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Copyright 2002, SPE/PS-CIM/CHOA International Thermal Operations and Heavy Oil

Symposium and International Horizontal Well Technology Conference



This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2002 SPE International Thermal Operations
and Heavy Oil Symposium and International Horizontal Well Technology Conference held in
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 47 November 2002.

This paper was selected for presentation by the ITOHOS/ICHWT Program Committee
following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of
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Abstract
This paper will address some important factors that should be
considered when designing drill-strings for horizontal and
extended reach wells (ERW). A second paper will look into
the issues of casing design for the same type of wells and
present some practical field cases and examples of drill-string
and casing design for ERW.
Buckling of the string and its influence on reach capability,
fatigue and directional control will be emphasized.

Introduction
Drill-string design is of utmost importance for operations in
highly deviated, horizontal and extended reach wells. It is a
well known fact that drill-string failure represents one of the
major causes for fishing operations which may lead to millions
of dollars in losses for the Industry
1, 2
. This problem will be
intensified when the string is submitted to the more rigorous
conditions present in highly deviated wellbores.
Besides that, use of an inappropriate string will have
influence in the operation performance since it may impede
the use of the optimized mechanical and hydraulic parameters.
In extended reach wells, hydraulics plays a major role since
long high-inclined sections are very difficult to clean and there
is a tendency to accumulation of cuttings in the low side of the
wellbore. High flow rates may be necessary to provide an
efficient cuttings transport mechanism, which may result in
pump pressures higher than the ones the rig pumps can handle.
Among the factors that should be considered when
designing drill-strings, it may be mentioned:

maximum expected loads;
accumulated fatigue;
buckling;
hydraulics;
equipment availability.

There are so many variables involved in drill-string design
that it is difficult to obtain a completely optimized string.
However, careful consideration of the above mentioned
factors will allow the operator to obtain a design that will
successfully carry on the job in a cost-effective way.

The Buckling Factor
Drill-string buckling prediction will be very important while
drilling extended reach wells. The behavior of the string in a
long, high inclined slant or in a horizontal section of the well
will sometimes be determinant in terms of maximum reach
and steering capability.
When drilling an ERW, the trajectory of the well may need
adjustments according to the lithology being encountered. A
body of shale, for example, may intercalate a sandstone oil
reservoir. Since the shale should be avoided in order to
prevent low productivity and completion problems, the well
must be deviated in this point. However, in a long reach well,
to deviate from this shale can be a difficult task due to the high
friction forces generated by the contact between the wellbore
and the helically buckled string.
A helically buckled string will cause the friction force
along the pipe to increase and, therefore, less force will be
transferred to the bit making difficult further advances.
Nowadays, with the use of rotary steering tool systems,
this problem can be minimized, however, there a number of
wells that are still drilled using the regular steering tools.

Critical Buckling Force
As stated in Ref. 3, buckling occurs when the effective
compressive load exceeds some critical value. There are a
number of articles
3,4,5,6,7,8,9
dealing with models for prediction
of the critical buckling force. Those models simulated
buckling for different wellbore configuration such as vertical,
inclined, curved and horizontal. Also, some of those models
presented results that were apparently conflictants. An
interpretation
10
of those results suggests that they were derived
from different situations or, as better explained in Ref. 3,
different loading stages. Table I and II summarize the
conclusions from Ref. 10 and Ref. 3, respectively, in terms of
the axial force applied to the pipe and the shape it will assume.

SPE/Petroleum Society of CIM/CHOA 79001
Drill-String and Casing Design for Horizontal and Extended Reach Wells Part I
J. C. Cunha, SPE, Petrobras
2 SPE/PS-CIM/CHOA 79001
This will be a good guide in terms of buckling prediction for
inclined/horizontal wells.

