ECD vs Fluid Density

The above case study is performed for a particular wellbore cleanup scenario. In order to have a better understanding of your particular case, it is recommended to use engineering software to take into account of well configurations and fluid properties to optimize circulation sub performance.

Circulation Sub Series—3: Case Study Part I of II

Case Study

Engineers may have some basic ideas on how to optimize the design parameters of a circulation sub to achieve their goals. For example, increasing the total flow area of a circulation sub will increase the bypass flow rate, reduce pump pressure, etc. This case study will quantify the impacts of various circulation sub parameters and fluid properties on pump pressure and ECD for a wellbore cleanup operation. We used a wellbore cleanup hydraulics software to perform this case study. Numerical methods are employed to obtain the correct flow split percentage at the location of the circulation sub. The flow split is obtained such that the summation of the frictional pressure losses inside the pipe below the circulation sub and in the annulus below the circulation sub should be equal to the pressure loss through the circulation sub nozzles.

Figure 2 shows the wellbore configuration used for the example calculation. This is the basic case, from which we will perform sensitivity studies on each of 5 parameters. Note that the flow rate is left blank because it is run at several values for all stages.

Figure2: Example Case

Figure2: Example Case

Figure3: Flow Paths

Figure3: Flow Paths

1. Effect of Total Flow Area (TFA)

Circulation sub’s adjustable nozzles enable you to define how the flow is split between the annulus and the pipe interiors. By adjusting the TFA of the circulation sub, you can control the amount of fluid that is diverted.

The flow split at a circulation sub is determined as the fluid chooses the path of least resistance. The rates of flow through the circulation sub and down the string are determined when these two flow paths reach a pressure balanced state. When fluid inside pipe travels to the circulation sub, it faces 2 choices. The first one is to flow downward through the pipe and up the annulus. Let us call this Flow Path A. The alternative path is sideways through the circulation sub’s nozzles. We will call this Flow Path B.

As illustrated by Figure 3, Flow Path A involves a long, but wide conduit, while Flow Path B is an array of short constrictions (nozzles).

The circulating fluid does not have a preference as which path to flow. When the fluid passes the circulation sub, it senses the resistances of both paths and chooses the split of fluid so that it yields an overall minimum resistance.

The frictional pressure loss, or flow resistance, along Path A is a function of fluid viscosity, density, flow rate, pipe ID, hole ID, pipe OD and flow path length. On the other hand, the resistance of Path B is dominated by the pressure drop across the nozzles, which is reversely proportional to the square of the TFA of those nozzles. As we increase the TFA of a circulation sub, it becomes much easier for fluid to flow through Path B. As a result, less fluid will flow through Path A and the frictional pressure losses in the lower pipe and annular sections will be reduced. Whatever the percentage of flow split, the pump pressure and ECD of the system are both reduced by the fluid bypass.

In our example, we increase the TFA from 0, representing a case of no circulation sub, to 2 (in2). Figure 4 shows increased fluid bypass ratios as the TFA increases for 3 flow rates, 2 (bpm), 4 (bpm) and 6 (bpm). The circulating sub bypass ratio is the percentage of flow exiting the string through the circulating sub nozzles, as opposed to the bit.

Figure4: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs TFA

Figure4: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs TFA

Accompanying these increased bypass ratios, both the pump pressure and bottom hole ECD reduce rapidly at beginning and more gradually later, as shown in Figure 5 and 6, respectively. The pump pressure is reduced by almost 80% when TFA is increased from 0 (in2) to 1 (in2) for a flow rate of 6 (bpm). Meanwhile, for the same flow rate, bottom hole ECD is reduced by 7.6%. Further increase of TFA from 1 (in2) to 2 (in2) yields only marginal reduction.

Figure5: Pump Pressure vs TFA

Figure5: Pump Pressure vs TFA

Figure6: Bottom Hole ECD vs TFA

Figure6: Bottom Hole ECD vs TFA

2. Effect of Circulation Sub Depth

The location of the circulation sub affects the overall downhole hydraulics. A circulation sub establishes a communication path between fluid inside the pipe and fluid in the annulus. The closer a circulation sub is to surface, the greater the fluid bypass ratio is, because Flow Path A is getting longer and creates a higher frictional pressure drop. Figure 7 shows the bypass ratios at various circulation sub locations along the wellbore. As expected, if we place the circulation sub at the bottom of the pipe, it would have no effect on pump pressure or bottom hole ECD.

