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A Review of the Rheological Effects of Power Law Drilling Fluids on Cuttings Transportation in Non-vertical Boreholes

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A Review of the Rheological Effects of Power Law Drilling Fluids on Cuttings Transportation in Non-vertical Boreholes.

ABSTRACT  

Cuttings transportation during in non-vertical boreholes is necessary for oil and gas wells. Adequate cuttings removal from a well in drilling is critical for cost-effective drilling as high annular cuttings buildup often leads to high risk of stuck pipe, reduced rate of penetration and other impediments to standard drilling and completion procedures. This study investigates how rheological parameters influence the removal of cuttings in non-vertical boreholes.

It contributes to work already done to ensure efficient hole cleaning process. In this study, the rheological parameters examined were the flow index (n), consistency index (K), plastic viscosity (PV), mud yield point (YP), YP/PV ratio, apparent viscosity and effective viscosity. Fifteen mud samples, three annular velocities (3.82, 2.86 and 1.91 ft/sec) and three-hole angles (30o, 45o and 70o) were considered.

An Excel Spreadsheets program was used to determine the parameters. The results of this study show that, higher annular mud velocities are required for efficient hole cleaning in directional wells than in vertical wells. Increasing values of YP, YP/PV ratio and K promote effective cuttings transport while the value of n should be low. Effective and apparent viscosities also should be high. 

INTRODUCTION  

Many materials of engineering interest must be handled and transported as slurries or suspensions of insoluble particulate matter. Transportation of cuttings in nonvertical boreholes is of no exception. Almost the same thing occurs whereby the cuttings act as the solids in the drilling fluid. In spite of the many technological advances that have accompanied the drilling of non-vertical boreholes, one significant remaining challenge is effective cuttings transport, particularly in deviated wells.

The transportation of cuttings during drilling has a major influence on the economics of the drilling process. Problems that can occur as a result of inefficient hole cleaning from cuttings include reduced weight on bit, increase risk of pipe stuck and inability to attain the desired reach, reduced rate of penetration (ROP), extra cost because of the need of special additives in the drilling fluid, extra pipe wear, transient hole blockage which can lead to lost circulation and wasted time for wiper tripping.

These problems have prompted significant research into cuttings transport during the past 50 years. (Kelessidis, 2004). Hole cleaning relying on viscous fluids in laminar flow for drilling has proved to be inefficient because of the inability to rotate the string to agitate bedded cuttings. Alternatively, a high fluid flow to induce turbulent flow regime is more effective for hole cleaning, but difficult to achieve because of high friction pressures in the drillpipeTherefore, a bed of cuttings is almost always present in non-vertical boreholes.

For laminar flow, the distance that a particle will travel (downstream) before it falls across the annulus clearance can be calculated using Stokes’ law and the local viscosity while flowing can also be calculated. This analysis may be easily viii applied to optimize mud selection and wiper trips. Applying this model to high lowshear rate-viscosity (LSRV) gels shows that they may perform well inside casing but are expected to do a poor job of hole cleaning in a narrow openhole horizontal annulus without rotation. 

REFERENCES

ASME: “Drilling Fluids Processing Handbook,” Gulf Professional Publishing
Publications, US, (2005), pp. 32-37.

Azar, J. J. and Sanchez, R. A.: “Important Issues in Cuttings Transport for
Drilling Directional Wells,” paper SPE 39020 presented at the 1997 SPE Latin
American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference and Exhibition,
Rio de Janeiro, 30 August–3 September.

Baker Hughes Drilling Fluid Reference Manual, 2006.

Becker, T. E., Azar, J. J., and Okrajni, S. S.: “Correlations of Mud Rheological
Properties With Cuttings Transport Performance in Directional Drilling,”
SPEDE (March, 1991) 16 – 24

Bharucha, V. C.: “Rheological Study of Hydroxypropyl Guar (HPG) Slurries,”
mpge.ou.edu, Norman, Oklahoma, 2004, pp. 11-16.

Carriere et al.: “US Patent,” Patent No.:US 6,502,641 B1, (January, 2003).

Darley, H. C. H. and Gray, G. R.: “Composition and Properties of drilling and
Completion Fluids,” 5 th Edition, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX.,
1988, pp. 184 – 276.

Kelessidis, V. C. and Bandelis G. E.: “Flow Patterns and Minimum Suspension
Velocity for Efficient Cuttings Transport in Horizontal and Deviated Wells in
Coiled-Tubing Drilling”, paper SPE 81746 first presented at the 2003
SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing Conference, Houston, 8–9 April, (December, 2004),
pp. 213-214.

CSN Team.

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