You are on page 1of 14

I Societyof PetroleumEngineers

SPE 24614

Directional and Stability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits With

Non-Axisymmetric Loading
P.E. Pastusek and C.H. Cooley, Hughes Christensen; L.A. Sinor, Amoco Production Co.;
and Mark Anderson, Hughes Christensen
SPE Members

Copyright 1992, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.

This paper was prepared for prfsentationat the 67th Annual Technical Conference and Exhibitionof the Scciety of Petroleum Engineers held in Wshingtoo, DC, October 4-7, 1992.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of informationcontained in an abstract submitted by the author@).Contents of the paper,
as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(?,). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect
any positionof the Society of PetroleumEngineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE meetings are subject to publicationreview by EditorialCommitteesof the Society
of Petroleum Engineers. Permissionto copy is reslrictedto an abstract of n more h a words. Illustrationsmay not be copied. The abstractshouldcontain conspicuous ackmwledgmenl
of where and by whom the paper is presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 750833836 U.S.A. Telex, 730989 SPEDAL.

Abstract Introduction
One concept to avoid downhole vibrations with PDC Suppression of the bit whirl phenomena has
bits requires a net side force that rotates with the bit dramatically changed the design and operation of
and pushes a low friction gage pad against the PDC drill One of the methods used to control
borehole (anti-whirl bit). When drilling with an angle whirl involves designing the cutter locations to
build assembly or in an angled hole, a non-rotating generate a resultant imbalance force that is directed
side load is applied to the bit. When drilling with a toward a low friction gage ad.^*^ This design
steerable assembly in the rotate mode, the bit axis is technique stabilizes the bit against the hole wall.
tilted relative to the profile of the bottom of the hole.
This axis tilt affects the bit cutting forces and may In a recent study, three non-axisymetric load cases
consequently affect bit stability. This paper that may affect stability were examined. When
investigates these non-axisymetric loads for their drilling with directional assemblies, or in high angle
effects on the stability characteristics of anti-whirl wells, an external side load is applied to the bit. In
designs as they compare with standard PDC bits. anisotropic rock, the cutting forces change as the bit
rotates, thereby changing the imbalance force vector
A second hypothesis holds that standard PDC bits of the bit with time. Lastly, when drilling with
occasionally whirl on directional bottomhole steerable assemblies, the bit axis is tilted relative to
assemblies, which leads to overgage holes and the direction of bit motion. This modifies the cutting
ledging. The build rates, hole diameter, and ledging forces that are generated, thus modifying the
characteristics of anti-whirl bits are compared to resultant imbalance force.
standard PDC bits.
Since bit stability was uncertain in the above
Comparisons were established in lab tests using situations, early field tests of anti-whirl designs were
standard and anti-whirl PDC bits both in an restricted to straight, low-angle holes, drilled with
anisotropic formation (Green River shale) and in an conventional rotary assemblies, In order to eliminate
isotropic formation (Carthage limestone) with a non- these restrictions and understand the effects of
axisymetric loading. loading as previously described, lab and field
comparisons were undertaken on conventional and
Further, a comparison is made between two anti-whirl PDC bits.
directional wells drilled at a field research facility
using the same surface hole. One well was drilled Lab tests were conducted in both anisotropic and
with a standard PDC bit; the other with an anti-whirl isotropic rocks with non-axisymetric loading. The
PDC bit. The two wells are compared for surface resulting loads and displacements were then
vibration level, rate of penetration, build rate, dull recorded. The test results yielded insight into the
condition of the bits, and hole diameter and ledging effects of loads and displacements on the cutting
from calipers of the wellbore. forces that are produced and their subsequent effect
Directionallstability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits SPE 24614

on bit stability. The setup for these tests are similar

to the DEA 43 program for measuring bit walk and
are described in detail in Reference 6.

