Automated surface measurements of non-Newtonian fluid properties




Gul, Sercan

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Accurate and frequent mud checking is critical to optimum well construction. Proper assessment and management of drilling fluid properties such as density and rheology maintains the fluid in its role as the primary well control barrier and optimizes the fluid 's hydraulics and hole cleaning ability. However, a full mud check while drilling is typically done only once or twice a day. Moreover, the measurements are performed using largely antiquated equipment for which the data quality and reliability are highly dependent on the practicing mud engineer. An automated, continuous, and practical way of measuring and monitoring drilling fluid properties is therefore needed. Novel measurement approaches are introduced to achieve automated surface measurements of non-Newtonian fluid properties. The automated rheology measurements are conducted by a novel helical pipe-viscometer method. The real-time friction factor and critical Reynolds number values are provided by using a straight pipe-viscometer system. Other important fluid properties such as pressurized-density, oil/water ratio and temperature are provided using high-quality in-line sensors. Filtrate loss information is provided by leveraging machine-learning regressions using the automatically measured values of rheological properties, density and electrical stability. Moreover, a novel in-line X-ray fluorescence measurement approach is introduced to determine solids content and salinity of fluids. This dissertation provides details about the measurement technologies as well as the results from laboratory experiments and field trials. It was shown that by combining the measurement systems introduced here, it is possible to construct a skid unit that performs continuous drilling fluid sampling and measurements at variable temperatures. The unit is able to send real-time data to data servers and provide detailed mud reports to engineers working either on-site or remotely. The technology described here opens the door to fully automated fluid monitoring, maintenance, and solids control in well construction operations. This will benefit well construction efficiency (e.g. lowering drilling costs by better cuttings transport), quality, productivity (e.g. reducing reservoir impairment from unwanted solids) and safety (e.g. lowering incidence of well control and lost circulation events due to better equivalent circulating density (ECD) management in narrow margin drilling environments)


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