Lag Time for Drilling Business and How to Calculate Theoretical Lag Time

I got an email from Sanan asking me about how to calculate lag time. First of all, you need to know what the lag time is.

Lag time is traveling time interval required for pumping cuttings from each particular depth to surface. It can be expressed in terms of time (minutes) and pump strokes.

The lag time always changes when a well becomes deeper and/or pumping speed change. Two factors, affecting lag time calculation, are annulus volume of drilling fluid in and drilling mud flow rate.

With certain annular volume, the lag time, normally expressed in minutes, can be determined by dividing the annular volume (bbls) by the flow rate (bbl/min).

If there are changes in mud flow rate, the lag time figure will be changed as well. In order compensate for any changes, the lag time is transformed into pump strokes too; therefore, a change in speed of pump will not affect the lag time.

How to Calculate Theoretical Lag Time

There are 3 steps to do in order to calculate lag time as listed below;

1. Calculate pump output
2. Calculate annular volume at certain depth of hole
3. Calculate the theoretical lag time

Example – Determine lag time from bottom to surface with the following information;

Bit depth = 9500’ MD
Pump rate = 300 GPM
Annular volume at 9500’ MD = 250 bbl
Pump details: Triplex pump, 97% efficiency, liner size 6” and stroke length 12”


Triplex Pump Output Formula is listed below;

Triplex Pump Output in bbl/stk = efficiency x 0.000243 x (liner diameter in inch) 2 X (stroke length in inch)

Triplex Pump Output in bbl/stk = 0.97x 0.000243 x (6) 2 X (12)
Triplex pump output = 0.102 bbl/stroke

Pump rate = 300 GPM ÷ 42 = 7.14 bbl / minute

Lag time in minutes = 250 bbl ÷ 7.14 bbl / minute = 35 minutes
Lag time in strokes = 250 bbl ÷ 0.102 bbl/stroke = 2451 strokes

Please find the lag time calculation sheet

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

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3 Responses to Lag Time for Drilling Business and How to Calculate Theoretical Lag Time

  1. Alexander says:

    Why you didn’t use rheology of the mud?

  2. Yasir says:

    Can I Have The resource book please ?

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