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Casing Design

CASING DESIGN
What will be covered in this chapter
Standard strength calculations for a casing string
1. The Design of casing and tubing strings
The basic philosophy in the design of a casing or tubing string is that nowhere yield should
take place. Detailed stress-analyses for each casing are not usually performed. A series of
tables containing the strength characteristics of available casing types are published and
regularly updated by the API in their API bulletin 5C2. An example is given in Table 1
Factors we have to take into account when designing strings are:
collapse
burst
tension (of both pipe and couplings)
compression
Many other factors are also important, such as bending stresses, corrosion, damage (during
transport, making connections), fatigue, wear, buckling, chemical environment. Although
these factors must be taken into account, they are of secondary importance.
Due to the factors mentioned above, the load- and stress conditions for a casing are highly
complex, poorly known, or unknown. It is therefore common practice to use a set of standard
design rules that are applied to a simplified casing string model. For this model a general
picture of the load and stress conditions (depth, rock type, mud weights, etc.) is sufficient.
In view of unknowns that cannot be evaluated properly, it is customary to introduce a number
of design factors. These design factors take into account:
the probability that the assumed load and stress conditions are being surpassed
the reliability of the casing-material and the manufacturing process
uncertainties with respect to corrosion, wear and damages
the consequences (financially, morally, etc.) if a casing should fail
past experience
Design factors are in principle different from safety factors; the latter assume that load and
stress conditions are exactly known and that a specific safety-margin is being built in. In the
design of a casing or tubing one should therefore not use the term safety factor but only the
term design factor.

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Casing Design

Table 1 PERFORMANCE PROPERTIES OF CASING


Extracted from API Bulletin 5C2, Twelfth Section April 1970
Grades K55, C75, N80 and P110
N.B. Only 9 5/8 inch O.D. casing
DIMENSIONS
Total cross-section area
(sq.in)

72.760

Minimum collapse pressure


psi

Maximum burst pressure


psi

Maximum allowable tensile


load
1000 lb wt.

Maximum allowable tensile


load
1000 lb wt Long coupling

Maximum allowable tensile


load
1000 lb. wt Buttress thread

Minimum yield strength

Weight
per foot
(lbs)

Inside
diameter
(in)

36.00
40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50
Nominal
weight
lbs/ft
36.00
40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50
36.00
40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50
36.00
40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50
36.00

Wall
thickness
(in)

8.921
8.835
8.755
8.681
8.535

Inside
crosssection
area
(sq.in)
62.502
61.308
60.201
59.188
57.216

0.352
0.395
0.435
0.472
0.545

Metal
cross
section
area
(sq.in)
10.258
11.452
12.559
13.572
15.544

K55

C-75

N-80

P-110

2980
3750
4630
6380

3090
3810
4750
6620

4430
5310
7930

5390
5930
6440
7430

5750
6330
6870
7930

8700
9440
10900

975
975
1032
1173

1027
1027
1086
1235

1283
1358
1544

694
776
852
999

737
825
905
1062

1106
1213
1422

1088
1193
1289
1477

1145
1256
1357
1555

1533
1656
1897

2020
2570

3520
3950

975

489

40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50
36.00

561

40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50
36.00

1076

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963

564

Casing Design

1000 psi

Mill hydrostatic test


pressure
psi

40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50
36.00
40.00
43.50
47.00
53.50

