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TAMU - Pemex Offshore Drilling

Lesson 16 Dual Gradient Drilling


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Dual Gradient Drilling


What is Dual Gradient Drilling? How does it work? Why do we need it? Pore pressures and fracture gradients. Mud weights and casing programs. What about connections and trips? What about kicks?
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Subsea Mudlift Drilling or Riserless Drilling


Drillstring

sometimes called Dual Gradient Drilling or Dual Density Drilling


Mud Return Line

Pump
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Subsea Mudlift Drilling Concept


No conventional drilling riser

A separate small-diameter mud return line from seafloor to surface

A dual mud density system Seawater gradient from surface to seafloor Heavier drilling mud inside the wellbore
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Subsea Mudlift Drilling Concept


A seafloor mud pump on the return line Pressure inside wellbore at seafloor is

~ the same as the pressure in the ocean at seafloor


Theoretically the well is always dead Important in case of drive-off
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Rotating BOP (RBOP) with Pack-Off Conventional Annular BOP Conventional Ram BOPs

Seafloor detail of Subsea Mudlift

Subsea Mudlift drilling in three phases

Effect of Increasing Water Depth Weight of drilling riser increases with depth:

21-inch riser has an internal capacity of ~ 400 bbls/ 1,000 ft and wt. of 17.1 1b/gal mud inside riser ~ 2.7 million lbs
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At 10,000 ft, wt. of riser ~ 2 million lbs.

Effect of Increasing Water Depth


More storage space required on

drilling vessel - especially with flotation elements on the riser


A larger and more expensive drilling

vessel is required
Few such vessels are available (14 EA. 4th generation?) (1996)
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What About Subsea Mudlift Drilling? A 6 return line with ~36 bbls/1000 ft can do the job Requires much less weight and volume

for storage! A smaller vessel can do the job. A smaller vessel can easier be upgraded to do the job.
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What is Subsea Mudlift Drilling?


Subsea Mudlift Drilling, in the present context,

refers to drilling where mud returns DO NOT go through a conventional, largediameter, drilling riser. Instead the returns move from the seafloor to the surface through one or more small - diameter pipe(s) separate from the drillpipe. A Mudlift system is used in the Return Line
A

TM

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Equivalent Mud Density, ppg

Fracture Gradient
0.5 ppg 0.5 ppg

Fig. 7.21 ADE Pore pressure gradient and fracture gradient data for Jefferson Parish, LA.
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Pore Pressure Gradient

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Casing Setting Depths


based on pore pressure grad., fracture grad. and mud wt. 5,000 ft water 0.5 ppg kick tolerance
Mud Weight (Gradient), ppg
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(?)

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Apparent Pressures in the Wellbore


0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 8.00
0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 SEAWATER 8.6 lb/gal
RISERLESS Seawater Density = 8.6 lb/gal CONVENTIONAL Mud Weight = 13.2 lb/gal CONVENTIONAL

Vertical Depth, ft

8.6 lb/gal
RISERLESS Mud Weight = 15.5 lb/gal RISERLESS

15.5 lb/gal

9.00

10.00

11.00

12.00

13.00

14.00
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Wellboremud Pressure, Equivalent density,psi ppg

Apparent Pressures in the Wellbore


0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 8.00
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
RISERLESS Seawater Density = 8.6 lb/gal SEAWATER

Vertical Depth, ft

8.6 lb/gal
CONVENTIONAL Mud Weight = 13.2 lb/gal

RISERLESS Mud Weight = 15.5 lb/gal

9.00

10.00

11.00

12.00

13.00

14.00
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Equivalent mud density, ppg

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Gas Lift? Gas Lift? Glass Beads? Glass Beads?

Rotating BOP

How to Handle Connections? Trips?

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Typical Overburden Pressure grad.vs. Depth


Ref: Fracture gradient prediction for the new generation, by B.A. Eaton and T.L. Eaton. World Oil, October 1997.