Afterwards, the drilling of t w o test wells on steerable

and angle build motor assemblies effectively
compared the response of conventional and anti-
whirl PDC bits and led t o the development of
practical field guidelines for anti-whirl bits.
Furthermore, the tests resulted in the removal of the
directional restrictions that were placed on the use of
anti-whirl bits. This work has also generated some
insight into the issue of hole spiraling on steerable

Directional Lab Tests

Anisotropic Formation
Five full-scale pressure tests were run7 in anisotropic
samples of Green River shale. A load cell was placed FIGURE 1
above the bit t o measure weight, torque and drill Setup for Anisotropic and Non-axisymetric
string bending. The objective was t o compare the Load Tests.
stability and deviation response of conventional and
anti-whirl PDC bits. The sample bedding plane was observed that the greatest effect on side cutting
35O, from earlier tests this orientation was found to action appears to be the gage pad design. The
cause large bit deviations. Fig. 1 shows the test set- baseline bit has exposed (broached) diamonds on the
up. As shown, the load cell and stabilizer are gage pad surfaces. The forces generated by the
mounted so the bending in a load cell will be Green River shale caused this bit to have the highest
proportional to the deviation. lateral displacement. Testing the same design, but
incorporating a smooth or flush set gage, resulted in
Fig. 2 summarizes the results for the bits tested, a bending moment that was 213 that of the baseline
drawings of which are shown in Fig. 3a-3e. It was bit.

Test Type: Anisotropic Non-Axisymetric Steerable System

Rock Type: Green River Shale Carthage Marble Catoosa Lithology
Mud Type: Water based 10.1 ppg water 10 ppg, water
Flow Rate: 350 GPM 350 GPM 450 GPM
Bore Hole Pressure: 2000 psi Atmospheric Mud Column
Rotary Speed: 120 RPM 120 RPM 250 RPM motor, 0-90 rotarl
Weight on Bit: 16,000 Ibs. 5,000 Ibs. 6,000-10.000 Ibs.
Side Load: Variable 1,000 Ibs. BHA Controlled
Bit Sizes: 8 112" and 8 314" 8 112" and 8 314" 8 112"

Bit IADC Comments Bending Amplitude Lateral Deflection Dog Leg Severity (01100 ft)
Bit Type (ft-lbs) (ft.lft.) loMotor 2OX2" Motor

A M333 STD-baseline with broached 2500 6.55 14.55

gage, medium parabolic profile

B M333 STD with flush set gage 1600 0.0050

C M332 Anti-whirl - short profile 1 100 0.01 00

D M332 Anti-whirl - deeper cone 1500 0.0083

E M332 Anti-whirl - medium parabolic profile 1800 0.0074 4.94 11.24

Theoretical Build Rates for 5.01 13.24

Wells 19B and 19C

Bending, Lateral D e f l k t i o n and Build Rates for Conventional and Anti-Whirl Bits
SPE 24614 P. Pastusek, C. Cooley, M. Anderson & A. Sinor

Three anti-whirl bit designs were compared to these

first two bits. All three employed a flush set gage,
with additional design features t o make them whirl
resistant. The performance of the anti-whirl bits was
similar to that of the conventional flush set gage
design, with a few notable exceptions. The shortest
profile anti-whirl bit design (Fig. 3c) had the lowest
lateral displacement and the longer, medium
parabolic, profile had the highest displacement (Fig.
3e). This suggests short profiles are less affected by
anisotropic formations, but since anti-whirl designs
generally have shorter profiles than conventional bits,
their reaction to anisotropic formations should be
less pronounced.

Based on the data, the characteristics of the

anisotropic formation was shown t o be responsible
for a several thousand-pound side load at the start of
each test. As the test proceeds, the drill string
reaction force increases. A t steady state, these two
forces are equal and the lateral rate of displacement
is zero. Consequently, over the course of each test
the net side load acting on the bits varied from
2,000-3,000 Ibs t o near zero.

Whirl was detected in the bending signal and later

confirmed by observing the bottom hole pattern
created by the conventional baseline PDC design.
Though the bit whirled at one point, the whirling
subsided as the test proceeded. The potential for
whirl in these conditions was pointed out by Clegg in
reference 8. Despite the varying side load, the
remaining designs showed no signs of whirl.
Although this is not fully understood, one possible
explanation is that the external side load acts against
the bit imbalance for half of a revolution and acts
with the side load for half of a revolution. Any
incipient whirl is stopped within one half of a FIGURE 3
revolution. Profile and Face Views of Bits Used
in the Lab and Field Tests

