Analysis of sinusoidal and helical buckling of drill string in horizontal wells using finite element method

Arpacı, Erdoğan
The number of horizontal wells is increasing rapidly in all over the world with the growth of new technological developments. During horizontal well drilling, much more complex problems occur when compared with vertical well drilling, such as decrease in load transfer to the bit, tubular failure, tubular fatigue and tubular lock-up. This makes selection of appropriate tubular and making the right drill string design more important. As the total compression load on the horizontal section increases, the behavior of the tubular changes from straight to sinusoidal buckling, and if the total compression load continues to increase the behavior of the tubular changes to helical buckling. Determination of critical buckling loads with finite element method (FEM) in horizontal wells is the main objective of this study. Initially, a computer program (ANSYS) that uses FEM is employed to simulate different tubular and well conditions. Four different pipe sizes, four different wellbore sizes and three different torque values are used to model the cases. Critical buckling load values corresponding to significant variables are collected from these simulated cases. The results are classified into different buckling modes according to the applied weight on bit values and the main properties of the simulated model, such as modulus of elasticity, moment of inertia of tubular cross section, weight per unit length of tubular and radial clearance between the wellbore and the tubular. Then, the boundary equations between the buckling modes are obtained. The equations developed in this thesis by simulating the cases for the specific tubular sizes are used to make a comparison between the critical buckling load values from the models in the literature and this work. It is observed that the results of this work fit with literature models as the tubular size increases. The influence of torque on critical buckling load values is investigated. It is observed that torque has a slight effect on critical buckling load values. Also the applicability of ANSYS for buckling problems was revealed by comparing the ANSYS results with the literature models’ results and the experimental study in the literature.


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Citation Formats
E. Arpacı, “Analysis of sinusoidal and helical buckling of drill string in horizontal wells using finite element method,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2009.