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Conventional Riser Drilling - Static Wellbore Pressures


FLOATER

DRILLING RISER CHOKE LINE


BOP

SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC MUD HYDROSTATIC SEAFLOOR

DEPTH

PRESSURE

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FLOATER

Conventional Riser Drilling - Wellbore Pressures


STATIC PRESSURE CIRCULATING PRESSURE

BOP

SEAFLOOR

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE
A

PBI
T

PRESSURE

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Subsea Mudlift Drilling System


FLOATER

SEAFLOOR BOP

~SEAWATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE MUDLIFT

10,000

BASE CASE
Circulation Rate 650 gpm Drillpipe OD Return Line ID Hole Size 6 5/8 in 6 in 12 1/4 in
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30,000

Alternate SMD Configuration - Wellbore Pressures


FLOATER

RISER CHOKE LINE


BOP

MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

SMD

MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

Conventional

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

SMD

PRESSURE
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Static Wellbore Pressures


MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE SEAFLOOR

Subsea Mudlift

MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

Conventional

DEPTH

SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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Static Wellbore Pressures


In a 30,000 ft well in 10,000 ft of water, the bottomhole pressure is 21,000 psig. For conventional drilling, what is the minimum mud weight that can control this pressure? For Subsea Mudlift drilling, what is the minimum mud weight that can control this pressure?
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Static Wellbore Pressures


P = 0.052 * MW * Depth For conventional drilling, Minimum mud weight
= 21,000/(0.052 * 30,000) = 13.5 lb/gal Seafloor pressure = 0.052*8.6*10,000 = 4,472 psig

For Subsea Mudlift drilling, Minimum mud weight


= (21,000 - 4,472)/0.052 * 20,000 = 15.9 lb/gal
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Wellbore Pressures
MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE SEAFLOOR

Conventional

DEPTH

FRACTURE PRESSURE

SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PORE PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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Wellbore Pressures
MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE Subsea Mudlift MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE Conventional

SEAFLOOR

DEPTH

FRACTURE PRESSURE

SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PORE PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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Casing Requirements - Conventional


MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE Conventional

SEAFLOOR

DEPTH

FRACTURE PRESSURE

SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PORE PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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Casing Requirements - Subsea Mudlift


MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE SEAFLOOR

Subsea Mudlift
FRACTURE PRESSURE
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

DEPTH

PORE PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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Pressure Considerations
Subsea Mudlift
SEAFLOOR MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE MUD HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

Subsea Mudlift

Conventional

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

FRACTURE PRESSURE

PORE PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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Wellbore Pressures - Conventional


FLOATER

STATIC PRESSURE CIRCULATING PRESSURE


BOP

SEAFLOOR

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PBIT

PRESSURE
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FLOATER

Static Pressures - Subsea Mudlift Drilling


ANNULUS AND RETURN LINE
SEAFLOOR

BOP

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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Drillstring Circulating Pressures


CONVENTIONAL Subsea Mudlift SEAFLOOR

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PBIT

PRESSURE
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Annulus Circulating Pressures


CONVENTIONAL (13.2 lb/gal) Subsea Mudlift (15.5 lb/gal) SEAFLOOR

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PPUM P

PRESSURE
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Circulating Pressures - Subsea Mudlift Drilling


DRILLSTRING PRESSURE ANNULUS AND RETURN LINE SEAFLOOR

PPUM P

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PBIT
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PRESSURE

Transients

Pressures in the Wellbore

Transient Behavior when Stopping Pump (U-tubing or Free-fall) How fast does the Fluid Level in the drillpipe drop?
How far does the Fluid Level drop?

Preview of Kick Detection and Well Control


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U-Tubing in Subsea Mudlift Drilling


FLOATER
~SEAWATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

STATIC FLUID LEVEL

BOP

MUDLIFT

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Static Pressures - Subsea Mudlift Drilling


ANNULUS AND RETURN LINE DRILLSTRING PRESSURE SEAFLOOR

DEPTH
SEA WATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

PRESSURE
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U-Tubing Rate vs. Time after Pump OFF


800

Mud Flow Rate, gpm

600 400 200 0 0 5 10 15 20

3-in ID 4.276-in ID 6-in ID

25

30

Elapsed Time, min


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Fluid Level vs. Time after Pump OFF


