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Basic Concepts in static BHA Analysis for Directional Drilling

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by U. Chandra, comxdtant

SPE Member,formerlywith NLIndustriesInc.

Copyright

19S6, Society

of Petroleum

Engineers

Orleans, LA October 5-8, 1986.

Technical

Conference

and Exhibition

of the Society

of Petroleum

Enginaers

held in New

by an SPE Program Committee

following review of information contained in an abstract submit!ed by the

presenled,

have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the

author(s). Conlonts of the paper,

author(s). The material, as presented, does nol necessarily rellect any position of Ihe Society of Pelroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers

presented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees

of the Sociely of Petroleum Engineers. Permission 10 copy is

reatricled to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied, The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment

of

where and by whom the paper is presented. Write Publications Manager, SPE, PO. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3636.

Telex, 720989 SPEDAL.

as

ABSTRACT

Basic concepts related to the static analysis of twoand three-dimensional

bottomhole assemblies are discussed. Beginning with a straight one stabilizer assembly,

the effects of multiple stabilizers, borehole curvature,

torque, wall contact, etc. are introduced in steps. The criteria for defining the build, hold, drop and walk trends is

clarified. Two methods for computing bending stiffness

and equivalent outer diameter of MWD collars with nonuniform cross-sectional properties are proposed, Also,

simple methods of estimating buckling loads for one and

two span assemblies are presented.

INTRODUCTION

In the early days of drilling, the holes were shallow

and were supposedly drilled straight. The experience

with the Seminole fields in Oklahoma during the late

twenties, made the industry realize that drilling does not

necessarily follow the intended trajector yl. Something

happens downhole which makes the drillstring deviate

from its course, The efforts to understand the cause for

deviation of drillstring led to their mechanical analysis

using the concepts of structural mechanics. Many papers

have been written on the subject29. However, the basic

concepts of mechanics, as related to directional drilling,

have not been put together in a systematic manner. This

paper attempts to fill such gap,

The subject matter in this paper is presented on the

Iines of standard textbooks on structural mechanics10-13.

References and illustrations at end of paper.

beam column subjected to its self-weight, buoyancy, and

weight-on-bit (WOB). For simplicity, a one stabilizer BHA

in a straight but inclined borehole is discussed first. Then,

further considerations

of multiple stabilizers, borehole

curvature, torque, wall contact and of variations in collar

cross-section or material properties are introduced in

steps. Both two- and three-dimensional

BHAs are discussed. The difficulties experienced in the application of

closed from methods, and the advantages of their numerical counterparts (finite difference and finite element) in

analyzing complex modern BHAs are highlighted. Then,

using the equilibrium of forces at the drill bit and the formation, the criteria for defining the build, drop, hold and

walk trends is explained.

Since bending is the dominant mode of deformation

in a drillstring, the knowledge of its resistance to bending,

i.e. bending stiffness, is important. This paper explains

the basic concepts of stiffness and presents two methods

for computing bending stiffness and equivalent diameter

of collars with non-uniform cross-section (e.g. MWD colIars). Finally, simple methods for estimating critical buckling loads of bottom hole assemblies are discussed.

The scope of the paper is limited to the static analysis

of the drillstring.

It does not discuss the effect of

dynamics or of rock and bit characteri~lcs on the directional tendencies of BHAs. Also, it emphasizes combining the physical and mathematical

concepts in a

simple fashion. No attempt is made to provide mathematical derivations; instead, the applicable expressions

are borrowed from easily accessible sources.

THE TWO=DIMENSIONAL

PROBLEM

and its general solution is,

are contained within one plane, we can refer to it as a

two-dimensional

problem. For example, consider the

straight bottomhole

assembly of Figure 1, which is

inclined to the vertical at an angle 6. It consists of the

drill bit at A, the drill collar AB, a stabilizer at B, etc. In

engineering mechanics terminology, the drill bit and the

stabilizers are termed as supports, and the length of drill

collar between two supports is termed as a span.

For brevity, we first ccmsider only the span AB adjacent to the drillbit, The forces acting on this portion of the

BHA are weight-on-bit I? and the self-weight w (adjusted

for buoyancy), as shown in Figure 1(a). The self-weight w

can be decomposed into two components, the normal

component q = w sin8, and the axial component p =

w COS6. The normal component

causes sagging or

bending of the collar, i.e. it corresponds, to the beam

action, The axial component corresponds to the column

action, and can cause buckling of the collar on reaching a

certain critical value. The behavior of the collar in the

presence of combined normal and axial loads is referred

to as the beam column. We note that if the BHA is vertical, i.e. if 0 = 0, the normal component of the selfweight is zero, and the problem reduces to that of a

column.

ln Figure 2, we consider the case of a Ctinpie beam

column which represents the span AB of Figure 1. As a

starting point, we assume that (1) the two ends do not

carry any bending moment, (2) the drill collar above the

stabilizer B is not effective, (3) there is no contact between

the drill collar and the borehole wall, (4) the collar is

straight prior to the application of the loads (i.e. no initial

curvature), (5) the cross-sectional and material properties

of the collar are uniform, and (6) the axial component of

the self-weight is negligible. We will discuss the implications of relaxing each one of these assumptions later in

this section.

