Choke Line Friction Pressure as Kill Weight Mud Approaches the Surface

Choke Line Friction pressure (CLF) has directly affect on the bottom hole pressure while performing well kill operation in a deepwater operation. You may be able to circulate the kick out of the well without breaking the shoe down with the current mud weight however; the well can be fractured when the kill weight mud reaches the surface due to excessive CLF.


How Kill Weight Mud and CLF Will Break the Shoe

When the kill mud is circulated from the bit to surface as per the second circulation of driller’s method, drill pipe pressure is held constant and the choke is gradually opened. Once the choke is in the fully open position, the back pressure due to choking back the well is gone but the CLF is still there. With the heavier weight, the CLF with KWM will be more than the CLF with the original mud. If the hydrostatic pressure is more than the fracture pressure, the formation will be broken down.  Let’s take a look at the following calculation to get clearer picture of this topic. Continue reading

How To Compensate Choke Line Friction For Deep Water Well Control

Choke line friction pressure will increase bottom hole pressure while circulating to kill the well therefore it must be compensated in order to maintain the bottom hole pressure relatively constant. This section will describe how to compensate the choke line friction while bring pump up to speed.

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Choke Line Friction – How Does It Affect Deepwater Well Control?

Choke line friction (CLF) is the frictional pressure which is generated while circulating mud through choke or kill line. For surface stack, the choke line friction is negligible because the choke line is short therefore the friction pressure is so small. However, the choke line friction in deepwater operation has a big effect bottom hole pressure. Killing the well without considering the CLF will add excessive pressure and it increases the chance of fracturing formation at casing shoe or anywhere in the well.

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Fracture Gradient Reduction Due to Water Depth

Fracture gradient is one of the critical information which drilling engineers need to know in order to design drilling programs. For the well control stand point, the fracture gradient directly affects on how much influx volume can be successfully contained in the wellbore. If the wellbore pressure is over the fracture pressure, formations would be broken down and this situation will result in loss of drilling fluid into formations. Additionally, it might lead to well control situation because of loss of hydrostatic pressure. Fracture gradient is quite straight forward for land operation because it will not be reduce due to water column. However, the fracture gradient will be reduced in deepwater environment. In this article, we will discuss why water depth can cause the reduction in fracture gradient.

Fracture Gradient Reduction Due to Water Depth

Basically, the fracture gradient is related to fluids occupying in pore spaces of rock and weight of rock which are called overburden pressure. Generally, the overburden of a typical sedimentary is about 1.0 psi/ft (19.2 ppg). Rocks will be fractured when the wellbore pressure exceeds the confining stresses acting on it. If we make a general assumption that the overburden pressure causes the minimum confining stress of the rock. Then the formation fracture gradient will not be 1.0 psi/ft if the location is offshore.

Note: this assumption is made in order to help you get more understanding on how and why water depth can decrease the formation fracture gradient.

Why does the water depth reduce fracture gradient?

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