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Overcoming Torque and Drag in Horizontal Wells

Bhusal Ashok, Erazo Julian, Crane Davon, Flores Eduardo, Govindu Abhishek, Meek James, Mewbourne School of Petroleum & Geological Engineering, University of Oklahoma

This paper was prepared as a requirement for the Horizontal Well Technology course at the University of Oklahoma, Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering. It was submitted to Dr. Sam Osisanya on 22 nd April, 2013.

This document does not necessarily reflect any position of the University of Oklahoma, the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, its faculty or its members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the author is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where the paper was presented.


Laterals of horizontal wells are steadily increasing, enabling operators to increase production rates while minimizing costs and environmental impacts. Torque and drag is one of the major factors in determining the maximum length in which the horizontal section of the well can be drilled. Understanding techniques to determine potential torque and drag problems along with understanding techniques to reduce torque and drag is critical when drilling and completing a horizontal well. Knowledge of these techniques will ultimately reduce non-productive time (NPT) of the well by significantly reducing any problems that would have occurred due to high torque and drag.

Drilling problems associated with high torque and drag include the drillpipe joints twisting off down hole, buckling, not reaching design target, reduced ROP, BHA failure, inability to set casing at design landing point, and stuck drill pipe. In many cases, large amounts of torque and drag associated with horizontal wells can be related to poor hole cleaning. Poor hole cleaning is often the result of low annular fluid velocity, relatively small settling distance that cuttings have to travel, tortuosity of the well, and inadequate drilling fluid properties.

This report will focus on key aspects to reduce NPT associated with torque and drag when drilling and completing a horizontal well. These aspects include optimizing the mud system to assist in the reduction of torque and drag, torque and drag modeling coupled with down hole measurements of ECD for prompt detection of poor hole cleaning conditions, mechanical tools such as non-rotating drill pipe protectors, and buoyancy assist method to land casing at the design landing point.


The necessity for horizontal development is fueled by the demands of a growing global population that is becoming more sensitive to its environmental impact. The need to continually overcome technical limitations will be critical in meeting expectations as the oil and gas industry is asked to deliver greater value with a smaller footprint. The past three decades have seen aggressive progress in challenging the technical limit of how shallow, long and complex our industry is able to drill, complete, and produce horizontal wells. Overcoming mechanical torque and drag in horizontal wells has presented unique challenges and led to new technologies. An awareness and understanding of these tools and methods are necessary to meet our industries changing demands.


Optimizing Drilling Fluid System

Generally, the mud system may be defined as all of the compositions used to assist the generation and removal of cuttings from a borehole in the ground. Choosing the type of mud system to be used in the drilling depends mainly on the rock properties, costs and the environmental restrictions. The three main categories have an important role in horizontal wells and are discussed in detail below.

Water Based Drilling fluid (WBDF)

These fluids are used in nonreactive formations with medium deep wells. In the horizontal well industry, this fluid is the cheapest and hence cost effective, the most environmental friendly and is easy to perform and use; but the corrosion, the unwanted increase in density due the ability to dissolve salt, the ability of increment the disintegration and dispersion of clays, among other reasons, have represented challenges to the use of Water Based Drilling Fluids (WBDF) in horizontal wells. As a solution to the problems encountered in horizontal drilling, have been development the High Performance Water Based Fluids (HPWBF); The main benefits of HPWBF include the reduction of environmental impacts, and lower down costs associated with cuttings and fluids disposal. Examples are The water- based drilling fluid comprised of partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (PHPA, for cutting encapsulation) and polyamide derivatives (for suppressing the hydration and dispersion tendency of reactive clays) (Reid et al. 1992) and the water-based drilling fluid from a mixture of potassium chloride and polymers (Kjosnes et al. 2003); the first one correspond an a environmentally friendly fluid and can be used as an alternative to OBM and the second improved hole cleaning optimization and hole stability overcoming the problems presented in horizontal drillings.