The normal deflection,

v, of the beam column

shown in Ft ure 2 is given by the following differential

P

equational1 ,

d4v

EI +P=

dx4

d2v

dx2

(1)

q is the norm> Distributed load, E is the modulus of elasticity of the material, and I is the moment of inertia of the

collar section. The product EI is called the flexural rigidity

of the collar cross-section.

.

In the absence of the axial ioad F! Equation (1) reduces to

simple beam bending equation.

=AsinEx+BcOsEx+

cxD+s

........... .

(2)

applying appropriate boundary conditions. For the beam

column of Figure 2 with pinned supports, the boundary

conditions are,

d2v

=O,

v dx2

atx=Oandx=

A=

qEI

p2

1[

12

B=-D=~;

. ...(3)

,

L

COS j~-

sin ~~1

L.

c.

P2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . (4)

L

2P

By substituting (4) in (2), one can find the displacements along the drillstring. Then, using additional mathematics the reaction (side force) R at the bit, and the bit

rotation a can be computed. As explained in a subsequent section, the knowledge of R and/or x is needed in

predicting the deviation tendency of a BHA.

In some cases, it maybe justified to treat end B as a

fixed support; for example, in the case of a very long stabilizer or a packed assembly. Then, the expressions for

coefficients A through D will change, resulting in different

values of drillstring deflections, bit tilt and side force as

compared to the pinned support condition. For a special

case of zero WOB, the results for assumed pinned and

fixed end conditions at B are compared in Figure 3.

It is obvious that, with this closed-form approach,

the analysis of even the most basic collar will require a

considerable amount of computation, A drilling engineer

cannot conceivably perform such analysis in a routine

fashion. His job will be even more difficult when working

with real life BHAs where some (or all) of the six assumptions mentioned earlier are invalid.

In the following para{

cations of relaxing each c

one. Due to space limitat~.

ussion is kept brief.

SPE15467

UmeshChandra

End Moments

The bending moment at the bit is generally assumed

to be zero in order to simplify the analytical effort. In

reality, the resistance offered by the rock, the mechanical

design of the bit, and its cutting characteristics, all combine to generate a non-zero bending moment at the bit.

Such bending moment will tend to limit the rotation at the

bit. Although this moment can be explicitly accounted for

by adding a rotational spring of known stiffness, it is

deemed advanta eous to combine it with the rock and bit

?3,14

anisotropy effects

.

In previous discussion, the bending moment at end

B was assumed zero only for illustration purposes. The

presence of additional drill collar beyond stabilizer B (as in

any multi-stabilizer BHA), the design of the stabilizer and

the flexibility of the rock will result in a non-zero moment

at end B. Of these three, the first factor is addressed in

the following paragraphs and elsewhere in the paper,

whereas, the other two factors are not discussed further.

Multi-Stabilizer Assemblies

In reality, a BHA consists of many stabilizers dividing

it into several spans, and more than one span must be

considered in the analysis to accurately determine the

directional tendency of the BHA. h-i mechanics terminology, such a BHA can be regarded as a beam which is

continuous

over several supports,

i.e. a continuous

beam. The analysis of a multi-span BHA requires the

application of Equation (2) to each span, along with the

use of continuity requirements at intermediate supports

(stabilizers) and boundary conditions at the end supports.

The continuity conditions at the intermediate supports

are, (i) the deflection is zero, (ii) the slopes at the two

sides of the stabilizer are equal, and (iii) the moments at

the two sides are equal and opposite. Obviously, the

manual computations

will become very tedious for a

multi-stabilizer assembly, and the use of a computerbased technique will be profitable.

In Figure 4, we demonstrate the effect of stabilizer

placement on the directional characteristic of a multistabilizer BHA. In the three cases shown, the total length,

collar size and the inclination from the vertical are the

same, i.e. tkte normal load q is the same. For each case,

the deflected shape of the drillstring and the side force at

the bit are shown in the figure. The importance of the

placement of first stabilizer above the bit is obvious. As we

will discuss later, the first assembly is dropping angle, the

second holding, and the third is building the angle.

Wall

To understand the problem of contact between the

drillstring and the borehole wall, let us consider the one

span BHA of Figure 5. If the available clearance between

the collar and the borehole wall (CLS) is more than the

maximum deflection 6, no contact occurs, Case (a), If

CLS and 6 are equal, the two surfaces barely touch each

other resulting in a point contact with zero contact force,

Case (b). However, if CLS is less than 6, the area of contact as well as the contact force will have finite values,

Case (c). The contact force (pressure) will not necessarily

be uniform over the surface. Also, the bit tilt and the side

force will no longer be the same as in Case (a).

