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Efficient Hole Cleaning: Experimental Investigation of Cuttings Transport in Horizontal Wells

In horizontal well operations, the prevalence of stuck pipe incidents is largely attributed to inadequate hole cleaning, underscoring the critical need for a thorough understanding of this process to mitigate non-productive time and financial losses. Increasing fluid velocity, one of the major drilling parameters affecting hole cleaning, diminishes cuttings accumulation in a wellbore. The core objective of this dissertation is to experimentally scrutinize the effects of a downhole clamp-on tool on fluid velocity, with the aim of improving hole cleaning practices. This work tackles existing challenges by designing and building a customized flow loop to accurately replicate the conditions encountered in horizontal wells. Such an approach encompasses dimensional analysis, detailed design, and the construction of an experimental flow loop setup enabling drillpipe rotation within a closed-loop system. The strategically deployed clamp-on tool played a pivotal role in agitating cuttings, hence mitigating their accumulation at the bottom of the borehole. Experimental assessments were conducted considering pipe rotation, yielding crucial insights into performance metrics.The study primarily centered on the mechanical displacement and removal of solid particles, employing advanced image processing techniques to elucidate the dynamic particles’ behavior in deviated wellbores. The unique geometric attributes of the clamp-on tool demonstrated an observable effect and noticeable influence on both the cuttings removal and the perturbed cuttings transport extension in the tool's downstream flow. Notably, the tool's agitation mechanism significantly enhanced cuttings transport, while increasing fluid velocity and reducing bedding formation. At lower flow rates, tool application led to an over fourfold increase in average particle velocity within the tool and twofold after the tool. The lab-scaled flow loop development aims to simulate drilling conditions with drillpipe rotation and different downhole clamp-on tool geometries. The various tool designs are a promising approach to identifying the most effective solutions for optimal hole cleaning. The results underscore the significant potential of mechanical assistance in overcoming hole cleaning challenges, marking a major advancement in horizontal well operations. This success embodies a forward-looking approach, emphasizing the critical importance of adaptability and mechanical innovation in enhancing drilling efficiency and resolving enduring operational challenges.


ErPE Ph.D Candidate Jelena Skenderija, Supervised by Prof.Shehab Ahmed

Event Quick Information

03 Apr, 2024
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Al-Kindi Building(Bldg. 5), Room 5220