Oil Based Drilling Fluid (OBDF)

These fluids are used in horizontal drilling because they are stable with high pressure and temperature; but on the other hand they cause some problems as damage to the producing formation, migration of fine solids, the swelling of clays, and invasion of solids.

These problems can reduce the average permeability of the formation and thereby result in these lower production rates. The common base oils used in horizontal drilling are diesel, mineral oil, and some crude oils at some extent. The OBDF are useful in horizontal wells due to the extreme conditions that they have; they have higher boiling point and also lower freezing point and they provides better lubrication compared to WBDF.

Gas Based Drilling Fluid (GBDF)

GBDF can be classified into: dry gas, mist, foam and gel foam. The last two ones correspond to the gas based drilling fluid with more application into the horizontal wells; the hole cleaning is the factor that made them better than the dry gas and mist. The foam and gel foam provides more cutting transport capacity, and that is one of the most important facts in the selection of the mud system, because in the horizontal wells cuts are deposited on the bottom of the hole causing problems with the string movement. Despite the high risk of explosion and corrosion, the gas based drilling fluid can minimized the risk of formation damage, reduce the pressure gradient and drill with faster drilling rate the rock areas; making it in one solution to the horizontal drilling problems.

To supplement the qualities of the mud system, it is often desirable to for friction reduction additives to be included in the mud to decrease the coefficient of friction between pipe, cuttings and wellbore resulting in a lower torque and drag forces. Mud lubricants and co-polymer beads help to reduce friction and are described in greater detail below.


Mud Lubricants

Lubricants are additives to the mud system that been used extensively over the years to reduce torque and drag forces. Many different lubricants have been tried and tested to optimize the lubrication by maximizing the reduction of the coefficient of friction. Lubricants can reduce the coefficient of friction by 30-40%. It is important to note that lab tests, which show a reduction of 80% in the coefficient of friction, translate to 5-15% reduction in torque and drag in the field. New lubricants have been developed that show 90% reduction in the coefficient of friction in the lab. These lubricants adhere to the metal surfaces, ensuring lower concentrations to have significant effect.

Field experiences have varied from successes to failures. There have been cases where the lubricant has counter-productively increased the torque. Their effect on well inflow performance and the absence of return permeability tests has led to ruling out this method of reducing torque and drag for ERD wells.

Co-Polymer Beads

Beads are a mechanical way of reducing the coefficient of friction. These beads are inserted between the drill-string and bore hole. They do not interfere with the chemical composition of the mud system. The size of the beads range from fine grade to coarse grade. The mechanism involved is the drill string slides down the bore hole rolling on the beads, eliminating metal to metal contact during drilling. Beads can lead to severe solid build-up if not removed properly. They have to be removed and recycled. This is done by circulating the drilling fluid to the surface.

Case study

Field Case Study: Dukhan field, Qatar (Oil and Gas Journal 06/12/2000)

In more than 250 horizontal wells in the Dukhan field, Qatar, the use of a thin, non-damaging XC- polymer mud system provided a more-efficient and economical system than using a thick non- damaging polymer mud system.

In the Dukhan field in Qatar bentonite WBM is used to drill the vertical sections. However, the deviated and horizontal sections have been drilled using a thick non-damaging polymer mud system implemented from July 1992 to March 1995. The lithologies encountered in the deviated section (about 1,300 ft) consist of 80% anhydrite and 20% carbonates, and in the horizontal section (about 3,200 ft) consists of about 100% carbonate rocks. The main mud rheology, flow regime, and drilling data of the thick mud system are given in Table 1.

