Multivariate Control for Managed Pressure Drilling Systems Using High Speed Telemetry
- Reza Asgharzadeh Shishavan (Brigham Young University) | Casey Hubbell (Brigham Young University) | Hector Perez (Brigham Young University) | John Hedengren (Brigham Young University) | David S Pixton (NOV IntelliServ) | Anthony Paul Pink (National Oilwell Varco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 27-29 October, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2014. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Drilling Automation, Managed Pressure Drilling, Multivariate Control, Nonlinear Control, Rate of Penetration
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With the recent advance in high speed data communication offered by wired drill pipe (WDP) telemetry, it is now possible to design automated control systems that directly utilize downhole data (e.g. pressure) to optimize drilling procedures. This research couples drilling hydraulics, rate of penetration (ROP), and rotational speed (RPM) control into a single controller for managed pressure drilling systems. This novel multivariate controller improves drilling performance during normal drilling operations and enhances safety during abnormal drilling conditions such as unwanted gas influx situations.
New advances in drilling automation have made the closed loop control of downhole weight on bit (WOB) and drill string rotational speed (RPM) possible. This study uses two feedback controllers that control the downhole WOB and RPM using surface data. A multivariate nonlinear model predictive controller (NMPC) uses downhole and surface measurements to simultaneously regulate the bottom hole assembly (BHA) pressure and maximize the ROP. For this purpose, NMPC provides the necessary set points for the WOB and RPM feedback controllers as well as manipulates the choke valve opening and pump flow rates. Controller performance is enhanced via a nonlinear estimator that works continuously online with the NMPC and provides the necessary estimated parameter values (i.e. annulus density, friction factor, and gas influx) for precise and efficient drilling control.
The designed NMPC controller has a multi-priority approach which is described in the following three scenarios: (1) during unexpected gas influx, the NMPC gives priority to BHA pressure control and attenuates the influx effectively via a novel kick attenuation method that switches the control objective from BHA pressure to choke valve pressure; (2) during connection procedures when adding a new stand, ROP is stopped and the NMPC focuses on maintaining the BHA pressure constant; (3) during normal drilling operation, which involves changes in the rock formation and differential pressures, NMPC gives priority to ROP maximization while maintaining RPM, WOB, and BHA pressure within specified bounds.
Preliminary results suggest that this multivariate controller for ROP and BHA pressure control will decrease drilling costs, reduce operator workload, and minimize risk significantly. Specific improvements in drilling performance include higher ROP, effective kick attenuation, and more uniform cuttings. The use of a multivariate NMPC allows for better ROP optimization and BHA pressure control than would be possible with the use of two independent controllers. These benefits are demonstrated across the three scenarios mentioned above. This technology has potential to deliver significant performance improvements during managed pressure drilling and further the development of auto driller systems.
The safety and profitability of a drilling project depend on efficient control of the drilling process. Providing such control is no trivial task – the nature of subterranean environments and the drilling process itself create dynamic conditions that must be detected and addressed by the drilling control system in a timely manner. Such conditions include changes in formation characteristics encountered while drilling ahead, unexpected fluid influx or losses, and transient conditions (mechanical and hydraulic) that result from common drilling operations such as adding a section of drillpipe to the drillstring or tripping the string in and out of the well. Additional challenges are encountered that are specific to many of the aggressive drilling environments commonly found in today’s drilling programs. Technologies such as managed pressure drilling (MPD) have become more popular in areas where an increased level of control of borehole pressures is required to enable drilling in regions with tight pressure margins.
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