In summary, these results suggest anti-whirl bits are

stable over a wide range of side load conditions. Non-axisymetric Loading
Further, the conventional, broached gage PDC bit Non-axisymetric loading occurs when an external
had the largest displacement in reaction to the side force, such as gravity or bottom hole assembly
anisotropic formation forces. Conversely, the short (BHA) forces, are applied to the bit. This prompted a
profile anti-whirl design had the least lateral second series of lab tests with a twofold objective:
displacement. Compared t o conventional PDC to understand the effect of non-axisymetric loads on
designs, anti-whirl bits tend to drill more in the the stability of an anti-whirl bit, and to understand
direction of where they are pointed and are less the lateral rate of displacement differences between
influenced by where they are pushed. conventional and anti-whirl designs.
DirectionalIStability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits SPE 24614

The test set-up is shown in Fig. 1. The bit was Both wells were drilled from a common surface
spudded three to four inc.hes with no side load, a t location. Well 19B was drilled with an anti-whirl PDC
which point vertical and side loads were applied and bit; well 19C was drilled with a conventional PDC
held constant while the bit drilled. bit. The lithology of the area and previous straight
hole whirl tests at this test facility have been well
The lateral rates of displacement of the smooth gage doc~rnented.~Data collection for the drilling
bits were all very low, as seen in Fig. 2. From other parameters was set t o record every 0.25 ft or once
unpublished data, the broached gage design lateral per minute, whichever occured first. The first two
displacement rate was an order of magnitude higher hard limestone intervals were drilled in sliding mode,
or more. while the later intervals were drilled in rotary mode.
The anti-whirl bit is similar t o the medium parabolic
Of the smooth gage bits, the short profile anti-whirl design used in the previously discussed lab tests
had the highest lateral rate, while the conventional (Fig. 3e); the conventional design is similar to the
and medium parabolic anti-whirl bits recorded the baseline bit used in the same tests (Fig. 3a). (The lab
lowest. The differences in profile, however, are tests were generally with 8 314 and the field tests
overshadowed by differences attributed to the gage were with 8 112 size bits.)

Again, the conventional design whirled.through part

of the test, while the. other designs showed no
evidence of whirl. These tests were run at only one
load condition. More tests, using different side and
axial loads, are planned t o better understand stability
with non-axisymetric loading.

For the loads tested, the anti-whirl designs were

deemed stable and significantly less influenced by
side loads than was the baseline conventional PDC
bit. The smooth gage design of the anti-whirl bits is
credited for their minimal response t o side loads. This
factor should be considered when planning BHA's,
because a slick assembly with a noncutting bit gage
design could prove t o build, rather than drop, angle.

Controlled Directional Field Test

Test Set-Up
Two directional test .wells were kicked off and drilled
with steerable and directional assemblies (Fig. 41,
with the following objectives:

Confirm that anti-whirl bits can be used on

directional assemblies without losing the advantage
of stability inherent in the anti-whirl concept;
Steerable and Angle-Build Bottom Hole
Compare the bit damage between anti-whirl and
Assemblies used for Wells 19B and 19C.
conventional bits run on steerable systems;

Compare the directional characteristics of the bits; The wells were drilled using the same BHA and
and steerable motor settings. Attempts to match the
operating parameters (weight on bit (WOB), flow
Establish operating parameters for using anti-whirl rate, and sliding and rotary mode) at the same
bits on steerable systems. vertical depths were generally successful.
SPE 24614 P. Pastusek, C. Cooley, M. Anderson & A. Sinor 5

During planning, particular attention was focused on the Mississippi limestone, the comparison is valid.
the high compressive strength limestone formations
that, based on earlier straight hole tests, were Surface Torque Measurements
considered destructive to PDC bits. The formations The Delta Torque traces shown in the third column
included the Verdigris limestone at 391 f t TVD, the of Fig. 5 represent the differences between the
Pink limestone at 61 1 ft TVD, an unnamed limestone minimum and maximum torque for the data collection
at 1070 ft TVD, and the Mississippi limestone that interval. This indicates torsional vibration levels,
runs from 1274 ft TVD to the end of the wells. which, in turn, indicates whirl.

