Smart Solution

The demanding industry today continues to drill progressively challenging and costly wells, through more challenging formations.

Every year, operators lose hundreds of millions of dollars in their attempt to resolve drilling problems such as shock and vibrations, damage to bits and under-reamers, poor hole cleaning, borehole washouts, stuck pipe, plugged drillstrings and poor or inconsistent drilling performance. An analysis of worldwide drilling operation failure statistics in 2012 showed that a 38% were associated with stuck pipe, 27% caused by shock and vibration and 9% due to drillstring plugging.

Severe downhole drilling dynamics and vibration cause drillstring failures that can incur significant amounts of non-productive time. Drillers must trip out of hole either to replace bits or damaged bottom hole assemblies, perform fishing operations or drill costly sidetracks. Poor performance and reduced rates of penetration can occur when there is sufficient transfer of power to the bit, when cutting structures wear out permanently, or when rigsite personnel apply overly conservative drilling parameters due to a lack of trustworthy real time actionable information on downhole conditions.

PVI has a variety of software packages that can be an smart solution for many of these situations that operators and service companies have to deal with. For example, the software can help users to effectively reduce risks by quickly identifying the type and severity of downhole motions, detecting poor hole cleaning or sticking pipe probabilities at an early stage, plus many more. For directional drilling, users can enhance borehole quality, assist casing running and manage wellbore tortuosity. Users can also increase drilling performance by selecting drill parameters that increase the drilling efficiency and improve overall rate of penetration among many other things. For both onshore and offshore, PVI software can perform engineering calculations that optimize business and technical decisions and also provide quality engineering consulting and customized development.


Knowledge Is Power

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

Kofi Annan (Ghanaian diplomat)

In the petroleum industry the more knowledge we gain the more progress is made. The ability to control the downhole environment while drilling has been a dream held by drilling and reservoir engineers for decades. In the past resent years, drilling engineers focused on preventing influx of formation fluid or gas, and weighted-up their mud accordingly, but as a result, drillers found themselves indeed between the rock and a hard place.

In the early 1970s a better knowledge of drilling hydraulics started being developed. Up to this point, hydrostatic pressure and formation temperature were derived by measuring static mud weight and viscosity at the surface and calculating a pressure gradient which could be extrapolated to bit depth. Formation temperature was also calculated from a gradient. Neither parameter was precisely known. In addition, every time the mud pumps were stopped to make a connection a pressure surge was initiated when the pumps were re-started. In a formation with a tight drilling margin, this pressure spike could break down a weak spot and cause loss of circulation. Contrarily, when the drill pipe was pulled to make a bit trip or even a short trip, care had to be taken not to swab-in the well.

Drilling decisions focused on extending bit life to the maximum rather than maximizing ROP. This was accomplished by using less-aggressive bits to mitigate vibration which is the leading cause of bit wear. Float valves were installed just above the drill bit to prevent the loss of drilling fluid and to force the seawater mixture and cuttings coming down the annulus to enter the fractures. Thanks to the knowledge acquire through the years new technology has risen. Cutting-edge techniques, sustained by innovative technology, are increasing the industry's ability to safely and efficiently drill unstable formations in deepwater.

The ability to measure precisely and monitor continuously the equivalent circulating density of drilling fluid at the bit is essential for success. This is one of the functions of HYDPRO, PVI’s drilling hydraulics model.

HYDPRO - Drilling Hydraulics SoftwareThis software’s ability has allowed major strides in drilling technology that have affected safety, cost effectiveness, and efficiency. Many of the previous problems can be traced by more accurate estimations of dynamic downhole conditions.

Other functions of HYDPRO include:

  • Surge and Swab
  • Bit Optimization
  • Hole Cleaning
  • Volumetric Displacements

Like most critical undertakings, prior planning is a given. Even modular systems that are relatively easy to implement on a standard drilling unit must be carefully sized and can benefit from as much prior reservoir knowledge as possible. The benefits are important and well worth the planning effort.

The Toughest Event on the Planet

I was very nervous when I signed up for the Tough Mudder race, especially for the electrodes and the ice baths, but I was ready for a new challenge and it turned out to be a lot of fun. In April 2012 a friend came up to me and asked me if I wanted to join his team for the Tough Mudder race, which is a 12 mile assault course that involves many obstacles and a lot of mud. I was a little hesitant at first because I didn’t want to commit to something so challenging but I succumbed to peer pressure too easily and I signed up.

I must admit the training was hardcore. It was a 5 hour nonstop workout, three times a week for 3 months, but not the regular workout most people are used to or know about. A regular workout consists of cardio, stretch and weights and the dirtiest you can get is with your own sweat, but the training for Tough Mudder goes far beyond that. The “cardio” is 5 hours long consisting of running, swimming and jumping. The “stretch”, well that one can be a regular stretch that one does before a normal workout, but the “weights” consists of lifting heavy logs while running and swimming, climbing high walls, cliff-hanging, and most of the time carrying one of your teammates because they are too weak to continue and all this while being all covered in mud from head to toe. I will admit that I found the training extremely challenging, but only because I was a little out of shape and I had a thing of being underwater for more than 10 seconds, and being in closed and small spaces, but despise these qualms, would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Mud Toggler And Drilling Software

This race is considered the toughest event on the planet, but all those challenges can be overcome with the appropriate training and in the end even if you don’t win the race, you fill fulfilled when you see all those hundreds of people working together to reach their goal. The drilling of a well is undoubtedly the most recognizable process of the oil and gas industry, but while the purpose of a drilling rig is quite simple, the process, itself, is anything but. Many problems can arise when the drilling process begins. Some of these problems are:

Pipe sticking
Hole deviation
Lost circulation
Pipe failures
Borehole instability
Mud contamination
Formation damage
Hole cleaning

These are just a few of the many other problems we can encounter while performing a drilling operation.

How can we deal with these challenges before they turn to major problems? Well, just like a person that enters the Tough Mudder has to train hard in advance to be prepared for the race, a drilling engineer must prepare himself beforehand so that when he faces the challenges he’ll be able to make a smart move to avoid having bigger problems.

BigCube of Pegasus Vertex

Pegasus Vertex, Inc. offers a variety of software that are the latest in technical advances and they are excellent tools for both onshore and offshore operations, in other words PVI can “train” any drilling engineer to be able to anticipate and therefore prevent any problem that can occur during the drilling process, so they can be prepared to make one of the toughest events on the planet (drilling operations) be a successful one.

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.

Paper_and_E-reader_vs. Book_and_HYDPRO_Pegasus_Vertex


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.

Paper_and_E-reader_vs. Book_and_HYDPRO_Pegasus_Vertex_Inc.


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.