Referring to Figure

rewritten as follows:

d2v

d4v

EI+P=c

dx4

dx2

5(d),

Equation

d4v + p d2v

= q.q(x)

EI

dx4

dx2

force

(1) can be

. ( 5a)

...

(5b)

the deflection at each point of collar be computed without

regard to the borehole wall and compared against the

available clearance. It further requires finding the location

and size of the contact region, and the magnitude and

distribution of the contact force. Such computation is

tedious, and is best handled with the help of a computer

using finite difference or finite element techniques57 15.

Initial Curvature

Equation (1) is meant for a beam column or a collar

whose axis is straight prior to the application of any

external loads. [n order to study the effect of initial curvature, we consider the one span BHA of Figure 6. The

initial shape of the collar can be represented by,

vo=

a kin .

7rx

L

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (6)

equivalent to an additional lateral load q given by ,

is

lr2

cl =Pa~

()

sin~.............

L

(7)

In Figure 7(a), we consider the first span of a dropping assembly in a borehole with positive curvature (i.e.

its inclination from the vertical increases as we move

For the purpose of this discussion, the self-weight is treated

as an external load.

SPE 1546

borehole wall can be examined by computing the maximum deflection. Some of the popular techniques suitable for hand computations

are moment

area or

conjugate beam method for single span beams, and

moment distribution method for multi-span beams or

multiple stabilizer BHAslOo13. The moment distribution

method has been further modified to account for a constant axial load such as the WOB17.

(7), the effect of this curvature is the same as that of a lateral load q on a straight collar. This lateral load q adds

up to the lateral component of the self-weight q, resulting

in an increased dropping tendency of the assembly. However, if the same assembly is used in a borehole of negative curvature as shown in Figure 7(b), q would oppose

q and the BHA will have a reduced dropping tendency.

This concept can explain the behavior of the building,

holding or dro ping assemblies in curved boreholes

1?

reported earlier .

THE THREE-DIMENSIONAL

are not contained within a vertical plane, e ,g. when the

azimuth angle is not constant, we refer to this as a threedimensional problem. We again begin our discussion with

a one stabilizer BHA (one span beam column) with

straight axis, as shown in Figure 9(a). It has loads ql and

qz acting in two mutually perpendicular directions Y and

Z, respectively. Direction Y lies in the vertical plane,

whereas Z corresponcis with the azimuth,

Figure 8. It consists of two collars of different sizes and/or

materials, and thus of different Et values. The analysis of

such a BHA would require writing Equation (2) for portions AB and BC separately, and using additional continuity conditions of deflection and slope at point B.

Obviously, for complex realistic BHAs where the EI of

cross-section changes very often, manual computation is

not practical and, again, the use of computerized techniques is warranted.

representing deflections v and w are12,

Equation (1) did not account for the axial component of self-weight of the collar shown as p = w COSOin

Figure 1. The attempt to handle this term in a closed form

adds to the computational

complexity. However, the

finite element or f$ite difference method can easily deal

with this situation .

The application of the foregoing concepts to drillstring analysis requires some special considerations. For

example, it is found convenient to (i) establish a straight

reference axis passing through the bit to measure the

normal deflection v, (ii) replace the independent variable

x in Equation (1) by a variable s measured along the

curved borehole axis, (iii) cut off the BHA of interest at a

certain distance above the bit, and (iv) assume the WOB

direction to be coincident with either the borehole axis or

the deformed drillstring axis. The first three of these considerations

are discussed in References

5, and 16,

whereas the last one is explained in the section entitled

Criteria for Defining Deviation Trends.

Often, a drilling engineer is interested in only comparing the deviational tendencies of two or more BHAs

without a specific concern or prior knowledge of the

borehole curvature or the WOB. It is then possible to

ignore these two factors and to analyze the BHAs of

interest as straight continuous beams. In such cases, several standard techniques of structural analysis can be

used to compute the tilt and the side force at the bit. Also,

PROBLEM

d4v

EI +P

dx4

d2v

ql............(8)

dx2

d2w

d4w

+P=

EI

dx2

dx4

,J...o,oms

(9)

These equations are similar to Equation (1). Equation (8) is independent of w, whereas (9) is independent

of v, i.e. the two equations are uncoupled. However, if

torque is also present as shown in Figure 9(b), the equations take the following form12:

d%

-T

EI

dx4

d3w

dx3

d4w

and, EI

dx4

+T

+P

d2v

dx2

d3v

dx3

=q~

d2w

+P=

dx2

(lo)

. . . . (11)

2

equations become coupled. The solution of such equations is much more difficult. Additional complexities arise

if, similar to the two-dimensional case, some (or all) of

the six assumptions discussed earlier are invalid; which is

always the case.