Operating Conditions The anti-whirl bit ran very quiet for most of well
Dotted and heavy lines in the second column of Fig. 19B, with the only noticeable torsional vibration
5 details when each well was drilled in sliding mode. levels occurring during the rotary speed test. This
For most of the depth, the wells match - mismatches will be discussed in more detail later.
were selected in low-whirl-risk areas to compensate
for differences in build rate. The flow rate for both For most of the intervals, the torque signal for the
these wells was held constant at 450 gpm, tagging conventional bit was significantly above the level
bottom at half flow rate to slow the motor RPM and observed by the anti-whirl design. This would
minmize off bottom whirl. For the most part, the indicate the conventional bit whirled a good portion
WOB was set at 6,000 Ibs for both wells, but was of the time it was drilling well 19C.
increased in the harder intervals to minimize the
vibration that was observed at the surface. The Bit Vibration Signals
surface-indicated WOB was also increased in the To monitor drill string vibrations, an axial
lower intervals as string drag became more accelerometer was mounted on the cross head of the
significant. In the second well, much of the string hydraulic rotary drive. Complementing the axial
drag was eliminated by placing the drill collars in the rotary drive accelerometer is a surface vibration
vertical section higher in the hole. sensor package attached to the drill string below the
rotary drive assembly. The vibrations are transmitted
Rate of Penetration from downhole, through the drill pipe and to these
The anti-whirl bit drilled 1407 ft in 17.06 hours for sensors. This system measured axial, torsional and
an average rate of penetration (ROP) of 82.5 ftlhr. radial accelerations, along with dynamic and static
Comparatively, the conventional bit drilled 1307 ftlhr load and torque.'' The sensor locations and the
in 21 hours for an average ROP of 62.2 ftlhr. The software make the drill string system much more
slower conventional ROP is believed to be due to less sensitive to the downhole vibrations than the rotary
efficient drilling due to bit vibration and the over drive accelerometer. However, this second system
gage hole drilled. had not been used for the detection of whirl on this
rig before. The rotary sensor, by contrast, has been
To avoid bit damage when re-entering the harder used on all previous whirl tests with this rig.
sections, the peak ROP was generally limited to 150
ftlhr. The ROP in the harder sections was maximized The accelerometer traces in the fourth column of Fig.
in both wells by running the bits near the motor stall 5 represent the differences between the maximum
torque. and minimum acceleration signals emitted from the
rotary drive. Again, the conventional PDC bit had a
As shown in the first column of Fig. 5, the ROP of high signal for most intervals, thereby suggesting
the conventional bit is quite erratic and normally significant bit whirl.
below the limited rate of 150 ftlhr. On the other
hand, the anti-whirl bit usually drilled at the 150 ftlhr A key interval was the Verdigris limestone at 391
ceiling in all but the hard limestone sections. The TVD. There, the vibration energy of the anti-whirl bit
anti-whirl bit drilled the Mississippi limestone section rose as the penetration rate dropped below 10 ftlhr,
at a significantly higher rate than did the but quickly abated as the weight on bit was
conventional bit. In this interval, substantially more increased. Part of this increase in energy is due to
weight was added to the anti-whirl bit, but this well the formation change, a harder rock can impart more
experienced string drag problems, which were energy to the drill string. By comparison, the
blamed on the low placement of the drill collars. conventional bit goes off the scale, despite an
Since the ROP of both bits was maximized through identical increase in WOB, a good indication of whirl.
Directionallstability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits SPE 24614

o e * o & o & + ~ # o r~ r 9
(ftlhr) (000Ibs.)
8V2" Bit Diameter
ROP, Vibration and Caliper Logs of Wells 19B and 19C
(Anti-Whirl as Dark Line - Conventional as Light Line)
SPE 24614 P. Pastusek, C. Cooley, M. Anderson & A. Sinor

( f t l hr)
+? f o(000
e ) lbs? .8 0&4$?.$ + * (inches)
Q 4
FIGURE 5 (Continued)
DirectionalIStability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits SPE 24614

O &
( f t l hr)
.op B 6 O
(000 Ibs.)
8 0&#@ 0 2. b e Q

FIGURE 5 (Continued)
SPE 24614 P. Pastusek, C. Cooley, M. Anderson & A. Sinor
Also noteworthy is the section from 500-600 ft
TVD, where both bits drilled at 150 ftlhr. Though
high penetration rates customarily reduce the
probability of bit whirl, in this section the
conventional bit accelerometer signal went off scale.
In this same interval, the torsional signal was also

Below 630 ft TVD, the accelerometer signals settle

down to the background noise of the rig. This
corresponds to 20' of hole inclination. Caliper data
suggest the conventional bit continued to whirl, but
the damping effect of the hole wall on the drill string
vibrations made it difficult to detect at the surface.