Figure7: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Circulation Sub Depth

Figure7: Circulation Sub Bypass Ratio vs Circulation Sub Depth

To take advantage of its unique characteristic for wellbore cleanup operations, a circulation sub is often placed at the depth where the wellbore geometry changes, such as the previous casing shoe. By increasing the pump rate, the hole section below the circulation sub with a smaller annular clearance can maintain the required fluid velocity from the downward split flow. The velocity of the fluid in the larger OD annulus above the circulation sub will see both the flow rate traveling down the string and through the sub’s ports, increasing the annular velocity to closely match that in the narrow clearance hole below.

Greater reductions in both the pump pressure requirement and bottom hole ECD are achieved when a circulation sub is placed closer to surface, as seen in Figures 8 and 9. The pressure and ECD drops because less fluid is traveling through the narrower clearance section of the annulus.

Figure8: Pump Pressure vs Circulation Sub Depth

Figure8: Pump Pressure vs Circulation Sub Depth

Figure9: Bottom Hole ECD vs Circulation Sub Depth

Figure9: Bottom Hole ECD vs Circulation Sub Depth

Circulation Sub Series—2: Circulation Sub Uses in the Industry

How Do Circulation Subs Work?

A circulation sub is useful in many applications such as spotting remediation fluids, drilling, wellbore cleanup, subsea blow out preventer (BOP) jetting and surge pressure reduction.

  1. Spot Remediation Fluids

Loss of circulation occurs when drilling fluids flow into formations instead of returning up the annulus. It is one of the most time-consuming and cost inflating events in drilling operations. The effective solution is to deploy, or spot, lost-circulation material (LCM) into the formation. Due to LCM’s nature to plug holes in the formation, it is difficult to pump LCM through the bottom hole assembly (BHA) components with restricted flowpaths, such as bits, downhole motors and measurement while drilling (MWD) tools. To spot aggressive LCM, circulating subs are typically placed above the BHA and divert LCM to the annulus without causing damage to the motor or other tools below.

  1. Drilling

Cuttings removal and managing downhole pressure are two critical elements while drilling, particularly in deepwater and extended-reach conditions. In directional wells, rock cuttings fall to the low side of the wellbore. As cutting beds build up and annular cuttings concentration increases, the frictional pressure loss between the drillpipe and wellbore increases. This could lead to more torque and drag related problems such as buckling, stick slip, vibration, and lockup events.

Adequate annular velocity is required to transport cuttings to surface. However, because of the presence of mud motors, MWD tools, and other flow restricting components, it is often difficult to achieve annular velocities high enough to effectively transport cuttings without over spinning the motor. The narrow passage inside the BHA creates higher pressure losses, which could result in a high pump pressure requirement.

With pump rates hampered either by BHA restrictions or by equivalent circulating density (ECD) window considerations, a circulation sub, typically placed above the BHA, is often a convenient and simple solution. By bypassing the BHA and preventing motor overrun, a circulation sub can reduce wear on the motor and increase its reliability and operating hours. ‘Bottoms-up’ circulating time is greatly reduced and hole cleaning is improved. A percentage of flow to the drill bit is retained, which can be adjusted, keeping BHA components lubricated.

In summary, a circulating sub enables the rig to maintain a higher annular velocity, reduces pump pressure requirements, and reduces ECD at the bottom of the hole.

  1. Wellbore Cleanup

A clean well is essential prior to running expensive and sensitive completion strings or other debris sensitive equipment. The first step to ensure an optimum completion is to remove leftover drilling fluid residue and casing debris. This requires that the drilling mud be changed out with solids-free completion fluids. Completion fluid displacement involves multiple fluids sequenced in circulation.

Multiple fluids are used in wellbore cleanup operations, including drilling mud, water, spacers, pills, and flushes. Spacers are viscous fluids used to aid in the displacement or removal of other fluids. Pills are small volumes of specially prepared fluid designed to accomplish a specific task, such as lifting debris from a wellbore or removing scale on the internal diameter (ID) of casing. Flushes are used to prepare for or assist in production from the producing zone.

