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Experimental Study of Polymer-Free and Polymer-Added Foams for Underbalanced Drilling: Are Two Foam-Flow Regimes Still There?
- Ali Edrisi (Louisiana State University) | Rahul Gajbhiye (Louisiana State University) | Seung I. Kam (Louisiana State University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- February 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 55 - 68
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 1.7.7 Cuttings Transport, 1.8 Formation Damage, 1.7.1 Underbalanced Drilling
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The foam-assisted underbalanced-drilling technique is more advantageous thanthe traditional overbalanced drilling near the productive water-sensitiveformations because of its reduced formation damage, improved rate ofpenetration, higher cuttings-transport capacity, and lower circulation losses.However, the complicated nature of foam rheology has been a major impediment tothe optimal design of field applications.
Earlier studies with surfactant foams without oils and polymers show thatfoam flow in pipe can be represented by two different flow regimes: thelow-quality regime showing either plug-flow or segregated-flow pattern, and thehigh-quality regime showing slug-flow pattern. The objective of this study isto investigate foam-flow characteristics in horizontal pipes at differentinjection conditions, with or without oils, by using polymer-free andpolymer-added surfactant foams.
The results of this study were presented in two different ways--bysteady-state pressure drops (or, apparent foam viscosity, equivalently)measured by multiple pressure taps and by the visualization of bubble size,size distribution, and flow patterns in transparent pipes. The results withsurfactant foams and oil showed that first, oil reduced the stability of foamsin pipes, thus decreasing the steady-state pressure drops and foam viscosities,and second, the presence of oil tended to lower the transition between thehigh-quality and the low-quality regimes (i.e., lower foam quality at theboundary, or lower f*g equivalently). In addition,the results with surfactant foams with polymer showed that first, polymerthickened the liquid phase and, if enough agitation was supplied, could makefoams long lived and increase foam viscosities, and second, the systemsometimes did not reach the steady state readily, showing systematicoscillations. In both cases, though, the experiments carried out in this studyshowed the presence of two distinct high-quality and low-quality flowregimes.
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