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.

Paper and E-reader vs. Book and HYDPRO

“Paper: The original wireless communication”. This is a sentence in Sappi Fine Paper North America’s eQ Journal 004. So interestingly stated, it tells a lot about human being’s communication need in the age of a digitalized world. “The World Wide Web, far from decreasing paper consumption, served to increase the amount of printing done at home and in the office.” Abigail J. Sellen and Richard H. R. Harper wrote in “The Myth of the Paperless Office”. After people began to use e-mail in the 1990s, paper consumption is estimated to have increased by some 40%. Neither is eBook device nor screen likely to make print on paper obsolete.

For my own reading pleasure, I use these 2 devices whenever I travel.

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The convenience of carrying hundreds of books in one device allows me to switch between the books with a great flexibility, although I still enjoy reading paper books in my backyard. The tactile sensation of fingers turning fine-grain papers and the smell of ink and paper are also parts of reading experience. Developed 2000 years apart, paper and digital technologies not only co-exist, but also enhance the synergy between them as paper is routinely converted to digital documents and digital documents to paper.

We also see this 2-way conversion in the engineering efforts of drilling software developments. In 2012, Prof. Boyun Guo from University of Louisiana at Lafayette and I jointly wrote a book about drilling hydraulics (Applied Drilling Circulation Systems).

This book covers many areas of hydraulics concerns of drilling and mud engineers, with theories, examples, and operation guidelines: a good source of information and knowledge for petroleum engineering students and engineers.

Quite a few years ago, PVI developed its popular drilling hydraulics software HYDPRO which addresses majority of drilling hydraulics including frictional pressure drop, ECD, bit optimization and hole cleaning etc.

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Similar technologies, delivered in traditional paper and the state-of-the-art application, serve drilling engineers’ essential need to understand and optimize drilling hydraulics. Equations in the book are the DNA of the HYDPRO, while the software is the screen play of the book.

Drilling software like HYDPRO is a great vehicle to carry the heavy loads of technologies. Yet, it provides engineers with easy-to learn and simple-to-use experience.