References 6, 8, and 9 have derived equations similar to (10) and (11) which are specialized for curved,

three-dimensional

driilstrings. Again, similar to the twodimensional case, it is found convenient to (i) establish a

SPE 15467

Umest

the normal deflections v and w, (ii) replace the independent variable x in Equations (8) through (11) by a variable

5 along the curved borehole axis, (iii) cut off the BHA of

interest at a certain distance above the bit, and (iv)

assume the WOB direction to coincide with either the

borehole axis or the deformed drillstring axis.

Since the Z direction corresponds to the azimuth, the

self-weight does not contrikmte to the term q7 in equations (9) or (11). If we further assume that ttie contact

between the drillstring and the borehole wall occurs only

within a vertical plane, qz becomes zero. Then, the only

source responsible for the azimuth side force at the bit

(indicative of walk tendency) is the initial curvature of the

borehole in the azimuth plane. As discussed earlier, this

curvature is equivalent to a lateral load similar to the selfweight. The assumption of contact being limited. to a vertical plane was made in DIDRIL in order to reduce the

computational efforts15.

If we assume that the contact between the drillstring

and the borehole wall does not necessarily occur in a vertical plane, the contact forces in the azimuth direction (Direction)

are not zero, and the computational

efforts

become much greater.

Equations (10) and (11) are meant for a straight

beam column where the torque T is constant along the

axis, Strictly speaking, such an assumption is not true for

a curved beam column or collar. It is reasonable only

when the curvature is mild and the BHA length is small.

On the other hand, a limited study indicates that torque

has practically no influence on the deviation tendencies15, If this result is confirmed by further analysis, one

can conclude that the inclusion of torque in Equations

(10) and (11) is not warranted, i.e. Equations (8) and (9)

are adequate to analyze a three-dimensional BHA. Moreover, since these two equations are unco~pled, a twodimensional program should be adequate to handle the

three-dimensional

BHAs by analyzing them independently in inclination and azimuth planes. In this authors

opinion, the merit of a three-dimensional

program lies

not so much in predicting the deviation trends but in

determining the actual direction of drilling especially by

accounting for the effects of rock and bit characteristics.

TRENDS

Before we discuss the criteria for determining the

deviation trend (build, hold, drop and walk) of a BHA, it

would be appropriate to clarify the meaning of the term

weight-on-bit (WOB) and its direction.

In Figure 10, we consider a dropping assembly in a

two-dimensional curved borehole. The bit is located at A

and the first stabilizer at B. The solid curved line indicates

handra

the borehole axis, and the broken line the deformed drillstring axis. The WOB can be defined as the net axial

force at the bit, which is equal to the axial component of

the self-weight minus the sum of the axia) components of

all reactive forces at stabilizers and contact points and the

pull at top end. Alternatively, we can limit the discussion

to the drillstring between the bit and the neutral point.

The axis in question is, in general, the centerline of the

borehole5, which is also the axis of undeformed drillstring. Alternatively, the tangent to the deformed drillstring can be used as the W(?B direction, as is the case

with DIDRIL9115. Evidently, for a vertical borehole, the

first assumption makes the WOB axis coincident with the

vertical, whereas the second assumption does not. We

note also that, these two different approaches would

result in somewhat different values of side force at the bit.

Now, we look at the forces at the bit and the formation. The equilibrium of a dropping assembly in a straight

but inclined two-dimensional borehole is shown in Figure

11(a). For brevity, we consider only one span of the

assembly, with q as the normal component of the selfweight. The reaction at the bit, R, is normal to the borehole axis. If the WOB is assumed to act tangential to the

deformed drillstring it can be resolved in components

parallel and perpendicular to the borehole axis, as shown

in the figure.

The bit force system of Figure 11(a) is equivalent to

that shown in (b). AF is the axial force equal to WOB x

coscz, where m is the bit tilt. Also, SF is the net side

force, and ii equais R - WOB x sin~. The forces acting on

the formation are equal but ~pposite to those acting on

the bit, as shown in (c!. These formation forces together

with the rock and bit characteristics are responsible for the

cutting and removal of the rock, and further advancement of the drillbit.

The exact direction of the bit advance cannot be predicted without considering the bit and rock characteristics. However, it is still possible to predict the tendency of

drillstring deviation based on the knowledge of bit tilt,

side force, or resultant force at the bit. Millheirn8 favors

the use of the side force for this purpose. Accordingly, if

the net side force on the formation points down as shown

in Figure 11(c), the assembly is dropping. Whereas, if the

side force points up, the assembly is building. An

assembly is considered holding if the side force is small,

regardless of its direction. This is how the three BHAs of

Figure 4 were classified.

It is evident from Figure 1 l(c) that the use of resultant force direction as a criteria will give similar prediction

of the directional tendency as the side force. However,

the choice of the side force has two advantages. First,

since the value of WOB is generally much larger than the

side force, the latter has very fittle effect on the magnitude or the direction of the resultant. If we compare twc

side forces may be drastically different but the resultant

force will show little change. Thus, the side force is a

more sensitive indicator of the directional tendency than

the resultant. Secondly, the determination

of resultant

force would require additional computation.

