Automated Surface Measurements of Drilling Fluid Properties: Field Application in the Permian Basin
- Sercan Gul (The University of Texas at Austin) | Eric van Oort (The University of Texas at Austin) | Chris Mullin (Pioneer Natural Resources) | Douglas Ladendorf (Royal Dutch Shell)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- March 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- drilling fluid automation, automated mud check, mud skid unit, rheology
- 12 in the last 30 days
- 85 since 2007
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Accurate and frequent mud checking is essential for optimum drilling operations. Careful measurement and maintenance of drilling fluid properties (density and rheology) maintain the primary well control barrier and optimize fluid hydraulics and hole-cleaning ability. However, a full mud report while drilling is provided only once or twice a day. Moreover, the measurements are mostly performed using traditional equipment. Test interpretation is subjective and might be biased and difficult to verify independently.
In this paper, we present an automated mud skid unit (MSU), which performs continual drilling fluid sampling and measurements at variable temperatures. The unit provides the non-Newtonian rheological constants characterizing a yield-power law fluid as well as the real-time friction factor and critical Reynolds number using a pipe-viscometer measurement approach. Other important fluid properties such as pressurized density, oil/water ratio, and temperature are provided using high-quality in-line sensors. The unit is controlled by a programmable logic controller coupled with a Linux operating system for data analysis. The system sends real-time data to WITSML data servers and provides detailed mud reports to engineers working either on-site or remotely.
The MSU was deployed in the Permian Basin by an independent operator for automated mud monitoring during unconventional shale drilling operations. Rheology, density, and phase content measurements were compared with conventional mud reports provided by the on-site mud engineer. High accuracy (error<5%) was observed in mud rheology tests. The pressurized mud-density measurements provided by the MSU proved to be more accurate than nonpressurized mud balance measurements, which were affected by mud aeration. Moreover, the MSU provided mud check data 25 times more frequent than those generated by the mud engineer at temperatures of 50 and 65.5°C. Drilling-fluid-related issues, such as chemical overtreatment as well as sudden changes in mud density, rheology, and oil/water ratio, were reported immediately to the drilling crew. This paper provides details about the measurement technology as well as the results from the field deployment of the MSU.
|File Size||883 KB||Number of Pages||10|
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