Annular Velocity and Its Importance to Drilling Hydraulics

Annular velocity is the speed of fluid moving up the annulus and it must be high enough to transport cuttings generated while drilling from the wellbore. However, if the annular velocity is too high, it can create hole wash out and excessive equivalent circulating density.

When the drilling mud is circulated through a system, the moving speed is lower at location where the cross section area is bigger. Conversely, when the fluid flows through the small cross section area, the annular velocity at that point is higher.

The cross section area around drill collar and BHA has the smallest area so the annular velocity is the highest.

 

(Annular velocity around drill collar and BHA)

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Annular Velocity (AV) Calculation

Annular Velocity (AV) is how fast of fluid in annulus while pumping.

Three main factors affecting annular velocity are size of hole (bigger ID), size of drill pipe (smaller OD) and pump rate. This post will show you how to calculate annular velocity in feet per minute with different formulas.

Formula#1: Annular velocity (AV) in ft/min



Annular velocity in ft/min = Flow rate in bbl/min ÷ annular capacity in bbl/ft

Example:
Flow rate = 10 bbl/min
Annular capacity = 0.13 bbl/ft
AV = 10 bbl/min ÷ 0.13 bbl/ft
AV = 76.92 ft/mim

Formula#2: Annular velocity (AV) in ft/min



Annular velocity in ft/min = (24.5 x Q) ÷ (Dh2 – Dp2)

where
Q = flow rate in gpm
Dh = inside diameter of casing or hole size in inch
Dp = outside diameter of pipe, tubing or collars in inch

Example:
Flow rate (Q) = 800 gpm
Hole size = 10 in.
Drill pipe OD = 5 in.
AV = (24.5 x 800) ÷ (102 – 52)
AV = 261 ft/mim

Formula#3: Annular velocity (AV) in ft/min



Annular Velocity in ft/min = Flow rate (Q) in bbl/min x 1029.4÷ (Dh2 – Dp2)

Example:
Flow rate (Q) = 13 bbl/min
Hole size = 10 in.
Drill pipe OD = 5 in.
AV = 13 bbl/min x 1029.4 ÷ (102 – 52)
AV = 178.43 ft/min

You also can back calculate how much flow rate you want for desired annular velocity in feet per minute as per following formulas.

Flow rate required in gpm = (AV in ft/min) x (Dh2 – DP2) ÷ 24.5

AV = desired annular velocity in ft/min
Dh = inside diameter of casing or hole size in inch
Dp = outside diameter of pipe, tubing or collars in inch

Example:
Desired annular velocity = 120 ft/mm
Hole size = 10 in
Drill pipe OD = 5 in.
Flow rate required in gpm = 120 x (102– 52) ÷ 24.5
Flow rate required in gpm = 367.4 gpm

Moreover, you can calculate strokes per minute (SPM) required for a given annular velocity in feet per minute as well. The idea is to use the formula above and devided by pump output in bbl/stk. Let’s review the fomula.

SPM = (AV in ft/min x annular capacity in bbl/ft) ÷ pump output in bbl/stk

AV = desired annular velocity in ft/min

Example
Desired annular velocity in ft/min = 120 ft/min
Dh = 12-1/4 in.
Dp = 4-1/2 in.
Annular capacity = 0.1261 bbl/ft
Pump output = 0.136 bbl/stk
SPM = (120 ft/mm x 0.1261 bbl/ft) ÷ 0.136 bbl/stk
SPM = 111.3 spm

Please find the Excel sheet  for calculating annular velocity

Ref books: Lapeyrouse, N.J., 2002. Formulas and calculations for drilling, production and workover, Boston: Gulf Professional publishing.

Bourgoyne, A.J.T., Chenevert , M.E. & Millheim, K.K., 1986. SPE Textbook Series, Volume 2: Applied Drilling Engineering, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Mitchell, R.F., Miska, S. & Aadny, B.S., 2011. Fundamentals of drilling engineering, Richardson, TX: Society of Petroleum Engineers.