Thick and non-damaging In Qatar, the thick, non-damaging polymer mud systems used to drill the deviated and horizontal sections provided satisfactory results, with the following observations:

About 100 ft off bottom is reamed while tripping mainly in deviated section and commonly greater than 50° inclination. While drilling the horizontal section, the hole is swept with a low viscous pill for solid dispersity action. Mud must be continuously treated in order to maintain a reasonable yield point (YP) across the anhydrite section as the Ca++ concentration increases. Average drag occurs mainly across the deviated section with 50,000 lb. Mud has to be conditioned with appropriate YP and plastic viscosity levels prior to cementation. ROP remains relatively slow due to low water loss or filtration (5 cc/30 min). Chemical consumption and the treatment of the mud are costly. Measurement while drilling (MWD) tool failure has been encountered due to high solid content. As a result of these problems, it has been decided to replace the thick viscous XC-polymer mud with non-damaging, low-shear, thin muds - proposed in March 1995 and implemented in March 1997. The rheology of the thin non-damaging polymer mud system is shown in Table 2. Deviated sections include Hith, Upper Anhydrite, and Arab A and B formations, whereas Arab C reservoir rocks represent horizontal sections. The Upper Jurassic


Hith formation is about 250 ft thick and contains nodular anhydrite. The Hith and Upper anhydrite rocks may represent sabkha or subaqueous evaporite deposits. The Arab C reservoir rocks represent shallow water-shelf deposits.

The objective of using a non-damaging low-shear thin mud is to increase the ROP, improve hole cleaning, and decrease drilling mud costs while resolving the problems Qatar General Petroleum Corp. encountered while using thick viscous XC-polymer mud.

By using a thin non-damaging polymer mud system instead of the thick non-damaging polymer mud, the following results were achieved: Differential sticking was minimized while drilling the troublesome section. Less torque and drag. Thus, no reaming or back reaming was experienced while tripping. Average drag reduction is 50% or about 25,000 lb. No filling or cleaning problems have been encountered in the bottom of the deviated and horizontal sections when the pumps are shut off. By keeping all other drilling factors the same and by slightly reducing the water loss ROP reached 200 fph across some porous intervals in the horizontal section. Additionally, no washout formation problems or deficiency in building up angle have occurred with directional tools. With low gel, no special precautions are required. This avoids swab and surge problems. Conditioning mud prior to cementation is no longer required. Low-viscous pills in horizontal sections are no longer required. The possibility of formation damage is minimized as the polymer consumption is reduced in 81/2-in. and 61/8-in. holes by 48.5% and 28.5%, respectively. The cost percentage savings on mud in 61/8-in. and 81/2-in. holes are about 23% and 42%, respectively. The high solid content problem was controlled. Therefore, no tool problems regarding MWD have been encountered. Surface mechanical foam was the only problem encountered while using NDPMS, especially when 2% rap seed oil was added to the mud. This problem, however, has no effect on pump pressure, kelly hose, and downhole tools. Agitation and the use of mud defoamer controlled the foam problem.

Diagnosing Poor Hole Cleaning

Hole cleaning is a major concern when drilling a horizontal well. Hole cleaning is a factor controlled by the circulating system and is dependent on the hole tortuosity. Extended reach horizontal wells can cause significant hole cleaning problems, which could lead to the need of additional time for mud circulation, back-reaming and short trips to free up trapped cuttings. Trapped cuttings add resistance to drillstring rotation, which proportionally increase friction and surface torque (Maehs et al 2010).

Poor cuttings transport in the wellbore is often the root cause for hole cleaning problems in horizontal wells. Cuttings falling out of suspension and the narrowing of the annular flow area are the two primary mechanisms for an increase in cuttings concentration in a horizontal well. An increase in the friction factor between the wellbore and drillpipe is often the result of an increase in cuttings concentration. A high concentration of cuttings leads to the formation of a continuous cuttings bed on the low side of the wellbore. Once the cutting bed has formed, the friction will increase due to the drillstring being embedded in the cutting beds, creating a higher resistance against the movement of the drillstring.

Torque and drag modeling have been used in the drilling industry since the 1990’s (Terje Tveitdal). However, now that wells are being drilled deeper and longer, torque and drag models are essential in the planning stage and drilling stage of a well to ensure that the drilling rig rotary system is capable of handling the expected hook load. Torque and drag modeling along with real-time downhole measurements can provide useful information to determine if an increase in torque and drag is a result of poor hole cleaning in horizontal wells. Also, torque and drag modeling along with real-time downhole data can be used to avoid drilling problems, thus decreasing the NPT of well.