For such

reasons, DIDRIL uses the side force on formation as the

criteria for determining the deviation tendencies15.

In three-dimensional boreholes, the question of walk

trend also needs to be addressed. Obviously, if tt,~ azimuthal component of the side force on the forrnatim is

pointing to the right of the borehole (look ~g down

towards the bit), the BHA is walking to the right. Con

versely, if this side force points to the left, the BHA is

walking left.

DiAMETER

have non-uniform inner or outer diameter (ID or OD)

along their lengths, e.g. MWD collars. Obviously, the

deviation characteristic of such a collar is not necessarily

the same as that of a standard 7- or 8-inch OD drill collar

it replaces.

In drilling industry, a collar with non-uniform crosssection is often specified by its stiffness. But, the concept

of stiffness (especially, the bending stiffness) is not well

understood. The commonly used definition of stiffness as

the product of E and I is misleading. In fact, the product

EI is more appropriately called the flexural rigidity of

one cross-section and it is not a property of the entire

collarlO. A proper definition of stiffness should account

for al; cross-sections with their respective EIs, lengths,

and relative iocations, since all these factors influence the

overall bending behavior. A technical discussion of stiffness is given in the Appendix, and two methods for computing the bending stiffness are preser-ted in this section.

These two methods, although both correct, give vastly

different answers and can lead to confusion if not proper}~ understood.

Alternatively, a collar wiih non-uniform cross-section

can be specified by its equivalent outer diameter (OD).

Although, the value of equi~alent OD is computed via

stiffness, it is practically the same regm!!ess

of the

method used to compute the latter. Therefore, the use of

equivalent OD in specifying a non-uniform collar is not

subject to confusion. Also, knowing equivalent OD of the

collar, one can further compute its equivalent moment of

inertia 1, or- flexural rigidity EL We elaborate on these

ideas in the following paragraphs.

SPE 15467

Drilling

bending stiffness (more appropriately, the bending stiffness coeffkient), kb, at end 1 or 2 can be defined as the

moment applied at that end necessary to cause a unit

rotation (at the same end), with the rotation at the other

end held at zero (see Appendix).

When the crosssectional properties of the collar are uniform throughout

its length, Figure 12(a), kb at the two ends is the same,

and is given by 1319,

4EI

kb =

..

. . . . . . . . . ........

. . ...+

(12)

L

When Eor I changes along the length, kbl is in general not equal to kb2. To find kbl or kb2, the collar is

divided into several segments with constant EI within

each segment, as shown in Figure 12(b). Then, if only

one or two changes in EI are involved, suitable expressions can be derived using such techniques as moment

area method and the bending stiffness for each end can

still be hand computed. But, if several Et variations are

involved, hand computations are impractical and the use

of finite element method becomes necessary.

eq~al and opposite moments are applied simultaneously

at the two ends of the collar which are free to rotate, as

shown in Figure 13. Angle 4 is the included angle

between the radii at ends 1 and 2, and is equal to the sum

of the end rotations (31and Bz. The bending stiffness of

the collar can be defined as the moment needed to cause

an included angle of unity (e.g. one radian). Thus, for a

collar of uniform cross-section as shown in Figure 13,

d~=p~

and,

(13)

M

kbl = kbz = kb = =

@L

EI

. . . . . . . ..

(14)

properties

of a collar

change along its length, PI is in general not equal to @2.

Also, for such a collar, the equivalent bending stiffness

can be computed from the following expression,

1

=kb

1

+

kl

=

L1

EIII

1

-tkz

1

--. . . . +

L2

+ +----+

E212

. . . . . . . .. (15)

k.

Ln

EnIn

drill collar. This equation is similar to the case of several

axial springs connected in series.

Method 1- Stiffness Coefficient Method: Consider

a drill collar or its segment

relative location of all cross-sections. However, for collars

with several variations in EI, it requires the use of a computer, On the other hand, pure bending method is suit-

BUCKLING LOADS

A comparison of Equations (12) and (14) shows that

for a collar of uniform cross-section the value of bending

stiffness resulting from the stiffness coefficient method is

four times that resulting from the pure bending method.

For a collar with non-uniform cross-section, this relationship is valid in an approximate sense.

A natural question arises at this stage, Which of the

two methods is correct. In fact, both of them are correct.

The primary difference in the two lies in the nature of the

boundary conditions assumed at collar ends. A user must

understand the concepts of the two methods and the

context of his application, because the stiffness is always

dependent upon the boundary conditions (or, in the terminology of the Appendix,

on the selection of the

degrees of freedom). Indeed, there is no such thing as

the stiffness of a collar or a beam.

