Issues and Their Consequences

Production engineers used to believe that temperature was not a big issue when drilling a well and they could assume worst-case scenarios, such as constant bottomhole flowing temperature throughout the production tubing. However, deepwater drilling and high pressure/high temperature wells have had a change of perspective in engineers and the effects of trapped annular pressure and circulating temperature have become an issue for well completions.

Cathodic Protection System is a proven and reliable method of achieving corrosion control in industrial metals. Corrosion happens to be a progressively destructive process, which is initially challenging to identify until it has advanced. In most cases, corrosion is often identified when it is too late.

The effect of temperature on cementing has long been recognized and it is known that the correct determination of retarder can be critical. Usually, intermediate-string cementing is focused on achieving a great cement job and drilling ahead and not so much on issues of temperature and pressure. One of the reasons is because of the extensive use of water-based drilling fluids. Because water density is not particularly sensitive to temperature and pressure, the surface-measured mud weight does not vary much in conventional wells. However, oil-based and synthetic oil-based muds are very sensitive to temperature and pressure.

In the present, deepwater wells are encountering a lot of extreme temperature and pressure conditions. Maintaining the right pressure and predicting circulating temperature has become more critical due to weak formations and the presence of risers and choke/kill/boost lines.

Pegasus Vertex, Inc. has created CTEMP; a technological software that predicts the well bore circulating temperature for drilling/circulating operations.

CTEMP - Circulation Temperature Software

CTEMP addresses the transient heat transfer between the wellbore and the sea water/rock formation. CTEMP’s interactive on-screen graphic results provide operation guidelines for expensive HPHT drilling operations.

For a successful wellbore stability or well control it is very important that we understand and are aware of all these issues and their consequences.

Calculation and Prediction

The pulling and running of pipe causes pressure surges and the prediction of these is a matter of economic importance in wells where the pressure has to be maintained within narrow limits to prevent formation-fluid influx and lost circulation. When these types of situations occur, the drilling engineer needs the best possible method of calculating and predicting surge pressures to drill these wells with a minimum of risks.

Pressure surges have been known for a very long time to cause well-control problems. For instance in 1934, pressure surges were identified as a result from pipe swabbing the possible cause of fluid influx, and in worst cases, blowouts. Also In 1951, positive pressure surges were measured and linked to lost-circulation problems.

For most wells, the extent of the pressure surges is not critical when the proper casing design and mud programs leave large enough margins between fracture pressures and formation-fluid pressures. However, a certain fraction of wells cannot be designed with large surge-pressure margins and in this situation the pressure surges may still be a concern.

The need to predict pressure surges in critical wells is the reason PVI developed SurgeMOD.

SurgeMOD - Surge Pressure Prediction SoftwareWith this surge and swab pressure prediction model, the annular pressures are calculated to be consistent with frictional pressure drops caused by fluid motion; the drilling mud can be well displaced by the pipe motion. This model is sufficient for an effective use for both drilling and completion. It analyzes the complex downhole hydraulics when running the casing for various pipe conditions and circulation sub tools. SurgeMOD not only predicts the surge and swab pressures for a given running speed, but also calculates maximum running speeds at various depths. After the casing or liner is set, it will calculate the maximum acceptable circulation rate before fracturing the formation.

This surge and swab pressure model shows an excellent agreement with the measurements of surge and swab pressures collected during the field tests. It accurately predicts maximum surge and swab pressures as well as the variation of pressure with time at any position in the well bore. Predicting surge and swab pressures using SurgeMOD can minimize potential problems in a well bore and allow more efficient trip speeds for running or pulling pipe.