Torque and drag modeling is commonly used in the field by comparing the real-time measured hook load with the normal value hook load. The normal value hook load is calculated by the torque and drag modeling software. The real-time hook load and normal value hook load data over depth are plotted to clearly see the trend of the real time data compared to the predicted trend of the calculated hook load over depth. Since the torque and drag model uses an estimated friction factor, it is much more important to monitor the trend of the hook load development than to compare it to one specific calculated ideal value (Mitchell et al 2007). For this purpose not only one hook load over depth curve is calculated with one ideal friction factor but several curves within a friction factor range (Mitchel et al 2007) as shown in Figure 1. This hook load over depth curve is very useful in determining hole cleaning condition of the wellbore. An increase in cuttings concentration in the well will increase the torque and drag and by comparing the hook load with its predicted value from the torque and drag model, the hole cleaning condition can be determined.

To ensure that torque and drag modeling is trustworthy for a given well, consistent data from static hook load, weight tripping out of hole, weight tripping in hole, and torque must be collected. Acceptable procedures for measuring these values must be developed and followed. Pick-up, rotation and slack-off should be measured at the same hoisting and lowering speed at all times in order to have good reading consistency. The procedure for collecting data at connections may vary from well to well and with company to company; the most important is that it is done consistently (Terje Tveitdal).

Real-time data such as ECD measurements can also be used to determine hole cleaning condition of the wellbore. In horizontal and highly deviated portions of an extended reach well, cuttings beds form on the low side of the annulus, as shown in Figure 2. The bed partially blocks the annulus resulting in excessive pressure loss and a higher ECD measurement (Ahmed et al 2010). Usually a small ECD decrease can be seen at the beginning of a cuttings bed build up because the effect of cuttings falling out of suspension is bigger than the effect of narrowing the annular flow area (Vos et al 2000). As the cuttings bed becomes thicker and the annular flow area becomes narrower the ECD increases. After bringing those cuttings back into suspension, a sharp increase in ECD can be seen. Finally, as the cuttings are removed, the ECD gradually decreases back to the initial value (Vos et al 2000).

The use of torque and drag modeling along with ECD measurements in conjunction is a great way in determining hole cleaning conditions. Combining these two methods will also assist in optimizing remediation techniques such as pump rate, ROP, and back-reaming.

Non-Rotating Drill Pipe Protectors (NRDPP)

Non-Rotating Drill Pipe Protectors (NRDPP) can be made of either steel or rubber. The purpose of NRDPP is to prevent excessive wear on your casing, tubing, and/or drillstring, thereby, reducing torque and drag. The NRDPP allow the drillstring to rotate inside the protector while the NRDPP stays in place. Without the NRDPP the steel to steel contact between drillpipe and casing causes a great amount of torque and casing wear. This becomes an issue in wellbores with severe doglegs, high deviated wellbores, and horizontal wellbores. This could lead to many catastrophic wellbore problems, and therefore, NRDPP were introduced as an option to remedy the issues and have been tested and used in the field with results yielding a reduction of 10-30% of drillstring torque and eliminating casing wear where the NRDPP are placed (Krueger et al 1996). With extended reach horizontal wells becoming more popular to increase production in older fields, to develop new shale plays, or to reach restricted areas, torque and casing wear issues are very common. If excessive torque is not properly addressed it can overload Top Drive systems or the drillstring being used. Casing wear can lead to a requirement to patch the worn-down casing or possibly replace an entire string of casing.


NRDPP have several methods of reducing torque and casing wear. Three of the methods being: fluid

lift of the drill pipe, smaller effective outer diameter of thee tool joint, and reduction of face to face

contact between the drillstring and the casing.

Fluid lift is essentially using the drilling fluid that passes through the NRDPP and the motion of the

drillstring to create a lift effect. In turn the friction at the points of contact is reduced to the friction of the

drillstring and drilling fluid which is 1/10th less than the steel to steel friction (Krueger et al 1996).