The two time-based accelerometer plots shown in

Fig. 6 and 7 reflect the differences observed at the
surface between whirl and no whirl. The first
comparison (Fig. 6) is for the conventional and anti-
whirl bits drilling in the Verdigris limestone. (Note,
the measured depths are handwritten to the side of
each chart.) Here, vibration-induced whirl is evident
for the conventional bit. The comparison for Pink
limestone (Fig. 7) again signifies the conventional
PDC bit is whirling.
Torque and accelerometer signals suggest the anti- Time Based Plots of Anti-Whirl and Conventional
whirl bit never whirled in either rotary or sliding PDC Bits Drilling the Verdigris Limestone.
mode while drilling well 19B. The bit, however, did
whirl during a rotary test at the conclusion of the
well. By comparison, the conventional bit appeared
to have whirled during most of its run in well 19C,
including the rotary test at the end. Also significant
is the fact that well 19C experienced a MWD failure
that may be related to the severe vibration generated
by the standard bit.

Caliper Log
The caliper logs of these two wells are shown in the
last columns in Fig. 5. With the exception of areas of
sloughing shale, which are common to both wells,
the anti-whirl bit is close to gage for the entire hole.
The lower part of these wells could not be calipered,
because of the high angle and bridging.

For the conventional bit, the caliper shows hole

sections that are 112" to 1" over gage, excluding the I -

sloughing areas. The over-gage sections correspond . #

with high vibration levels, which usually confirm bit V

whirl. The over-gage hole can be detrimental in
predicting well paths. Moreover, rapid changes in
I . . .- ......
diameter can cause the string to sticklslip while
drilling and hang up when exiting the hole. ANT CONVENTIONAL
Video logs were taken on both wells to better define Time Based Plots of Anti-Whirl and Conventional
the bore hole wall geometry, but the sloughing PDC Bits Drilling the Pink Limestone.
10 DirectionalIStability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits SPE 24614