In wellbore cleanup operations, similar to a drilling scenario, a circulation sub permits an increased flow rate by opening flow paths to the annulus above the flow-restricting annular sections with smaller hole ID or large outer diameter (OD) string components. Bypassing the smaller annular sections allows the maximum amount of fluid to be directed to the annulus, thus boosting annular velocity for more effective wellbore cleanup above the circulation sub location and lowering the pump pressure. These operations can be optimized by adjusting the port sizes of circulation sub so that the desired downward flow rate is achieved to clean up the hole sections below with restricted annular clearances.

  1. Blowout preventer (BOP) stack jetting

Circulation subs are also used to hydroblast the subsea wellhead or BOP cavities. The nozzles, or ports, on the circulation sub direct fluid out to the BOP stack and create jet impact forces that thoroughly dislodge junk and debris.

  1. Surge pressure reduction

During casing or liner running, a circulation sub can be used in conjunction with auto-fill float equipment. Normally located on drillpipe immediately above the liner, the ports of the circulation sub allow the fluid trapped in the liner access to the larger annulus between drillpipe and previous casing, in addition to the flowpath through the restrictive drill pipe ID. The auto-fill float equipment and circulation sub establish 2 places of fluid communication between pipe interior and annulus. Fluid displaced by the string seeks the least resistant flowpath. A circulation sub opens a less restrictive flowpath, which helps to reduce the surge pressure.

These circulation sub applications are illustrated in Figure 1.

Applications of Circulation Sub

Figure1: Applications of Circulation Sub

Future Blogs

The third and fourth articles will discuss the numerical analysis used and the results on changes in the critical variables that affect the flow split created by a circulating sub. These variables are:

  • Total Flow Area (circulating sub ports)
  • Depth of the Circulating Sub
  • Flow Rate
  • Fluid Viscosity
  • Fluid Density

Circulation Sub Series—1: Circulation Subs Introduction

Pegasus Vertex Inc. (PVI) is pleased to introduce the first of four blogs related to circulating subs. PVI will also present this topic at the 2017 ATCE conference as SPE-187151-MS. Please follow along today as we introduce the definition of a circulating sub, general uses in the oilfield, and the numberical simulation study related to key variables affecting circulating subs’ performance downhole.

Introduction

Circulation subs are downhole tools designed to create an additional flowpath from the pipe to the annulus. The percentage of fluid that exits the string instead of traveling down to the bit or shoe depends not only on the size of the circulation sub ports, but also upon the density and rheology of the fluid, the flow rate, and the sub’s position in the string.

These four blog articles will take a thorough look at the above-mentioned variables that affect the percentage of fluid travelling the two flowpaths when using a circulation sub, along with their impact on pump pressure and equivalent circulating density (ECD). We will describe the various common operations and uses of circulation subs. The flow rate, circulation sub’s position in the string, fluid density, fluid rheology, and total flow area out of the circulating sub were analyzed to determine the degree of flow split, pump pressure, and ECD changes.

Graphical representations of outputs will be shared to illustrate the results of changing variables when using circulating subs. The sensitivity of the flow split between fluid traveling down the string vs. into the annulus when changes occur in the total flow area, depth of the circulation sub, flow rate, fluid viscosity, and density are discussed. These variables are also used to evaluate the impact on each other, with a focus on the resulting pump pressure and bottom hole ECD.

What Is a Circulation Sub?

A circulation sub is a downhole tool designed to control flow between the pipe and annulus. Once activated, the downward flow through pipe at the circulation sub location will be split. Some of the circulating fluid will flow through the sideway ports to the annulus between the wellbore and pipe, either downward or upward, depending on the operation.

One of the common ways to activate circulation through the circulating sub is to drop a ball in the drill string and pump it down. After the ball lands in the pre-designed seat in the sub, pump pressure is applied. A pin will be sheared that consequently allows the sleeve to shift and hence open the circulation ports to allow fluid flow sideway into the annulus.