Since it is known that torque is directly proportional to the size of the tool joint at points of contact the

NRDPP reduce the amount of torque at these points by placing the NRDPP around the drillstring

loosely and when the NRDPP makes contact with the casing the drillstring rotates inside the NRDPP.

Thus, the point of rotation is changed from the outside diameter of the tool joint to the inside diameter of

the NRDPP therefore, reducing the effective radius and amount of torque on the drillstring (Krueger et

al 1996). Figure 3 provides a graphical representation of the torque being reduced by applying the


The third method is to reduce casing wear by basically reducing the contact area between the drillstring

and the casing. Casing wear is of most concern where the drillstring is in contact and being supported

by the casing. Possible scenarios are doglegs and horizontal leg of a wellbore. Figure 4 shows three

scenarios of how NRDPP can minimize the contact area between tool joint and casing.

For the proposed horizontal well having the following parameters it will be essential to apply methods to

reduce torque and drag issues.

Overcoming Torque and Drag in Casing Operations

The additional torque and drag encountered in horizontal wells can present specific obstacles to the

successful and economic running of production casing to the toe of the lateral, especially in extended

reach wells.

In negative weight wells, the drag force opposing the direction of travel into the hole is greater than the

gravitational force assisting the pipe to bottom. (Mims et al 2003). To run casing in a negative weight

environment, one must either increase the downward force or reduce the opposing drag force. The

former could entail increasing the gravitational force in the vertical section by placing heavier casing at

the top of the string, known as an inverted casing design, or by providing downward force utilizing the

weight of the top drive to “push” the casing to bottom (Mims et al 2003). If increasing the gravitational

force is not a desirable option, one must reduce the drag force described in the simplified equation



= µ …………… ……… ..……………………….…….Eqn.1


= Drag force (lbs)

= Coefficient of friction (dim)

= Gravitational force less buoyant force (lbs)

= Angle of inclination (degrees)


There are a number of conventional methods to reduce the drag force including lowering the coefficient

of friction by increasing the lubricity of the fluid system or by spotting friction reduction additives such as

glass beads. The drag force can also be reduced by utilizing an adequate, but thinner-walled casing in

the lateral portion to decrease the normal force acting against the wellbore. It should be noted that

decreasing the angle of inclination by managing build rates and dog-leg-severities is also a

consideration, but not an option once the well has been TD’d.

In addition to these conventional methods of reducing the drag force, an operator may choose to

decrease the normal force by increasing the buoyancy of the casing in what is known as buoyancy

assist or casing flotation (Hood et al 1991). In this method the casing capacity, or a section of it,

isolated with a less dense fluid (typically air) to decrease the weight and drag of the casing in the

lateral, as shown in Figure 5. Special care and planning must be taken to insure proper design and

placement of the air-filled sections, as well as protect against exceeding the collapse pressures of the

casing. The effective weight of the air-filled casing can be determined by the following equation (Rae

et al 2003).

+ ( ) ( ) ( ) (

= Effective buoyant casing weight (lbs)


Casing dry weight (lbs)

= Internal mud weight (ppg)

= External mud weight (ppg)

= Casing inside diameter (in)

= Casing outside diameter (in)



)………………Eqn. 2

As this equation shows, the effective weight of the casing is a function of the casing size and density of

the mud. As a general rule, air-filled 9-5/8” casing tends to be nearly neutrally buoyant for typical mud

weights. Larger casing sizes tend to be positively buoyant when air-filled while smaller casing sizes

tend to be negatively buoyant (Mims et al 2003).

Depending on the specific well conditions, five methods of buoyancy assist can be selected, each with

its own advantages and disadvantages.

Method 1: Mud Over Air

In this method the bottom portion of the casing which will experience the most drag in the lateral is filled

with air and isolated with a floatation collar or retrievable packer known as a Selective Flotation Device

(SFD). Above the SFD the casing is filled with drilling mud to provide additional weight in the vertical

section of the pipe. Once the casing reaches total depth, the SFD can be hydraulically sheared or

ruptured (in the case of a float collar), or released (in the case of a packer), to allow the mud and air to

swap prior to commencing cementing operations. The Davis Flotation Collar (DFC) is a type of SFD

which can be opened by shifting a sleeve once bolts are hydraulically sheared, as shown in Figure 6.