Computation of Equivalent OD

The equivalent OD relates to a hypothetical collar

whose length is equal to that of the MWD assembly or

collar it replaces, ID is an assumed value (nominal ID),

and bending stiffness is equal to that of the replaced

MWD collar as computed from one of the two methods

discussed above. When the first method is used to compute the bending stiffness, the equivalent OD, do, can be

computed by rewriting Equation (12) as follows,

16kbL

do=

1/4

+di4

L rE

(16)

......

values .3; the two ends of the collar are different, a decision is needed to choose one of the two or their average.

In case of the pure bending method,

OD can be computed from,

64kbL

~E

do =

[

the equivalent

64

_

[ r

Consider the first span of a BHA in a vertical borehole as shown in Figure 14(a). To begin with, we assume

that, (1) the bit and the stabilizer act as two simple supports, (2) the collar above the stabilizer has no stiffness,

(3) the self-weight is omitted, and (4) the drill collar is initially strai ht. The critical buckling load for such a case is

given byl #1220,

,,,

..

~;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., (19)

collar is also included, Figure 14(b), the critical buckling

load can be approximated by 1112

pa=

#EI

___

L2

PL

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..(2o)

above it is much stiffer than collar AB, the model shown

in Figure 14(c) can be used and the buckling load

becomes,

1/4

+dia

. . . . . . . . . . ..

(17)

If the material

of the assembly

is the same

throughout, i.e. if E = Ez = ------ = En, Equation (17)

can be further simpkt

led as,

do =

reaches a certain critical value and the normal deflection

of the drillstring suddenly becomes large. This critical

value of the WOB depends upon the BHA make-up, i.e.

upon the size (OD, ID) of the drill collars, location of stabilizers and the elastic modulus of the collar material.

Although, contact with the borehole wall prevents excessive deformation of the drillstring, its buckling has several

adverse effects, such as; (a) formation caving due to rubbing of the drillstring against the borehole wall, (b) fatigue

failure of the drillstring, and (c) unintended deviation of

the drillstring. Therefore, avoiding buckling is a good

objective especially since many expensive MWD sensors

are used now-a-days in the BHAs.

L

L1/ll + L2/12 + --- Ln/In

1/4

two extremes for a collar located immediately above the

bit. In general, the true condition lies in between the two,

and the corresponding

critical buckling load can be

bounded by Equations (19) [rather (20)1 and (21).

+ di4

1

. . . . . . . (18)

almost identical results since kb in (16) is about four times

that in (17). The specification of equivalent OD of the

MWD collar in a vendors catalogue is very beneficial

since it eliminates the ambiguity associated with the

method chosen for ccmputing the bending stiffness.

as shown in Figure 14(d), the corresponding

load becomes,

pa = 4#EI

L2,

as fixed,

buckling

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. (22)

load of a collar will depend upon an engineers ability to

properly model the boundary conditions at its ends.

Above discussion was primarily meant for a BHA in

a vertical borehole where no initial curvature or normal

load was involved. For a BHA in an inclined or curved

borehole, the concept of critical buckling load has a

slightly different meaning. In Figure 1, the BHA in an

inclined hole was shown to have a normal load component, q, in addition to the axial component, p. Furthermore, in Equation (7) an equivalence between the initial

curvature and normal load was established. Therefore,

the two cases of inclined or curved borehole can be similarly treated under the general catagory of an imperfect

collar,

An imperfect collar is shown in Figure 15(a). It bends

immediately upon the application of the axial compressive load, i.e. the WOB. If the imperfection VI is small!

initially the lateral deflection V2 increases gradually with

the WOB. But, as the WOB approaches a certain critical

vaiue, V2 grows rapidly regardless of the value Of VIt

Figure 15(b). In its later stage, the load deflection curve of

an imperfect collar follows that of its straight counterpart

in an asymptotic sense 20. Thus, the critical buckling load

assumes a limiting value for the imperfect collar. When

the initial imperfection VI is relatively large (as in a highly

curved or inclined borehole), the lateral deflection of the

collar increases gradually but non-linearly, and there is no

discernible knee in the curve.

Now, we consider the case of a BHA with two spans

as shown in Figure 16(a). It can be shown that the critical

buckling load for such a BHA lies between the two values

calculated for separate spans as if each were a bar with

hinged endslz,

i.e., Pcrl < Pcr < Pcr2

or,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (23)

where, Pcrl =

#EII1

L12

and Pcr2 =

When the values of pcrl and pcrz differ onlY marginally, their average will yield good approximation for the

critical buckling load of the assembly, Per. When this is not

the case, we can use a different approach.