Table I Axial Load x Pipe Configuration
10

Load Configuration
r
EIwsin
F

2 <
Straight
r
2EIwsin
F
r
EIwsin


2 2 <

Sinusoidal
r
2EIwsin
F
r
2EIwsin


4 2 <

Sinusoidal or
Helical
F
r
2EIwsin

4
Helical


Table II Axial Load x Pipe Configuration
11

Axial Compressive Force Configuration
r
EIwsin
F

2 <
Straight
r
EIwsin
F
r
EIwsin


75 , 3 2 <

Sinusoidal
r
2EIwsin
F
r
EIwsin
.75

4 3 <

Unstable
sinusoidal
F
r
2EIwsin

4
Helical

As it can be seen, the interpretations in Ref. 10 and 3 are
similar, although the limits for sinusoidal buckling in Table I
and II are numerically different. The value used in Table II as
the critical sinusoidal buckling force is very close to the one
obtained in Ref. 8 for the critical helical buckling force. This
value was also mentioned in Ref. 10 as capable of causing
unstable sinusoidal buckling.

Influence of Torque
Normally the influence of torque is not considered in the
calculations for critical buckling forces. It was proved
9,10
that
this influence, although very small for vertical wells, maybe of
significance for certain extended reach wells, reducing the
string buckling resistance. As noticed in Ref. 11, in a typical
ERW, torsion loads will be higher than for a vertical well of
the same measured depth, then, each particular case should be
analyzed in order to decide if the influence of torque should or
should not be considered.
A model considering the influence of torque on the critical
helical buckling force was derived
12
and the following
equations resulted:

p
T
r
w p
p
EI
F

4 sin 8
2
2
2
2
+ = (1)

p
T
p
EI
F
6 16
2
2
= (2)

Equations 1 and 2 form a system which solution gives the
values for the critical force F and pitch p for the helix formed
by the pipe inside a wellbore under the action of force F and
torque T.
Note that, if in equations 1 and 2, torque is set to zero, then
the expression for critical buckling force previously presented
can be recovered substituting in equation 1 the value for p
2

obtained from equation 2. This will result in equation 3,
presented in Tables 1 and 2 as the critical helical buckling
force without considering torque.


r
2EIwsin
F

4 = (3)

In order to verify how torque can affect the buckling
resistance of pipes, a few calculations were performed using
equations 1 and 2.
Initially, torque was set to zero and critical buckling force
was calculated for various drill pipes with diameters varying
from 3 to 6 5/8 in. After that, the calculations were made
again, this time considering torques of 15,000 and
25,000 lbf.ft.
After that, the bending stiffness (EI) of each pipe was
plotted against the reduction in critical buckling load caused
by the torque. The results can be seen in Figures 1 to 4.
For Figures 1 and 2 it was assumed a 12 in. wellbore
with a 30 degree inclination. For Figures 3 and 4 it was
assumed a horizontal well also with a diameter of 12 in..
From the graphs, it can be implied that torque can cause
significant reduction on drillpipes with small diameter. On the
other hand, for bigger pipes, that are the ones most used in
extended reach wells, torque will have little influence on the
buckling resistance.

Torque and Drag Predictions
Normally a torque-drag computer program is used for
estimation of tension and torsion for the string during drilling
operations. Once an estimation of maximum loads is obtained,
a safety factor should be applied over those values to account
for extra loads resulted from inefficient hole cleaning, pipe
stuck, wellbore instability, etc. In Part II of this paper, an
example of calculation for a ER well will be provided.

SPE/PS-CIM/CHOA 79001 3
Fatigue
The drill-string is submitted to great stress variation during
operations in ER wells. Besides dynamic and static loads, also
temperature variations and corrosion will make the high stress
concentration areas susceptible to fatigue damage.
The normal practice to avoid fatigue failure is to inspect
the drill-string after a certain period of time or after a certain
footage drilled. Although inspection is a common practice in
the Industry, fatigue failure keeps plaguing drilling operations
causing heavy losses yearly.
One solution that could minimize those failures would be
to individually track the efforts undergone by each element of
the drill-string.
Since the elements in a drill-string are subjected to
different mechanical conditions, that will depend on its
position on the string ant the amount of time they are being
used, a single element tracking system, as proposed in Ref. 13,
is a sound tool to minimize fatigue failure.
Once each element of the string is identified and its history
of mechanical condition is tracked, calculation of the
accumulated fatigue can be done using a numerical method
14
.