Next Blog

The second blog article will introduce the common uses of circulating subs in the oilfield, including:

  • Spotting Remediation Fluids
  • Drilling
  • Wellbore Cleanup
  • Blowout Preventer (BOP) Stack Jetting
  • Surge Pressure Reduction

A Memento from the Past: Keep Calm and Carry On

The wear and tear of our clothing is not caused by wearing them, but by washing them in washing machines instead. Many of my tennis shirts which I have been wearing for more than a decade have faded in color here and there and the fabric has thinned out over time. Still, I have no problem wearing these shirts on the tennis courts.

Every fall, the SPE Gulf Coast Section (GCS) holds an annual tennis tournament where they give out t-shirts to every registered player. I have been an active participant of this event and have collected close to 20 shirts over the years. The designs have varied in some way, but have maintained the same style, a cartoon on the back depicting the theme of the year.

Among these t-shirts is the one I got from the tennis tournament held in 1998. Every time I see this shirt, I cannot help but let out a long sigh. Last month, I decided that this particular T-shirt should be treated as a relic, a piece of history that should be hung up in a museum. So I got it framed and hung it up on our office wall.

SPE_Tennis_T-shirt

That year, I was a mechanical/software engineer with Maurer Engineering, developing drilling software for DEA-44 (Drilling Engineer Association’s horizontal drilling joint-industry project). $12/bbl must have been the lowest oil price in 1998 right before SPE held their tennis tournament on October of that year. I don’t recall SPE ever making a T-shirt showing the record high oil price in the 2000s. Every time I wear this 1998 shirt to play tennis, my friends and I get a good laugh from it since most of them are involved with the industry and have all been a part of the oil-price roller coaster ride. The heydays of the drilling industry have helped us grow, and we have survived (or at least try to do so) in an era like the one we’re living through now.

In early 2015 I told my team members that the low oil price was an opportunity for us to shift our focus to development. Now, being already the 3rd quarter of 2016, we are still stumbling on the downturn. But then again, who in this industry isn’t? Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Judge each day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” This is probably not our time for reaping, but for planting seeds instead.

I used to carry this oil price on my back, but now I have placed it on the wall, knowing that some things are bound to be out of my control. I do my best within my means, and I have to make peace with those things I have no control over.

The Significance of Cleanups: What a difference it makes!

Picture this: a filthy driveway that has not been washed in months, covered in dead leaves, mud, and dirt. All those lifeless bits of wilted foliage and dirt have mixed resulting in gunk being stuck to the concrete driveway. So what do you do? Dig through your garage, pull out the pressure washer and get to work! Whether it is a dirty driveway or a wellbore, in order for all things to serve their purpose, we must make sure we are able to clean out the mess and residue, to get us through to our next step.

Successful well completions rely on a lot of factors. As mentioned before, one main aspect is maintaining a clean wellbore, free of debris or any other fluid residue that has been left behind due to the nature of drilling fluids. Whether it is a dirty driveway or a wellbore, the process of cleaning highly increases the chances for us to foresee what is to come next. Enter CleanMax, the next generation of wellbore cleanup.

Avoiding mishaps is quintessential for any project we take upon ourselves. When it comes to operations, failure to conduct wellbore cleanups could lead to potential failed completions, not to mention the high costs associated with it. It is essential that we not take risks when it comes to this and use the tools that we have at hand to accurately conduct successful wellbore cleanups and safer operations. One of our most recent software, CleanMax, does just that and more. We have created the go-to software that meets the needs for both service companies and operators, helping minimize spacer interfacing and reducing rig time, pill volumes, and filtration costs.

CleanMax - Wellbore Cleanup Software

We are all cognizant that drilling comes with its complexities. During this challenging time in our industry, we have had to make crucial decisions when it comes to getting the job done efficiently while keeping costs in mind.  At PVI, we know this all too well. “How?” you may ask, and the answer is pretty straightforward: because we are the ones who create the tools to turn this into a sophisticated, yet simple process (that’s our slogan!). We are your eyes when it comes to successful drilling completions!

