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A Methodology for Classifying Operating Regimes in Underbalanced-Drilling Operations

Abstract : This paper proposes an extension to an existing operating-envelope technique used for underbalanced drilling (UBD) to enhance control of bottomhole pressure and inflow parameters. With the use of an implementation of the drift-flux model (DFM) with boundary conditions typically encountered in underbalanced operations (UBO), a steady-state analysis of the system is performed. Through this analysis, four distinct operating regimes are identified, and the behavior in each of them is investigated through steady-state calculations and transient simulations. In particular, the analysis reveals that a section of the operating envelope previously believed to be unstable/transient is, in fact, stable/steady when a fixed choke opening is used as an independent variable in place of a fixed wellhead pressure (WHP). This results in the steady-state operating envelope being extended, and gives an increased understanding of the well behavior encountered in UBO toward enabling the introduction of automated control. Finally, we investigate the mechanism behind severe slugging in UBO and argue that the cause is different from that of the slugging encountered in production and multiphase transport.
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Ulf Jakob F. Aarsnes, Florent Di Meglio, Robert Graham, Ole Morten Aamo. A Methodology for Classifying Operating Regimes in Underbalanced-Drilling Operations. Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, 2016, 21 (02), pp.423-433. ⟨10.2118/178920-PA⟩. ⟨hal-01544668⟩

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