Hydraulics
As stated before, hydraulics will be very important when
drilling extended reach wells. Besides the fact that an efficient
bottom hole cleaning will aid the rate of penetration, sufficient
energy must be provided to the mud to carry the cuttings
through the long high inclined sections.
Turbulent flow is normally more efficient to clean the
wellbore than laminar flow. However, the flow rate necessary
to provide turbulent flow may be so high that it will exceed
the rig pumps capability in terms of pump pressure. This
situation will be more common when a mud motor is added to
the string.
Use of large diameter drill pipes may minimize hydraulic
problems since it will imply in less friction loss inside the
string and a more constrained annular. When these drill pipes
are not available, another solution will be the use of drilling
fluids specially designed for extended reach wells
15
with
improved cuttings transport capability.

Conclusions and Final Remarks
Drill-strings for extended reach wells should be designed
taking into account simultaneously the various parameters
involved. The main objective of the first part of this paper was
to draw attention for those important points, emphasize
theoretical aspects of the buckling problem, recommend a
procedure to deal with fatigue accumulation and indicate the
fundamental literature used to establish the basics of our
design process.
For practical purposes, when using high diameter
drillpipes (5 in. or bigger), torque can be disregarded for
calculation of critical buckling force.
In the second part of the paper, besides emphasizing the
design of casing strings, actual field cases for two extended
reach wells will be described in detail.

Nomenclature
F =Axial load acting on the pipe, lbf.
E =Youngs modulus, psi.
I =Moment of inertia, in
4
.
EI =Bending Stiffness, lbf.in
2
.
T =torque on the string, lbf.ft.
w =unit weight of the pipe (immerse in fluid), lbf/ft.
r =radial clearance between the pipe and the
wellbore, in.
p =length of helix pitch,ft.
=well inclination, degree.

Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank Petrobras for permission for
publishing this paper.