Consider, for example, the BHA shown in Figure

16(b), with El = E2 = E, II = 12 = II and L1 = 2LZ =

L. The correct value of the critical buckling load for this

assembly is 14.9 E1/L2. Also, using equations (19), (21)

and (23), we obtain,

EI

9.87 <pm<

L2

39.4g_

EI

L2

SUMMARY

In directional drilling, the ability to perform simple

static analysis of bottomhole assemblies is important. The

paper attempts to present some basic concepts of this discipline in a systematic fashion. Herein, the BHA is treated

as a beam column which can be straight (but not necessarily vertical) or curved, and subjected to the self-weight,

buoyancy, and weight-on-bit. Beginning with a one stabilizer BHA, the effects of additional stabilizers, borehole

curvature, torque, wall contact and of variations in crosssectional properties are introduced in steps. Both twoand three-dimensional

assemblies are discussed. The limitations of closed form methods and the advantages of

their numerical counterparts are highlighted. The criteria

for defining the build, drop, hold and walk trends is clarified. Two methods for computing bending stiffness and

equivalent outer diameter of collars with non-uniform

cross-sections (e.g. MWD collars) are proposed. Finally,

simple methods for estimating critical buckling loads of

one and two span assemblies are presented.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The subject matter presented in this paper was prepared when the author was employed with NL Industries,

Inc. The opinions expressed here are of the author alone.

Thanks are due to Carolyn McFarland and Mary Fouts

for their help in typing the paper.

iT2E212

L22

s large, and we cannot obtain a meaningful approximation for pcr by averaging. On the other hand, since pcr2

>> Pcrl, it implies that span BC is much stiffer than AB

md we can replace span BC with a fixed support at B, as

shown in Figure 16(c). We can then conclude that the

;ritical buckling load, PCr, for the two span assembly of

Figure 16(b) should lie between 9.87 E1/L2 and 20.5 El/

L2. The average of the two values gives a better approximation to the exact buckling load of the assembly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . (24)

Inc.

REFERENCES

1. Wilson, G. E.: How to Drill a Usable Hoie, Part l, Work! Oil

(August 1960) .

2. Lubinski, A.: A Study of the Buckling of Rotary Drilling

String, Driliing and Production Practices, API (1950) 178214.

3. Lubinski, A. and Woods, H. B.: Factors Affecting the Angie of

Inclination and Dog-Legging in Rotary Boreholes, Drillingand

Production Practices, API (1953) 222-250.

4. Woods, H.B. and Lubinski, A.: Use of Stabilizers in Controlhng Hole Deviation, Drillingand Production Practices, API

(1955) 165-182.

878

-------

paper SPE 5071 presented at the 1974 SPE Fall Meeting,

Houston, Oct. 6-9.

6. Walker, B.H. and Friedman, M.B.: Three-Dimensional Force

and Deflection Analysis of a Variable Cross-Section Drill

String, Transactions of the ASME, Journal of Pressure Vessel

Technology (May 1977) 367-373.

7. Millheim. K., Jordan, S. and Ritter, C. J.: Bottom-Hole

Assembly Analysis LMng the Fini:e-Element Method, JPT

(Feb. 1978) 265-274.

8. Dunaevsky, VA. and Judzis, A.: Conservative and Nonconservative Buckling of Drillpipe, paper SPE 11991 presented at

the 1983 SPE Annual Conference, San Francisco, Oct. 5-8.

9. Ho, H.-S.: General Formulations of Drillstring Mechanics

Under Large 3-D Deformations, NL Technology Systems,

Houston, Texas (1985).

10. Popov, E. P.: Mechanics of Materials, Second Edition,

Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey (1976).

11. Tlmoshenko, S.: Strength of Materials, Part II, Third Edition,

D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., New York (1956),

12, Timoshenko, S.l? and Gere, J. M.: Theory of Elastic Stability, Second Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New

York (1961).

13. Wang, C. K.: Statically Indeterminate Structures, McGrawHill Book Company, New York (1953).

14. Bradley, W.B.: Factors Affecting the Control of Borehole

Angle in Straight and Directional Wells, JPT (June 1975)

679-688.

15, Rafie, S., Ho, H.-S. and Chandra, U.: Applications of a BHA

Analysis Program in Directional Drilling, paper lADC/SPE

14765 presented at the 1986 lADC/SPE Drilling Conference,

Dallas, Feb. 10-12.

16. Chandra, U. and Rafie, S.: Users Instruction Manual for

DIDRIL-1,NL Technology Systems, Houston, Texas (1985).

17. James, B. W.: Principal Effects of Axial Load on MomentDistribution Analysis of Rigid Structures, Technical Note No.

534, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, Washington (1935).

18. Millheim, K.: Here Are Basics of Bottom-Hole Assembly

Mechanics, Directional Drilling - 3, Oil and Gas Journal (Dec.

4, 1978) 98-106.

19. Przemieniecki, J. S.: Theory of Matrix Structural Analysis,

McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York (1968).

20. Gerard, G.: Introduction to Structural Stability Theory,

McGraw-Hill Bock Company, Inc., New York (1962).

