Managed Pressure Drilling:

Modeling, Strategy and Planning

by

Wilson C. Chin, Ph.D., M.I.T.

Stratamagnetic Software, LLC

Houston, Texas

Email: wilsonchin@aol.com

Telephone: (832) 483-6899

Preface

The authorís first exposure to the importance of good hole cleaning and pressure analysis occurred in 1981 on his initiation to the petroleum industry, upon leaving aerospace, for which he had trained diligently. The subject matter was not glamorous, to say the least, but years later, he would come to understand its significance in both drilling and cementing. The advent of deviated and horizontal wells elevated the role of annular flow in oilfield operations. A decade later, the author published his first book on borehole flow modeling, introducing the use of curvilinear grid systems to capture the physics accurately. Over the years, this effort was self-funded and undertaken as a labor of love. Still another decade later, the author would launch his consulting company, Stratamagnetic Software, LLC, supported by the United States Department of Energy through its Small Business Innovation Research program under Grant DE-FG03-99ER82895, to improve grid generation techniques for oil industry applications. Related work in this area with several clients would continue over the years in different and varied applications.

In 2009, the Department of Energy awarded a contract to support the authorís technical proposal "Advanced Steady-State and Transient, Three-Dimensional, Single and Multiphase, Non-Newtonian Simulation System for Managed Pressure Drilling." This comprehensive effort was administered by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) through its Ultra-Deepwater Program under Subcontract No. 08121-2502-01. The award enabled us to "tie up loose ends" and integrate numerous models developed over two decades. More importantly, it provided the opportunity to significantly extend our models in numerous directions, e.g., rotating flow, fully transient effects, three-dimensionality, multiphase, and so on, and to perform research and to develop software models that we feel would have a lasting influence on the petroleum industry. We are very fortunate that many in the industry have recognized our efforts. Aside from those who have provided us this source of important funding, anonymous reviewers have made it possible for us to publish four papers at the recent AADE (American Association of Drilling Engineers) National Technical Conference and Exhibition during April 2011 in Houston and one at the Offshore Technology Conference during May 2011 also in Houston. We are of course gratified that Elsevier Scientific Publishing has offered to distribute Managed Pressure Drilling: Modeling, Strategy and Planning in a move that promises wide dissemination of our ideas.

Consistent with the authorís belief that scientific research should be openly shared by the industry, this book and the prior papers disclose all elements of the new annular flow models: mathematical theory, numerical implementation, source code examples and computational validations with comparisons to laboratory and field data and results whenever possible. Because of our research focus, and because our ideas are always evolving, the methods developed here and implemented in software, are provided "as is" and no claim is made that they address all the issues that may be material.

But it is our hope that others will study the models and help us improve them through use and research. Over the next several months, we hope to disseminate the software, for which great effort has been expended to optimize the user experience through a versatile and intuitive interface, widely, so that we will obtain the feedback needed to support continued product development. The author is deeply appreciative of the opportunity offered by the United States Department of Energy and the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America to work in this exciting technology area and looks forward to longer term collaboration with all interested parties.

Wilson C. Chin, Ph.D., M.I.T.

Houston, Texas

Email: wilsonchin@aol.com

Telephone: (832) 483-6899

Acknowledgements

The author gratefully acknowledges 2009-2011 support from the United States Department of Energy for the technical proposal "Advanced Steady-State and Transient, Three-Dimensional, Single and Multiphase, Non-Newtonian Simulation System for Managed Pressure Drilling." This effort was administered and directed by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) through its Ultra-Deepwater Program under Subcontract No. 08121-2502-01. Our curvilinear grid generation research was also supported by the United States Department of Energy, in particular, under Small Business Innovation Research Grant DE-FG03-99ER82895 in 1999-2000.

We thank all of the industry partners we were privileged to have worked with for motivating many of the problems and methods addressed in this research program. We are indebted to Art Schroeder, Energy Valley; to Jim Chitwood, Chevron; and to James Pappas, RPSEA, for their encouragement and advice, and especially to John Lofton, Chevron, for his engineering insights and guidance related to several areas of our modeling of rotating pipe flow effects. James Pappas, in particular, contributed significantly to the manuscript through his meticulous reading and valued comments. Finally, we thank Ken McCombs, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Elsevier for his initiation of the present book project and for his support and encouragement throughout this research and writing. The views expressed here, of course, represent those of the author only and not necessarily the opinions of any program sponsors or individuals.