630

859
942
1018
1166

916
1005
1086
1244

1381
1493
1710

4900
5400
5900
6800

5300
5800
6300
7200

8000
8600
9700

3000
3000

2. Standard Design Rules for a Casing


Every company uses its own design rules. The most commonly used are summarized below.
These design rules are formulated so that the casing will be strong enough under the worst
possible conditions that can be imagined. So the scenarios are not likely scenarios, but
extreme cases. Of course, we want to design a well that is safe at the lowest possible cost, but
if something goes wrong (for example, a major blowout) we do not want to be worried about
casing strength when tackling the blowout. The design rules guarantee that the casing will be
strong enough under the most extreme conditions that it is possible to imagine.
Collapse
The external pressure on a casing is assumed to result from the column of mud in the
casing/borehole annulus at the time the casing will be cemented; the pressure due to
cement column is usually not taken into account.
The internal pressure in a casing during drilling and production is 1 bar at bottom, which
corresponds with complete evacuation. (By exception, in the case of deep intermediate
casings partial evacuation may be assumed)
Burst Surface & Intermediate Casings
The external pressure on the casing is assumed to be the pressure caused by the column of
mud in the casing/borehole annulus at the time the casing will be cemented.
It is assumed that the casing is fully filled with gas and that the gas pressure is determined
by the break-down pressure of the formation at the casing shoe. The pressure at surface is
this breakdown-pressure minus the static pressure of the gas column. (Again for
intermediate casings installed at great depth different assumptions may be made; the
internal pressure may be based on a gas column from the bottom of the hole, assuming
complete evacuation, and taking into account the full reservoir pressure).
Burst Production Casings
The external pressure on the casing is assumed to be the pressure caused by the column of
mud in the casing/borehole annulus at the time the casing was cemented.
It is assumed that the full closed-in tubing head gas pressure (via a leaking wellhead) is
pushing on the column of completion fluid which fills the annulus of the
tubing/production casing
In a well in which it is planned to carry out hydraulic fracturing, the design of the
production casing should take this into account.
In wells with artificial lift (gaslift, pumping) the design of the production casing should be
adapted to these conditions.

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Casing Design

Tension
The axial force experienced at a given point of the casing is assumed to be equal to the
weight (in air) of the casing hanging below this point.
The casing must be able to withstand pressure testing. The allowable test pressure takes
into account the buoyancy of the casing (in mud).
Design factors
Design factors and design rules are fully dependable; a design is not acceptable if the design
factors have not been applied. Design factors which are frequently used by operators are:
Collapse:
1.0 and 1.125
Burst:
1.0 and 1.1
Tension:
1.6 and 1.8
Compression:
1.0
These design factors may look high, particularly those for tension. However, one should not
forget that the string is not designed only for its landed position. The string should be able to
withstand the running (or sticking and subsequent jarring) while running in.
3.

Design procedure for casing strings


1. Determine the depth of the hole and in case of a deviated well also its length. Establish
which hole-diameter will be required at the final depth of the well.
2. Estimate the formation breakdown gradient and the fracture propagation pressure at the
depth (or depths if it is a deep hole) where the intermediate casing(s) will be installed
3. Establish the minimal installation depth of the intermediate casing string(s) when we can
assume that hydrocarbon bearing formations are being drilled through. Assume cases of
"gaskicks" in relation to formation breakdown pressures.
4. Make a provisional estimate of the diameters and depths of production, intermediate,
surface and conductor strings.
5. Design the strings mentioned above in the sequence: intermediate string; production
string; surface string; conductor string.
Conductor casing strings
For conductor casing strings, collapse and burst are not important and the conductor is
therefore not designed for collapse and burst. It is designed for tension and also for
compression.
The weight (submerged in the respective fluids/muds) of the surface casing, the
intermediate casing is usually landed on top of the conductor string.
If the conductor is cemented up to surface calculations for compression are not necessary.
If the conductor is partly free-standing (or in the case of a riser), then the top-part will be
in compression until the yield value is be surpassed or until buckling of the conductor (or
riser) takes place.

Related topics that have not been covered in this chapter


Similar design techniques can be used for determining the required strength of other
tubulars, such as the tubing.
Non-uniform loading of casing strings, caused by subsidence, squeezing salts or swelling
shales or tectonic stresses. A paper dealing with this topic is Effect of nonuniform
loading on conventional casing collapse resistance, P.D. Patillo, N.C. Last and W.T.
Asbill, SPE Drilling & Completion September 2004, 156 160.