shales clouded the borehole, effectively obscuring Before the rotary test, eight of the flank and gage
most features of interest. cutters on the conventional bit were either chipped
or damaged, while the other cutters remained sharp.
Hole spiralling Further, the gage pads remained in gage; although,
The caliper log of the conventional bit shows a the leading edge was beginning to round over. A few
distinct sinusoidal pattern between 550-590 ft TVD of the broach diamonds near the face of the bit were
while in the sliding mode. This also appears in rotary fractured or missing, which is one of the early signs
mode at 780-870 ft and at 1080-1130 ft TVD. Close of whirl. The dull analysis corroborates that the bit
inspection of the caliper log strongly indicates the had whirled through much of this well.
wellbore spiralled in these intervals, which were the
points where bit whirl was detected. The anti-whirl The gage pad at the pin end showed severe wear
bit did not exhibit this pattern, nor did it show caused by the bit being pulled back and through a
evidence of whirl. Subsequent analysis of the ledge. Borehole ledging is most likely another result
surface vibration measurements indicate an of whirl.''
amplitude modulation of the torsional signal with a
wavelength of approximately 3.7 and 7.2 ft." This After the rotary speed test, most of the cutters on
corresponds to the distance between the bit and the conventional bit showed slight chipping at the
motor stabilizer and between the bit and motor bent edge, with the worst damage observed on the flank
housing. and gage cutters. All of the ground gage trimmers
were spalled or chipped. It was determined that the
Although difficult to confirm, this data indicates that high drill pipe speeds had been especially damaging.
hole spiraling can occur in both rotary and sliding
modes and is closely related to bit whirl. Conversely, the anti-whirl bit exhibited only minor
cutter wear prior to the rotary test. Only five of the
Rotary Speed Test flank cutters were slightly chipped, but most of them
A rotary speed test with the steerable system was retained their original diamond edge. The carbide
performed at the end of both wells to determine if backing was not yet in contact with the formation.
pipe speed had an effect on bit stability. The motor The dull analysis confirmed the anti-whirl bit had
speed was held constant at 250 rpm, while the drill remained stable for most of the well.
pipe speed varied from 20-90 rpm.
After the rotary speed test, which was conducted in
The anti-whirl bit ran smoothly up to a surface speed less than 50 ft, most of the flank cutters were
of 60-70 rpm, but began to show significant chipped and spalled. This would have merited a dull
vibration levels above this. The conventional bit also grading of 218 to 318 worn and reveals the rapid
appeared to be running smoothly at the lower destructive effects of bit whirl in a harder formation
speeds, but began whirling as the speed increased. (20,000 - 60,000 psi triaxial compressive strengths).
This tendency was confirmed by an evaluation of the The bit remained in gage at the conclusion of the
dull bit. This strongly suggests that rotary speed run, though there was minor wear on the low-friction
should be kept low on steerable systems to avoid gage pads.
Directional Control
Bit Damage In order to compare the build up rates, both wells
Both bits were pulled after drilling each hard drilled planned intervals with similar directional motor
limestone section and inspected for damage. The assemblies. These consisted of a sidetrack assembly,
most surprising observation was the small amount of a steerable angle build assembly and a 'fixed angle
damage on the conventional bit, considering it had build assembly, examples of which are shown in Fig.
whirled through much of the well. Previously, 4.
conventional PDC bits run on rotary through the
same intervals had exhibited severe damage if they Both wells were sidetracked with an 8 314" IADC
whirled. While several theories have emerged to 517 type bit. The bit was run on a 6 314" low-speed,
explain the minimal damage, it will require additional high-torque motor with a 2.3' bent housing that was
tests to truly understand the phenomena. Learning configured with 8 114" top and bottom stabilizers.
why damage was so greatly reduced could open the Measurement while drilling (MWD) equipment was
door for significantly reducing the destructive effects run throughout both wells. Once they were
of whirling. sidetracked, 8 112" PDC bits were run with the same
SPE 24614 P. Pastusek, C. Cooley, M. Anderson & A. Sinor

corifiguration, with a 1.OO bent housing. Commonly Surveys and Orientations.of Well 19B
called a steerable motor, the tower bent housing
setting allowed for drilling in the rotary or sliding
mode. Also run on both wells was a 6 314" angle
build motor, which was configured with a 2.0' bent
housing and a 2.0' bent sub. The top and bottom
stabilizers were again 8 114" in diameter.
571 u . 7 53.0 568.~1 4.a4
These BHA's were chosen based on a three-point 600
15.1 55.5
16.2 $6.1
195-720 High
geometry model. This BHA model indicated a l.OO 662
17.7 61.3
18.8 61.5
bent housing shouid theoretically build 5.01 "/I 0 ft. 722
19.8 62.1
19.7 61.5
Conversely, the same motor with a 2.0 bent 782
20.1 59.6
762-850 85,
housing and a 2.0' bent sub should theoretically 840
21.0 50.1
20.9 48.5
build 13.24/100 ft. 900 22.8 49.0 879.32 DOUbh 887--70 0-lS' 6.36

Fig. 8 ilIustrates the directional paths of both wells,

Fig. 9 contains all surveys, tool face orientation, and
dog leg severity information A strong right hand
walk tendency was observed on both wells, but was
more prevalent on Well 19C. Both wells drilled
similar paths, but a change in azimuth on Welt 19C
reduced the risk of intersecting Well 19B.

Theoretical vs actual build up rates are listed in Fig.