References
1. Dale, B. A.: An Experimental Investigation on Fatigue
Crack Grouth in Drillstring Tubulars, paper SPE 15559,
presented at the 61
st
. Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition, New Orleans, LA, October 5-8, 1986.
2. Cunha, J. C.: Risk Analysis Theory Applied to Fishing
Operations: A New Approach on the Decision-Making
Problem, paper SPE 28726, presented at the
International Petroleum Conference and Exhibition of
Mexico, October 10-13, 1994.
3. Miska, S., Qiu, W., Volk, L. and Cunha, J. C.: An
Improved Analysis of Axial Force Along Coil Tubing in
Inclined Horizontal Wellbores, paper SPE 37056
presented at the SPE International Horizontal Well
Technology, Calgary, Canada, November 18-20, 1996.
4. Lubinski, A.: A Study On The Buckling Of Rotary
Strings, API Drilling Production Practice, pp 178-214
(1950).
5. Dawson, R. and Paslay, P. R.: "Drill Pipe Buckling in
Inclined Holes," paper presented at the 57th Annual Fall
Technical Conference of the SPE of AIME, New Orleans,
LA, September 1982.
6. Mitchell, R. F.: "Frictional Forces in Helical Buckling of
Tubing," Paper SPE 13064 presented at the 59th Annual
Fall Technical Conference of the SPE of AIME, Houston,
TX, 1984.
7. Chen, Y. C. and Cheatham, J. B.: "Wall Contact Forces on
Helically Buckled Tubulars in Inclined Wells,"
Transactions of the ASME, Vol. 112, June, 1990 (142-
144).
8. Wu, J. and Juvkam-Wold, H. C.: Study of Helical
Buckling of Pipes in Horizontal Wells, paper SPE 25503
presented at the Production Operations Symposium,
Oklahoma City, OK, March 1993.
9. Miska, S. and Cunha, J. C.: An Analysis of Helical
Buckling of Tubulars Subjected to Axial and Torsional
Loading in Inclined Wellbores, paper SPE 29460
presented at the Production Operations Symposium,
Oklahoma City, OK, April 1995.
4 SPE/PS-CIM/CHOA 79001
10. Cunha, J. C.: Experimental and Mathematical Analysis
of Buckling of Tubulars Subjected to Axial and Torsional
Loading in Inclined and Horizontal Wells, paper
presented at the Drilling Symposium of the ASME ETCE
96, Houston, TX, January 1996.
11. Hill, T. H., Summers, M. A. and Guild, G. J.: Designing
and Qualifying Drillstrings for Extended-Reach Drilling,
SPE Drilling and Completion, pp. 111-117, June 1996.
12. Cunha, J. C.: Buckling Behavior of Tubulars in Oil and
Gas Wells. A Theoretical and Experimental Study with
Emphasis on the Torque Effect, Ph. D. Dissertation, The
University of Tulsa, 1995.
13. Sampaio Jr., J. H. B., Placido, J. C. R. and Ferreira, S. N.:
Using Radio Frequency Identification Electronic Chips
to Effectively Control the Elements of Drillstring, paper
SPE 49203 presented at the SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, LA, September
27-30, 1998.
14. Placido, J. C. R.: Development of a Predictive Drillpipe
Fatigue Model and Experimental Verification, Ph.D.
dissertation, The University of Tulsa, 1994.
15. Cunha, J. C., Martins, A. L, Sa, C. H. M. and Fernandes,
P. D.: Planning Extended Reach Wells for Deep Water,
paper SPE 74400, presented at the International
Petroleum Conference and Exhibition of Mexico,
February 10-12, 2002.

SI Metric Conversion Factors
Ft x 3.048 E -01 = m
in x 2.54 E +00 = cm
psi x 6.894 757 E +00 = KPa
lbf x 4.448 222 E +00 = N


T=15000 lbf.ft - 30 Degree Wellbore
0.00
2.00
4.00
6.00
8.00
10.00
12.00
14.00
0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09
EI (lbf.in2)
D
e
c
r
e
a
s
e

i
n

B
u
c
k
l
i
n
g

R
e
s
i
s
t
a
n
c
e

(
%
)

Figure 1: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending
Stiffness T=15000 lbf.ft Wellbore Inclination 30 Degrees

T=25000 lbf.ft - 30 Degree Wellbore
0.00
5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00
25.00
0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09
EI (lbf.in2)
D
e
c
r
e
a
s
e

i
n

B
u
c
k
l
i
n
g

R
e
s
i
s
t
a
n
c
e

(
%
)

Figure 2: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending
Stiffness T=25000 lbf.ft Wellbore Inclination 30 Degrees

T=15000 lbf.ft - Horizontal Wellbore
0.00
1.00
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
6.00
7.00
8.00
9.00
10.00
0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09
EI (lbf.in2)
D
e
c
r
e
a
s
e

i
n

B
u
c
k
l
i
n
g

R
e
s
i
s
t
a
n
c
e

(
%
)

Figure 3: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending
Stiffness T=15000 lbf.ft Horizontal Wellbore

T=25000 lbf.ft - Horizontal Wellbore
0.00
2.00
4.00
6.00
8.00
10.00
12.00
14.00
16.00
18.00
0.00E+00 2.00E+08 4.00E+08 6.00E+08 8.00E+08 1.00E+09 1.20E+09
EI (lbf.in2)
D
e
c
r
e
a
s
e

i
n

B
u
c
k
l
i
n
g

R
e
s
i
s
t
a
n
c
e

(
%
)

Figure 4: Reduction in Critical Buckling Load x Bending
Stiffness T=25000 lbf.ft Horizontal Wellbore