5,000

Fluid Level in Drillpipe, ft

4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30

3-in ID 4.276-in ID 6-in ID

Elapsed Time, min

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Kick Detection & Well Control - Review - Conventional Kick Indication (what is a KICK?) Kick Detection (confirmation) Kick containment (stop flow into well) Circulate Kick out of hole Increase Mud Weight in hole (if necessary)
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Circulate Kick out of hole

Keep the BHP constant throughout


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Circulate Old Mud out of hole

Keep the BHP constant throughout


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Subsea Mudlift Drilling System


FLOATER

Surface Pump: Constant Rate Mudlift: Const. Inlet Press.


SEAFLOOR
BOP

~SEAWATER HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE MUDLIFT

10,000

30,000

KICK
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Kick Detection and Control


700 Circulation Rate, gal/min 690 680 670 660 650 640 -30 -20 -10 0 Time, minutes 10 20 30 SURFACE PUMP Kick Detected - - Slow down Seafloor Pump

Kick begins

SEAFLOOR PUMP

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Kick Detection and Control

Influx has stopped and pressures have stabilized

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Circulation Rate, gal/

7 0 0 6 9 0 6 8 0 6 7 0 6 6 0 6 5 0 6 4 0 -3 0

Kick Detection and Control


K ic kD e te c te d --S lo wd o w nS e a flo o rP u m p K ic kb e g in s S E A F L O O RP U M P S U R F A C EP U M P

-2 0

-1 0

1 0

2 0

3 0

4 0

5 0

T im e ,m in u te s

TM

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Standpipe Pressure vs. Tim e


5 ,00 0 4 ,00 0
Start cir cu latin g k ick o u t o f h o le

C onv e ntional

Pressure, psi

3 ,00 0 2 ,00 0 1 ,00 0 0 0 200

K ill m u d e n te rs to p o f d rillp ip e Kill mu d a t b it

SM D

400

6 00

800

Tim e, m inutes
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Surface Choke Pressure vs. Time


1,400 1,200
Top of kick at surface Start circulating kick out

Pressure, psi

1,000 800 600 400 200 0 0

SICP SIDPP

Kill mud enters annulus

CONVENTIONAL
Kick out of return line

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

Time, minutes
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Pit G ain vs. Tim e


70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
Conv e ntional SMD

Pit Volume Gain, bbls

Tim e, m inutes
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Pressure at the Sea Floor vs. Time


8,000 7,000
Conventional
Kick at se afloor Kill mud at se afloor

Pressure, psi

6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 0

Pressure at inlet to Mudlift System

Start circulating kick out

SMD

Kill mud e nte rs annulus

200

400

600

800

Time, minutes
A

TM

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Kick Detection Method


Pit Gain Flow Rate Increase (Returns) Well Flows With Pump Off Fluid Fill-up on Trips Increased Hook Load Drop in Standpipe Pressure Drop in BHP - MWD Drilling Break

Still Valid for RD?


Still valid Much Better Not valid U-tubing More complicated ... Still Valid Better Still Valid Still valid

Decreased Mud Weight (Gas Cut Mud) Still valid


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Well Control Summary

Most Conventional kick detection methods are still valid New differential flow rate method better - use with computer monitoring Lower standpipe pressure makes kick detection easier and faster Conventional well control can be adapted with modifications
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Well Control Summary contd

Not necessary to shut well in


Seafloor pump controls the BHP Surface choke pressure generally does not affect wellbore pressures Well control training will be essential
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General Summary
Dual Gradient Drilling is a method that offers potential for lowering drilling costs in very deep waters. (fewer casing strings, smaller rigs, less time on location) The method utilizes one or more small-diameter return lines from the seafloor to the surface. The drillpipe is not inside a return line.
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Summary - contd
A mudlift system is used in the return line thereby making a dual-density mud system possible. Wellhead pressure is maintained at seawater hydrostatic, so well is dead at all times Well control does not appear to present any serious difficulties, and is quite similar to conventional drilling with a riser.
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