2. As shown, Well 19B, which was drilled with an
anti-whirl bit, produced build up rates close to the
calculated thewetieat,. Actual build up rates with the

XD PIE urm, Ycrma

UI*D(Sl -
Surveys and Orientations of Well 19C
n c H

Directional and Dog Leg Severity Plots of FIGURE 9
Wells 19B and 19C. information for Wells 198 and 19C.
12 Directional/Stability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits SPE 24614

anti-whirl bit averaged 4.94/100 ft with the Ledges supporting the drill string caused increased
steerable assembly, while building angle to 20' and drag at a measured depth of 1,690 ft (1,360 ft
at that point making an 88O left orientation. Build up TVD). The drill string was reciprocated to evaluate
rates for the conventional bit qn run Well 19C were the condition of the well bore. It was found to have
much higher than both theoretical and Well 19B. -
10,000 40,000 Ibs of up drag and 5,000 10,000 -
Ibs down drag. As noted in the dull evaluation of the
While drilling a similar well plan i n Well 19C. build up conventional bit, the pin end of the gage .pads
rates with the same assembly averaged 6.55i0/1 00 ft showed severe wear due t o [edging.
- a 25% increase over the anti-whirl build up rate.
Some of the increase in build up rate is attributed to This condition caused ,many stick slip conditions to
a longer left hand turn on 19C, but greater build up occur, which reduced penetration rates while sliding
rates were observed in the high angle build interval through this interval. Weight on bit variations can
as well. also be clearly seen while drilling this interval. Even
though the conventional bit drilled a larger hole, drill
Build up rate reductions in the high angle build string drag was more evident on this well when both
interval were observed with the anti-whirl bit. The wells were using the inverted BHA.
average build-up rate seen with the anti-whirl bit 4n
Well 196 was 11.24/1 00 ft. Two different bit
designs were run in the high angle build section of Field Summary
Well 19C. A conventional PDC with a broached The tests confirmed the feasibility of running anti-
diamond gage was run in the upper interval and a whirl bits on steerable systems and the potential
conventional shallow cone profile PDC bit with a benefits insofar as directional control, hole spiraling
smooth gage was run in the lower interval. Build and bit damage is concerned. Reasonable operating
rates dropped from an average of 14.5!j0/l 00 ft with practices for steerable systems have been
the broached diamond gage bit t o 11.91 00 ft determined, leading t o increased confidence in their
with the smooth gage bit. The anti-whirl and smooth ability to prevent whirl, These controlled field tests
gage conventional bit achieved build up rates of 77 are very valuable because this type of operational
and 81% respectively of .the conventional broached parameter study usually is not possible in commercial
gage bit. applications. Finally, the comparison of build rates
between the conventional and anti-whirl bits has
The. lower build up rate with anti-whirl bits are provided guidance for well and BHA planning when
attributed to-thesmooth gage pad design and do not using anti-whirl bits in directional wells.
appear to be affected .by other anti-whirl design
Recommended Drillina Practices
Hole Ledging - .. Based on these tests, the following guidelines have
Drill string drag required more weight on bit in the been developed for running anti-wti~rl bits on
lower sections of both wells. String drag was evident directional assemblies:
on Well 19B because of the lower placement of the
drill collars and the running of aluminum pipe. When use high-torquehow-speed motors. Since harder
a trip was made t o observe the condition of the anti- formations can be drilled with anti-whirl bits, a high-
torque motor will permit the use of the higher bit
whirl bit, 30 join* of 4%" steel drill pipe were run
below the drill collars. By inverting the drill string a
common practice with horizontal, BHA's the string
weights required t o maintain bit stability.

drag was substantially reduced. This was repeated * * Touch bottom with half the normal drilling flow
on Well 19C. rate, then simultaneously bring up the weight and
pump speed. This should reduce the possibility of
As discussed previously, inspection of the caliper log off-bottom whirl continuing once drilling resumes.
. - in Well 19C strongly indicates hole spiralling (This may have t o be modified when drilling balling
occurred when the conventional bit appeared to be type formations).
whirling the worst. This persistent condition
increased drag as the well progressed, even with the When in rotary mode, keep the drill pipe speed
inverted drill string. slow (20-40 rpml. Higher speeds tend to lead to
SPE 24614 .
P. Pastusek, C. Cooley, M Anderson & A. Sinor 13

