Application of a Drilling Simulator for Real-Time Drilling Hydraulics Training and Research

Jelena Skenderija, Alexis Koulidis, Vassilios Kelessidis, Shehab Ahmed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Challenging wells require an accurate hydraulic model to achieve maximum performance for drilling applications. This work was conducted with a simulator capable of recreating the actual drilling process, including on-the-fly adjustments of the drilling parameters. The paper focuses on the predictions of the drilling simulator's pressure losses inside the drill string and across the open-hole and casing annuli applying the most common rheological models. Comparison is then made with pressure losses from field data. Drilling data of vertical and deviated wells were acquired to recreate the actual drilling environment and wellbore design. Several sections with a variety of wellbore sizes were simulated in order to observe the response of the various rheological models. The simulator allows the input of wellbore and bottom-hole assembly (BHA) sizes, formation properties, drilling parameters, and drilling fluid properties. To assess the hydraulic model's performance during drilling, the user is required to input the drilling parameters based on field data and match the penetration rate. The resulting simulator hydraulic outputs are the equivalent circulation density (ECD) and standpipe pressure (SPP). The simulator's performance was assessed using separate simulations with different rheological models and compared with actual field data. Similarities, differences, and potential improvements were then reported. During the simulation, the most critical drilling parameters are displayed, emulating real-time measured values, combined with the pore pressure, wellbore pressure, and fracture pressure graphs. The simulation results show promise for application of real-time hydraulic operations. The simulated output parameters, ECD and SPP, have similar trends and values with the values from actual field data. The simulator's performance shows excellent matching for a simple BHA, with decreasing system's accuracy as the BHA design becomes more complex, an area of future improvement. The overall approach is valid for non-Newtonian drilling fluid pressure losses. The user can observe the output parameters, and by adding a benchmark safety value, the simulator gives a warning of a potential fracture of the formation or maximum pressure at the mud pumps. Thus, by simulating the drilling process, the user can be trained for the upcoming drilling campaign and reach the target depth safely and cost-effectively during actual drilling. The simulator allows emulation of real-time hydraulic operations when drilling vertical and directional wells, albeit with a simple BHA for the latter. The user can instantly observe the output results, which allows proper action to be taken if necessary. This is a step towards real-time hydraulic operations. The results also indicate that the simulator can be used as an excellent training tool for professionals and students by creating wellbore exercises that can cover different operating scenarios.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDay 3 Tue, November 30, 2021
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-12-23


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