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Casing Design

EXERCISES CASING DESIGN


Question 1
A vertical well in the Zuidwal field in the Waddenzee, The Netherlands, produces gas from
the interval 6050-6200 ft. A 9 5/8" intermediate casing string is set at a depth of 6000 ft. A 7"
liner is hung-off with a packer in the 9 5/8" casing at 5900 ft and landed at 6200 ft. The well is
completed with a 5 tubing, free-hanging in the 7" packer at 6000 ft.
1. Sketch the completion
2. Design the 9 5/8 production casing for collapse and burst. Make use of the following data
and the API tables in the lecture notes
Data
The specific gravity of the mud down to 6000 ft is 1.45.
The pressure of the gas reservoir at 6050 ft is 3146 psi (gradient 0.52 psi/ft)
The pressure gradient for water is 0.4335 psi/ft
The tubing/casing annulus will be filled with MgCl2 brine, relative density. 1.50.
Design factors: collapse 1.0, burst 1.1
The gas has relative density to air 0.60. Use the following table giving the ratio between
surface pressure and downhole pressure for the gas
Depth (m)
250
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
5000
5500
6000

Pressure at surface/Pressure at depth


0.983
0.966
0.934
0.902
0.872
0.843
0.815
0.787
0.761
0.736
0.711
0.686
0.663

Question 2
In a given field, hydrocarbons are found over the interval 7000' - 10800'. All reservoirs are
hydrostatically pressured (the pressure gradient in water is 0.4335 psi/ft). The bottom reservoir
is a gas reservoir occupying 9800' -10800', with GWC at 10800'. A gas well is producing from
this reservoir. The gas has specific gravity 0.6.
The completion details are:
Tubulars
Stovepipe

diameter
22"

Conductor
Surface casing
Production casing
Production tubing

18 5/8"
10 3/4"
7"
3 "

driven

depth
50'

cemented to surface
cemented to surface
cemented to surface
in packer

250'
4000'
10500'
8000'

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Casing Design

Fluids
Drilling mud used

Completion fluid
Cement

Specific gravity
1.05
1.06
1.20
1.05
1.65
1.88
1.00

depth
0' - 4000'
4000'-9500'
below 9500'
Pozmix
Class E

0' - 4000'
4000'-10500'

(1) Draw the completion


(2) Calculate the closed in gas pressure at the tubing head (use table in Question 1).
(3) Calculate the collapse load for the production casing with design factor 1.0. Which 7"
casing can be used for the lowest part of the casing string (see extract from API Tables
below). Design a production casing string using C-75 grade casing.
(4) Calculate the burst load for the production casing with design factor 1.0. Design a casing
string satisfying the collapse and burst criteria using C-75 grade casing.
(5) For this casing string calculate the tensile load with design factor 1.60. Design a casing
string satisfying the collapse, burst and tensile criteria using C-75 grade casing.
PERFORMANCE PROPERTIES OF 7CASING (API)

Minimum collapse pressure


psi

Maximum burst pressure


psi

Maximum allowable tensile


load
1000 lbs wt

Nominal
weight
lbs/ft
20.00
23.00
26.00
29.00
32.00
35.00
38.00
20.00
23.00
26.00
29.00
32.00
35.00
38.00
20.00
23.00
26.00
29.00
32.00
35.00
38.00

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K55

2270
3270
4320

3740
4360
4980

632
641

C-75

N-80

P-110

3770
5250
6760
8230
9710
10680

3830
5410
7020
8600
10180
11390

6210
8510
10760
13010
15110

5940
6790
7650
8490
9340
10120

6340
7240
8160
9060
9960
10800

9960
11220
12460
13700
14850

632
641
685
761
850
917

666
675
721
801
895
965

844
902
1002
1118
1207

Casing Design

Question 3
In the Tambaredjo field in Suriname, the reservoir is about 1000 deep. The casing program is
as follows
2 joints of 14 conductor pipe driven to about 36
Surface hole drilled to 210 and cased with 6 joints of 8-5/8 24lb/ft K-55 casing
7-7/8 hole drilled to TD (5 below the base of oil sand) and cased with 4 9lb/ft K55
casings, with maximum collapse pressure 3320 psi, burst pressure 4380 psi and tensile
load 264 1000lbs force.
Mudweight are typically 9.9 10ppg during surface hole drilling and 8.8 9.2 ppg thereafter
(1ppg = 1 pounds/US gallon = 119.8 kg/m3)
Class C construction cement is used, with density 16.48 ppg
Draw the completion. Check the design of the 4 casing

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