APPENDIX - STIFFNESS

COLLAR

oriented in a three-dimensional space, as shown in Figure

17 (a), The behavior of such an element can, in general,

be represented by a total of twelve degrees of freedom

(DOF), six at each end as shown. Out of the six DOFl

three are translational and three rotational. The stiffness

matrix [K] of such element is a [12 x 12] matrix consisting

of diagonal as well as off-diagonal terms, kij. The force

displacement relationship for the element is given by,

respectively. The expended form of Equation (A. 1) can

be found in Reference 19.

For round collars, one can take advantage of symmetry and only three DOF at each end are needed to

describe the behavior of the element. Of these three DOF

two are translational and one rotational, as shown in

Figure 17(b). The full stiffness matrix in such case is given

by,

r

-1

u,

12EI

L3

6EI

m

o

4EI

U3

{

EA

>.

(A.2)

U4

-i

12EI

12EI 6EI

o

L3

-7

F

6E1 2E1

6EI 4E1

o-~y

T

L

6x1

U*

Symmerrtc

6x6

U5

U6

6x 1

(A, 1), the definition of any stiffness coefficient, kij, can be

easily derived. It is the force (or moment) in the ith DOF

necessary to cause a unit displacement (or rotation) in the

jth DOF with all other DOFZ held fixed.

MATRIX OF A DRILL

The stiffness of a collar or a beam column is a mathematical representation of its response to applied loads. A

load can be a force or a moment, and the response can

be displacement

or rotation. Thus, a load could be

applied in axial, bending, torsion or shear modes. The

response of a collar to one type of load is different from

that to other type, and hence its stiffness in one mode is

different from that in the other. Also, when the load is

applied in one mode, the collar may respond in other

modes as well. The stiffness matdx is a means of collectively describing the response in all individual as well as

coupled modes.

mode of

collar behavior, for example, in directional drilling, we are

concerned

with k~~ and k6G of Equation (A.2). This

approach is common in civil engineering structuresls. In

Figure 12, these two stiffness coefficients were called kbl

and kb2, respectively. This forms the basis of the stiffness

coefficient method discussed in the paper.

Pure bending method can be viewed as a special

case of the above, where only the rotational DOF at each

end is retained to describe the behavior of a collar element.

t%

m

3$

-G

F-i

SE

15467

V.

+x

D-:

\7

Y,v

CURVED AXIS

.e

- 777Txrrr

(a) DROPPING

Y,v

AS.SSMSLY

IN A POSITIVE

CURVATURS

HOLE

IN A NEGATIVE

CURVATURS

HOLE

sTRAIGHT

Fig. 6lniNal curvature.

DROPPING

(b)

Fig. 8CoIlar

Z,w

A

p-

with nonuniform

~

.J

i

\ .\.

on a dropping

AXIS

Y,v

-----n

,/

~oMHom

AXIS

N-N

A

TORQUE

-. <

++T zE=G

b

I

a

Fig. 10Possible

dlrecNonsof

Y,v

N-N

(b)

WITH TORQUE

Fig. 9Three-dimensional

ssembly.

RSFERENCE

Y,v

curvature

-p

of borehole

Zlw

q2-D

(a) WITHOUT

ASSENBLY

Fig. 7Effect

El.

beam column.

I

/

/

. /

/

$.

/

/

<SF=

R-we,~ina

AF

= WOB. COSa

WOB. cosa

(b)

(a)

(c)

AF

SF

F@ SULTANT

F@. 11Fore.8onbftandf0mWflon.

WOB.

a - VERTICAL

bTANGENT TO

BOREHOLE AXIS

c - TANGENT

TO

DEFORMED DRILLSTRING AXIS

t/

:+k

I&:;-%.

-l-x

E,I, L

+

1-

bl = b2

M=kbl~

EI

E2,12, L2

E1, 11,L1

4-T-

t-

(b)

EI

Fig. 13Pure

method.

bending method.

P-PL

;

t

I

I

I

i

ZIBIT

\/

P

P

P*

INITIAL

AXIS

~

(CIJRVED)

I

I

I

sPAN 1

VI

(d)

(b)

(a)

of imperfect

collar.

of buckling.

19

a~hp

Vl

=V1+V

Fig. 15-Buckling

Fig. 14Concept

LARGE

(c)

(b)

SMALL

A

t

(a)

,/

+

} %~#RHT

cr

V*

NON-LINEAR

LINEAR

\

\

\

\

I

STAS

\

\

I

E,I, L

E2,12,

Y!

/

L2

/31

sPAN 2

--l

46

TAA!JSLATIONAL DOF

ROTATIONAL

DOF

x

A

z

(a)

(a)

THREE-DIMENSIONAL

ELEMENT

Y

.l9Q

L2

(b)

B_P

.205EJ

cr

L2

t-x

(c)

(b) TWO-DIMENSIONAL

Fig. 16Buckllng

ELEMSNT

xyz LOCAL COORDINATES

Fig. 17-A

beam @umn

or collar element.

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