This is the most traditional method and has the advantage of selective placement and volume of the air-

filled cavity. However, the isolation tool above the air cavity prohibits circulation during running

operations (Mims et al 2003). The inability to establish circulation during running operations is common

in the following methods except method 5: Air Annulus.


Method 2: Heavy Mud Over Light Mud

Configurations with large size casing can create environments in which positively buoyant, air-filled

casing will tend to float out of the hole. In this method light mud, relative to the annular fluid, can be

utilized in lieu of air when trying to avoid the tendency for the casing to float out of the hole. This is

applicable for larger casing sizes with deeper vertical sections (Mims et al 2003).

Method 3: Air Cavity

In this case, an air-filled cavity is limited to a middle section of pipe with drilling mud occupying sections

above and below. This allows the casing to be run without the tendency for the casing to float out of

the hole. Like the previous method, this configuration is suited for wells with long vertical sections and

deeper kick-off points.

Method 4: Non-Selective Air Filled Cavity

This is the least sophisticated method of buoyancy lift which entails extending the air-filled cavity for the

entire length of the casing. This method will allow for the maximum buoyancy of the system and is

most likely to create a tendency for the casing to float out of the hole. In this case, care must be taken

to insure adequate top-drive weight to push the casing, and utilization of special slips to prevent the

upward travel of the casing between connections (Mims et al 2003).

Method 5: Air Annulus

Each of the previous methods does not allow for circulation while running the casing due to isolation

equipment. The air annulus configuration allows for circulation by utilizing a concentric circulation string

which isolates the air or light weight mud cavity in the concentric tubing annulus, as shown if Figure 7.

Although this method offers only approximately half the buoyancy assistance due to the additional

weight of the concentric string and decreased air-cavity volume, the ability to circulate can mitigate

overall drag by combining the lubricity and cutting removal benefits of fluid systems conventionally run

during casing operations (Hood et al 1991).

Although casing floating as a means of drag mitigation has historically been utilized as a last resort,

recently the technology has been utilized as a cost saving measure in lieu of costly premium

connections. For example, development of horizontal wells in the Marcellus shale has shown that

buoyancy assist is not required to successfully run the production casing if the string includes high

torque connections to allow the pipe to be rotated to bottom. However, buoyancy assist is utilized in

lieu of premium connections due to the potential savings in cost (Roger et al 2011). An additional

benefit from the buoyancy assist method is the reduction of buckling and compressional forces in the

lateral which can eliminate the need for premium connections.



The discussion of diagnosing and remediating torque and drag issues in horizontal wells has covered

various tools, technologies, and methods. Each is an important tool in our workbench to economically

and efficiently develop complex horizontal wells.

Discussion Topics

Diagnosing and remediating cutting-bed build up with the aid of ECD and hookload monitoring.

Poor hole conditions can cause excessive torque and drag in horizontal wells where cuttings

aggregation and settling on the low side of the hole is prevalent.

Utilizing Non-Rotating Drill Pipe Protectors to reduce torque and drag by minimizing contact area

and coefficient of friction between drill pipe and the well bore.

Utilizing buoyancy assist in running casing operations to decreases the normal force in the drag

equation to successfully and economically complete horizontal wells.

Exploring the qualities of different mud systems and identifying how each function to address

specific torque and drag issues in horizontal wells, including additives to reduce the coefficient of

friction through the use of mechanical and hydraulic friction reducers.


Meeting the expectations of the growing, global energy demand will require our industry to exploit

resources utilizing wellbore configurations with increasing complexity. To overcome these challenges,

engineering design will need to embrace and expand our tools to resolve issues related to torque and

drag. These technologies have helped our industry to step out onto new horizons, bridging the gap

between a mindset where well placement was limited by previous practice, to one where engineering

design can accommodate any well placement.