For more information about CleanMax and CleanMax+, please visit:

http://www.pvisoftware.com/wellbore-cleanup-software.html

A Small World in a Big Airplane

More than 6000 miles away from Houston and 30,000 feet above the ground, I shared a row of seats with a Turkish man who happened to have visited our office 6 years ago. Can anyone tell me what the chance of this occurring is?

After the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC), I took a flight from Abu Dhabi to Istanbul. During that 4-hour flight, I began sketching some interface designs for our next version of casing wear software. The man seated right next to me was quietly reading a book. After a while, he asked me, “Are you developing a casing design software?” He had obviously seen me write “casing wear” and thought it was “casing design.” I felt pleasantly surprised with his question. “Casing” is a frequently used word in the drilling industry. It is a steel pipe that is assembled and inserted into a wellbore and typically held into place with cement. Outside the petroleum world, it has a very different meaning. Generally, if someone asks me a question about a casing design, not only does that tell me that he is in the industry and familiar with it, but also that he is in the drilling side and familiar with drilling software.

Finding something in common is a good way to break the ice. We began to chat enthusiastically. He was Turkish, but had received an education in the U.S. and was now working with Schlumberger as a drilling engineer. I gave him my business card and he spent a little bit longer than usual looking at it.  He then murmured, “I know you guys…I have been to your office. Don’t you have a software package called MUDPRO?” (MUDPRO is our mud reporting software). Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest sound in any language.” This same rule applies to names of family members, friends or even one’s own software products! I felt touched. He explained to me that he has a friend, who owned a mud company. The owner of the mud company visited our office in Houston 6 years ago and he happened to be with him during this trip. It must have been the logo on my business card that reminded him of the meeting, which I had not been a part of.

“What a small world!”  We exchanged mutual feelings.

Chatting with him not only made the flight shorter, but also memorable.

I would never have anticipated this meeting, but an unnoticed event years ago led to this very occasion. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant,” said Robert Louis Stevenson, a Scottish novelist from the 19th Century.

Though we are not guaranteed to have harvests every day, we can plant seeds as often as we wish, even every day. The world gets smaller as we plant more seeds daily.

How to Prevent a Flat Tire on the Way to the Airport

Recently, I have been thinking about writing another article. It seems as though whenever I take a trip, it is my most productive time when it comes to writing. Trips lead to many occurrences, which are a good source for topics.

My journey to Abu Dhabi to attend ADIPEC (Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference) had just started, but it had already generated a couple of interesting ideas. On my way to the airport, I suddenly realized that I forgot to check if my passport was in my bag. I pulled my car to the shoulder of the highway. Before I stopped the car, I heard a loud noise coming from the front tire. I secretly wished that I had just hit an abandoned tennis ball. I stopped the car, opened my trunk, and checked my bag.

My passport was there, as it was supposed to be, but my right front tire was flat. Long story short, I spent the next hour driving my disabled car to a parking lot, calling AAA and my wife, who drove me to the airport. I caught my flight in time, leaving the whole ordeal to my wife. Even when looking at the photo I took of my car, I can still smell the burnt rubber.

I always thought that events like this were unlikely to happen. Or if it did happen, it would most likely happen to someone else.

I should have checked my travel essentials ahead of time. Or perhaps I should have picked a more secure place to stop, or even better, I should have a little bit of faith on myself in getting my travel documents in place. I just chose a wrong time to pull my car to a wrong place. “A little bit preparing saves lots of trouble. I could almost hear my flat tire complaining.

Incidentally, the book I read on my flight, called “The Power of Persuasion” by Robert Levine, talks about the illusion of invulnerability overoptimism. Here are some research examples from the book:

  • People who feel at risk for health problems are more likely to gather disease prevention information.
  • Smokers who minimize their own risk of disease are less likely to try quitting.
  • People in high earthquake risk areas who downplay danger are more likely to live in poor structures.

The book just listed a few.  Real world examples are everywhere. For instance, within our drilling community, if we use an analogy of the above sayings, it would go something like this:

  • Drilling engineers who feel the risk of drilling issues arising are more likely to prepare for potential problems.
  • Engineers who minimize potential problems are less likely to prepare for or identify them.

As the geneticist David Searls observed, “The tendency for an event to occur varies inversely with ones preparation for it.” I learned my lesson the hard way.