Adjust the well plan and BHA for the differences in appears to have a significant, albeit secondary,
build rate. This will depend on the previous bit type effect on their side cutting ability.
and whether or not it drilled an over gage hole
(whirled). The build rate of anti-whirl bits on steerable
systems is lower than it is with conventional PDC
Conclusions designs. This is attributed to the smooth gage pad
Since not all anti-whirl bits incorporate the same design of the anti-whirl bit.
design rules, the results of this study may not apply
to other concepts. The following conclusions apply Anti-whirl bits, as shown, tend to deviate less in
only to the designs evaluated in the aforementioned anisotropic formations than do broached gage bits.
lab and field tests.
The non-active gage on anti-whirl bits should be
Lab tests have been developed that show a considered when selecting BHA's on rotary.
significant difference in the directional behavior of
conventional and anti-whirl PDC bits. Further, well- Hole spiraling with steerable systems appears to be
controlled field tests can be used to qualify and related to bit whirl, with the wave length controlled
quantify these directional differences. by the distances between the bit, stabilizer and
motor bend. Using anti-whirl bits should reduce, or
Anti-whirl bit designs evaluated for stability in this even eliminate, hole spiraling, which modulates the
series of tests are less sensitive to anisotropic vibration signals received at the surface. These
formations and external side loads than conventional signals can be used to monitor spiraling.
Operating parameters are important in avoiding bit
The axis tilt encountered in drilling with steerable whirl on steerable systems, particularly string rpm in
systems in both rotary and sliding mode does not rotary mode.
affect stability of the anti-whirl designs tested.
Through some yet unknown mechanism, whirl-
The reduced side cutting ability of anti-whirl bits is induced damage to PDC bits is reduced on steerable
primarily affected by the smooth gage pads systems.
employed in these designs. Furthermore, bit profile

The authors thank the management of Hughes represent the following companies: Amoco
Christensen Company and Amoco Production Production Company, Develco, Eastman Teleco,
Company for permission to publish this paper. Exlog MWD, Exlog-Adams, Hanson and Associates
Appreciation is also extended to the more than 40 and Hughes Christensen Company.
individuals deeply involved in these tests. They


1. Brett, J.F., Warren, T.M., and Behr, S.M.,: 4. Brett et al., "Method of Making Imbalanced
"Bit Whirl: A New Theory of PDC Bit Failure", SPE Drill Bit", US Patent 5,010,789, Issued: April 30,
Drilling Engineering (Dec 1990) 275-281 1991

2. Warren, T.M., Brett, J.F., and Sinor, L.A.,: 5. Brett et al., "Imbalance Compensated Drill
"Development of a Whirl Resistant Bit", SPE Drilling Bit", US Patent 5,042,596, Issued: August 27, 1991
Engineering (Dec 1990) 267-274
6. DEA 43 Phase IV , "Proposal to Study Effects
3. Nicholson, J.W., Vandiver, and J.K., Shyu, of BitIRock Interaction on Bit Walk and Hole
R.J.,: "Case Studies of the Bending Vibration and Deviation", Prepared by: TerraTek's, Drilling
Whirling Motion of Drill Collars", SPE Drilling Research Laboratory for presentation to DEA, Feb
Engineering (Dec 1990) 282-290 18, 1992
14 . Directionallstability Characteristics of Anti-Whirl Bits SPE 24614

7. Black A.D. and Green, S.J., "Laboratory "Detection of Various Drilling Phenomena Utilizing
Simulation of Deep Well Drilling", Petroleum Engineer High Frequency Surface Measurementsw, paper SPE
International, (March 1978) 40-48 14327, 80th Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 22-25,
8. Clegg, J.M., "An Analysis of the Field 1985
Performance of Antiwhirl PDC Bits", paper
SPEIIADC 23868 Presented at the 1992 SPEIIADC 1 1. Macpherson, J.,Nagelhout, T., "Report on
Drilling Conference, New Orleans, LA', Feb 18-21 Surface Detection of Bit Whirl Using the Adams Sub,
Amoco Catoosa Wells 19B and 19CW,internal report,
9. Sinor, L.A., Brett, J. F., Warren, T. M ., "Field May 20, 1992
Testing of Low-Friction Gauge PDC Bits", paper SPE
2041 6 Presented at 1990 SPE Annual Technical 12. Cooley, . C.H., Pastusek, P.E., Sinor, L.A.,
Conference, New Orleans, LA, September 23-26 "The Design and Testing of Anti-whirl Bits", paper
SPE 24586 to be presented at the 1992 SPE Annual
10. Besaisow, A.A., Jan, Y.M., and Schuh, F.J., Technical Conference, Washington DC, October 4-7.