= Bottom Hole Assembly


=Equivalent Circulating Density


=Extended Reach Drilling


= Davis Flotation Collar


=Gas Based Drilling Fluid


=High Performance Water Based Fluid


=Measurement While Drilling


=Non-Productive Time


=Oil Based Drilling Fluid


=Partially Hydrolyzed Polyacrylamide


=Rate of Penetration


= Selective Flotation Device


=Water Based Drilling Fluid


=Yield Point







= Drag force (lbs)

= Coefficient of friction (dim)

= Normal force; gravitational force less buoyant force (lbs)

= Angle of inclination (degrees)

= Effective buoyant casing weight (lbs)

= Casing dry weight (lbs)

= Internal mud weight (ppg)

= External mud weight (ppg)

= Casing inside diameter (in)

= Casing outside diameter (in)

Apaleke, A. S., Al-Majed, A. and Hossain, M. E. Drilling Fluid: State of The Art and Future Trend. Paper

SPE 149555 Presented at the North African Technical Conference and Exhibition, Cairo, Egypt.,20-22

February 2012.

Bart, V. E. and Frank, R. The Benefits of Monitoring Torque & Drag in Real Time. Paper IADC/SPE

62784 presented at IADC/SPE Asia Pacific Drilling Technology, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 11-13

September 2000.

Hood J.L. III, Mueller M.D., Mims M.G. The Uses of Buoyancy in Completing High-Drag Horizontal

Wellbores. Paper SPE 23027 presented at the SPE Asia-Pacific Conference, Perth Australia, 4-7

November 1991.

Juergen, M., Steve, R., Brian, L. and Nerwing, D. Proven Methods and Techniques to Reduce Torque

and Drag in the Pre-Planning and Drilling Execution of Oil and Gas Wells. Paper IADC/SPE 128329

presented at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2-4 February


Kruger R.E., Mock P.W., and Moore N.B. Reduction of Drill String Torque and Casing wear in Extended

Reach Wells Using Non-Rotating Drill Pipe Protectors. Paper SPE 35666 presented at the Western

Regional Meeting, Anchorage, Alaska, 22-24 May 1996.

Lubinski, Arthur and Williamson, J.S. Usefulness of Steel or Rubber Drillpipe Protectors. Journal of

Petroleum Technology Volume 36 Number 4. 628-636

McCormick, J. E., Evans, C. D. and Le, J. The Practice and Evolution of Torque and Drag Reduction:

Theory and Field Results. Paper IPTC 14863 Presented at the International Petroleum Technology

Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, 7-9 February 2012

Mims M., Krepp T., Williams H. and Conwell R., Drilling Design and Implementation For Extended

reach and Complex Wells, K&M Technology Group LLC, 2003, Print

Pillehvari, A.A., Azar, J.J. and Shirazi, S. A. State of The Art Cuttings Transport in Horizontal Welbores.

Paper SPE 37079 Presented at the SPE International Conference on Horizontal Well Technology,

Calgary, Canada 18-20 November 1996.

Rae G., Williams H., Hamilton J. A New Approach for Running Production Casing from Semi-

Submersible Rigs on Highly Deviated Wells. Paper SPE/IADC 79814 presented at the SPE/IADC

Drilling Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 19-21 February 2003


Rae G., Williams H., Hamilton J., Selective Flotation of Casing From a Floating Vessel. Paper SPE

88841 published in the June 2004 SPE Drilling and Completion page

94 103.

Ramadan, A., Munawar, S., Nicholas, T., Reza, M., Mengjia Y. and Miska Stefan. Experimental

Studies on the Effect of Mechanical Cleaning Devices on Annular Cuttings Concentration and

Applications for Optimizing ERD Systems. Paper SPE 134269 presented at the SPE Annual Technical

Conference and Exhibition, Florence, Italy, 19-22 September 2010.

Robert, M. F and Robello, S. How Good is the Torque-Drag Model, SPE/IADC 105068 presented at the

SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 20-22 February 2007.

