Executive Summary

Over the past 10 years, I have served as an SPE technical reviewer (2 years) and as an SPE associate editor (8 years), with the last 3 years spent as an associate editor under Christoph Zerbst, our outgoing executive editor. I learned a lot from him during that time, and his dedication to the journal was very impressive. Under his leadership, the quality of the journal has been improved significantly.
On behalf of the Editorial Review Committee, I thank you, Christoph, for your great contribution. 

I would like to take a moment to introduce our current associate editors and their main areas of expertise:

Bernt Aadnoy • Drilling design and analysis, rock mechanics, research

Ramadan AhmedWell control, MPD and underbalanced drilling, research

Mark BrinsdenPerforating, completion planning, design and installation, interventions

Curtis CheathamDirectional drilling, drillstring dynamics, drilling equipment

Barkim DemirdalDrilling fluid rheology, heavy oil, shale gas

Lee DillenbeckFundamental drilling and completions research, cementing

Jeremy Greenwood Drilling performance, drilling optimization, and drilling dynamics

Vassilios KelessidisCuttings transport, drilling hydraulics, and multiphase systems

John MasonCompletion planning, design and installation, intervention operations

Stephane Menand Drillstring design and dynamics, bit performance, directional drilling

Kaibin QiuGeomechanics, wellbore stability, compaction and subsidence

Ashok SantraFluid chemistry, drilling fluids, rheology, fluid loss

David StilesCement, wellbore integrity, lost circulation

Carl ThaemlitzFluid chemistry, drilling fluids, handling, processing and treatment

John ThorogoodReal-time operations, drilling automation, directional drilling

Claas van d. ZwaagCompletion planning, design, and installation, sand control, impairment

Christoph ZerbstCompletion planning, design and installation, sand control, cuttings reinjection

Feifei ZhangDrilling hydraulics, well control, hole cleaning, blowout flow modeling

Andrew Zheng Downhole intervention, drilling optimization, pressure-management drilling 

“Joe” Yunxu ZhouDrilling design and analysis, hydraulics, multiphase flow

As one can see, there are at least two associate editors for each main subject. These associate editors, together with more than 150 technical reviewers and SPE staff ensure every paper submitted to our journal is properly reviewed and that only high-quality papers are published.

Although only a small percentage of papers submitted to our journal were accepted for publication, I still encourage authors and readers to submit their papers to the journal. For each submission, at least one associate editor and I will review the paper. In most cases, each submitted paper will be reviewed by at least four reviewers (two technical reviewers, an associate editor, and the executive editor). The comments provided by our reviewers will definitely help the authors to revise the paper even if it is unfortunately declined for publication in our journal. In fact, I have seen several cases where the declined papers were published in other journals after taking consideration of comments from our reviewers.

Paper Summary


Well-Collision-Avoidance Separation Rule is a companion paper to Well-Collision-Avoidance Management and Principles, published in the December 2018 issue. This paper presents a standardized collision-avoidance rule that is recommended as an industry standard. It also lists the necessary equations and input parameters for use in both drilling planning and operations. Well engineers are encouraged to use these equations in their work.

A filter cake should be formed on the wall of the hole during drilling operation; however, it should be removed effectively after drilling operation to enhance the productivity of a well. The second paper, Removal of Barite-Scale and Barite-Weighted Water- or Oil-Based-Drilling-Fluid Residue in a Single Stage, introduces a new formation to dissolve barite scale and barite filter cake using converters and catalysts. In the paper, removal of filter cake by water-based drilling fluids and by oil-based drilling fluids is discussed. The results of this study show that the barite-removal efficiency of the new formulation is 87% for water-based mud and 83% for oil-based mud.

The occurrence of reversible mud losses and gains while drilling in natural-fracture formations is of primary concern. This phenomenon is generally referred to as borehole breathing. A misinterpretation might jeopardize kick-detection operations and lead to kick misdiagnosis. A Novel Approach to Borehole-Breathing Investigation in Naturally Fractured Formations develops a model involving a continuously distributed fracture network. According to the authors, the developed model is able to quantify pressure distribution in fractures and pores, together with the flow rate entering or exiting the fractures. This model can help the identification of the major differences between a kick and breathing.

Improved Wellbore Stability in North Sea Lark and Horda Shales Through Shale/Fluid-Compatibility Optimization finds that wellbore instability is caused mainly by mud-pressure invasion into the shales, which destabilizes them over time. An experimental testing program revealed that this effect occurs in both water-based mud and oil-based mud. A new system, together with improved operational guidelines, was successfully implemented in the field with improved drilling performance. Although the paper dealt with the wellbore stability problem in a specific field, the procedure used in the paper may be applied effectively in other areas with similar issues.


The performance of the metal/metal seal in a casing connection is affected by the friction and wear that occurred during makeup and by cycle loads in the subsequent operation. The Role of Phosphate-Conversion Coatings in the Makeup and Sealing Ability of Casing Connections reports an extensive test program to investigate the role of phosphate coatings. The test results indicate a strong influence of the phosphate coating leading to damage-free makeup, low wear, and less dependence on the lubricant for optimal sealing ability.

Sustained annulus pressures have been reported in many fields, and are often referred to as sustained casing pressure (SCP). There are two types of SCP—that in the “B” annulus (annulus between the production casing and the outer intermediate casing) and that in the “A” annulus (annulus between the tubing string and the production casing). It was believed that SCP in the “A” annulus was attributed to ingress into the annuals. However, the mechanism triggering the ingress into the “A” annulus was uncertain. Explaining Sustained “A”-Annulus Pressure in Major North Sea High-Pressure/High-Temperature Fields finds new evidence on the mechanism causing the ingress after a detailed analysis of the surveys of some abandoned high-pressure/high-temperature wells. A localized shear deformation in casing is suspected to be responsible for the gas ingress into the “A” annulus.

CT scanning is widely used to nondestructively image geomaterials to examine vesicle/bubble shapes in volcanic rocks to determine the shear magnitude and the flow orientation. In the last paper of this issue, Laboratory Foamed-Cement-Curing Evolution Using CT Scanning: Insights From Elevated-Pressure Generation, CT scanning was used to analyze the properties of two laboratory foamed-cement samples. The CT-captured curing progression was analyzed to quantify the gas-void alterations with time.

That’s it for this first issue in 2019. If you have any suggestions to make that will improve our journal, please e-mail me at Shilin.Chen@Halliburton.com. Your opinions will be seriously considered.

Shilin Chen, SPE Drill & Compl Executive Editor,
Chief Technical Advisor, Halliburton