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Friction factors for hydraulic calculations considering presence of cuttings and pipe rotation in horizontal/highly-inclined wellbores

2011-08-01
Sorgun, Mehmet
Aydın, İsmail
Ozbayoglu, M. Evren
Pressure loss calculations have a vital role for determining hydraulic horsepower requirements and to predict bottomhole treating pressure. One of the major concerns in developing hydraulic programs is to estimate the frictional pressure losses while cuttings are present in the annulus during pipe rotation. An experimental work has been carried out in a cuttings transport flow loop capable of operating at various inclinations. The pressure drop in the test section was recorded for variable flow rates, cuttings concentrations, pipe inclinations and rotation speeds. Existence of cuttings increase the pressure drop due to decrease in flow area inside the wellbore. As there are cuttings in the system, pipe rotation decreases the frictional pressure loss considerably in particular if the pipe is making an orbital motion in the eccentric annulus. Cuttings bed thickness defined as the ratio of cuttings bed area to the wellbore area is expressed in terms of dimensionless parameters obtained from dimensional analysis. Empirical expressions and charts for friction factor are proposed for low and high viscosity fluids in terms of combined Reynolds number and stationary cuttings bed thickness.