Rogers H.E., Bolado, D.L., Sullaway B.L. Buoyancy Assist Extends Casing Reach in Horizontal Wells.

Paper SPE 50680 presented at the 1998 European Conference, The Hague, The Netherlands October


Rogers H., Webb E., Strickland D., Sparks D. Buoyancy Technology Used Effectively in Casing

Running Operations To Extend Lateral Stepout: Two Case Histories Detail Applications Risk and

Success. Paper SPE/IADC 148541 presented at the SPE/IADC Middle East Drilling Technology

Conference, Muscat, Oman, 24-26, October 2011.

Samarraie, Layth Al; Travelsi, Polymer mud system improves well condition, Oil & Gas



Table 1. Thick Mud rheology (Oil and Gas Journal 06/12/2000)


Mud rheology


Weight, ppg


Viscosity, s/qt


PV, cp


YP, lb/100sq ft


WL, cc/30 min





Fluid type

Hole size, in

Avg. Mud wt


Pump rate, gpm

Flow type



  • 8 14/18<=












  • 6 10/15<=








Mud type

No. Wells







Drilled, ft



Drilled, ft










Table 2. Thin Mud Reology

(Oil and Gas Journal 06/12/2000)

Table 2. Thin Mud Reology (Oil and Gas Journal 06/12/2000) Mud rheology Weight, ppg 9.2--10.3 Viscosity,
Mud rheology
Mud rheology
Table 2. Thin Mud Reology (Oil and Gas Journal 06/12/2000) Mud rheology Weight, ppg 9.2--10.3 Viscosity,
Weight, ppg 9.2--10.3
Weight, ppg
Viscosity, s/qt 35--38
Viscosity, s/qt
PV, cp 7--10
PV, cp
YP, lb/100sq ft 7--9
YP, lb/100sq ft
WL, cc/30 min 10--15
WL, cc/30 min
09--10 pH
Table 2. Thin Mud Reology (Oil and Gas Journal 06/12/2000) Mud rheology Weight, ppg 9.2--10.3 Viscosity,
Pump rate, gpm Avg. Mud wt Hole size, in Fluid type Flow type PV/YP
Pump rate, gpm
Avg. Mud wt
Hole size, in
Fluid type
Flow type
1/2 1/8
Laminar 14/18>=
  • 8 14/18<=



  • 9.4 10/15>=

Thin mud


Mud type

No. Wells



incl. deg


Drilled, ft








  • 6 10/15<=




12 Table 2. Thin Mud Reology (Oil and Gas Journal 06/12/2000) Mud rheology Weight, ppg 9.2--10.3

Figure 1 (original work). Shows a toque and drag model with variety of friction factors


13 Figure 2 (SPE/IADC 163492). Shows how cuttings bed can form on the low side

Figure 2 (SPE/IADC 163492). Shows how cuttings bed can form on the low side of the drillpipe and the cuttings transport

13 Figure 2 (SPE/IADC 163492). Shows how cuttings bed can form on the low side

Figure 3 (SPE 35666). Comparison of amount of torque with and w/out NRDPP


14 Figure 4 (JPT Vol 36 No 4, pp 626-636). Scenarios of how NRDPP can be

Figure 4 (JPT Vol 36 No 4, pp 626-636). Scenarios of how NRDPP can be beneficial

14 Figure 4 (JPT Vol 36 No 4, pp 626-636). Scenarios of how NRDPP can be

Figure 5 (SPE 50680). Typical casing flotation design with Buoyancy Assist Chamber Equipment (BACE) assembly.


15 Figure 6 (SPE/IADC 79814). Operational view of how the Davis Flotation Device is hydraulically

Figure 6 (SPE/IADC 79814). Operational view of how the Davis Flotation Device is hydraulically opened

15 Figure 6 (SPE/IADC 79814). Operational view of how the Davis Flotation Device is hydraulically

Figure 7 (SPE 23027). Air Annulus Configuration for Buoyancy Assisted Casing Flotation