Bottom Hole Pressure Relationship

This post will show you Lean about bottom hole pressure relationship because this concept is very important for well control concept.
The bottom hole pressure is sum of all the pressure acting on the bottom hole. We can describe the statement before as the following equation;

Bottom Hole Pressure (BHP) = Surface Pressure (SP) + Hydrostatic Pressure (HP)

The image below demonstrates the relationship of bottom hole pressure.

Bottom Hole Pressure Relationship

Note: BHP created by hydrostatic column of drilling fluid is the primary well control in drilling.

Looking more into details,

If BHP is more than FP (formation pressure), this situation is called “Overbalance”.

If BHP is equal to FP (formation pressure), this situation is called “Balance”.

If BHP is less than FP (formation pressure), this situation is called “Underbalance”.

For more understanding, please follow this example below demonstrating the relationship of BHP, SP and HP.

Bottom Hole Pressure (BHP) = Surface Pressure (SP) + Hydrostatic Pressure (HP)

Bottom Hole Pressure Relationship 2

We assume that formation pressure is normal pressure gradient of water gradient (0.465 psi/ft) so formation pressure at 8000’ TVD = 8000 ft x 0.465 psi/ft = 3720 psi. Click here to learn how to calculate hydrostatic pressure in oilfield.

The first case: Hydrostatic column is water which is equal to formation pressure gradient so SP is equal to 0 psi

The second case: BHP is still be water gradient but fluid column is oil (0.35 psi/ft) which is lower density than water gradient (0.465 psi/ft). Therefore, in order to balance BHP, we need Surface Pressure (SP) of 920 psi (SP = 3720 – (0.35 x 8000)).

The third case: BHP is still be water gradient but fluid column is gas (0.1 psi/ft) which is even lower density than water gradient (0.465 psi/ft). Therefore, in order to balance BHP, we need Surface Pressure (SP) of 2,920 psi (SP = 3720 – (0.1 x 8000)).

According to the example, Surface Pressure (SP) will compensate the lack of hydrostatic pressure (HP) in order to balance formation pressure (FP).

Ref book: Drilling Formula Book Formulas and Calculations for Drilling, Production and Workover, Second Edition

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8 Responses to Bottom Hole Pressure Relationship

  1. Iwah Awara says:

    pls can u tell me the effect of reservoir fluid on bottom hole pressure and top hole pressure

    • Reservoir fluid does not effect bottom hole pressure when in balance condition but in case of well control situation, if the reservoir fluid is gas, it well effect bottom hole and surface pressure.

  2. Doki says:

    Please what’s the role of Reservoir Pressure, Static Bottomhole Pressure, Hydrostatic head, tubing pressure and flowing bottom hole pressure in determining the size of an EZP pump for a well?

  3. Joe says:

    So why do companies run BHP bombs, if you can just calculate your BHP?

  4. Nam Tran says:

    Thank you so much for you posts.

    I am a fresh graduate. I have just got a job in Halliburton as a FE. However, my major in university is mechanical engineering. This web site is helping me so much to have a basic ideal about my job. I will spend 1 hour everyday to learn from this website!

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