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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL

TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

CASING SEAT SELECTION CRITERIA


CASING SETTING DEPTH CRITERIA
The general criteria for the selection of casing shoe setting depths is that hole
selection should be drilled successfully and safely at minimum cost. The casing shoe is
normally set in competent formation which should be able to withstand the forces imposed
upon it during well activity.
CONDUCTOR CASING
The shoe depth selected for the conductor casing should be strong enough to
withstand fracturing during drilling the next hole interval which is assumed to have no
hydrocarbon bearing intervals.
To estimate the anticipated fracture pressure, the following conditions must be considered:
Drilling rate with loading effect in annulus
Equivalent circulating density
Mud weight to be used
SURFACE CASING
Surface casing is treated as conductor casing if no hydrocarbons are expected
in the next hole interval or alternatively as intermediate casing in the event that
hydrocarbons are expected in the next phase of drilling. In many countries it is statutory
requirement to cover all the fresh water sands with the surface casing.
INTERMEDIATE CASING
The shoe selected for intermediate casing should be strong enough to
withstand fracture during drilling the next hole selection and should be able to take a kick of
pre defined size. Other major considerations for selection of intermediate casing seat are:
Differential pressure consideration for safe lowering of the casing
Isolation of troublesome or unstable formations which may include heaving shales,
loss circulation zones, flowing halites etc
length of open hole
METHODOLOGY OF CASING SEAT SELECTION
The mechanism for selecting casing setting depth is as follows :
1. The well objective is clearly defined.

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

2. Actual problems encountered in nearby wells


3. The potential problems encountered in nearly wells are short listed.
4. Pore and fracture pressure for the well is estimated.
5. The pore and fracture pressure profile is overlaid against the lithological column,
potential troublesome zones and the hydrocarbon bearing zones.
6. A basic casing programme is prepared as per the procedure detailed out in the
example.
7. Production casing shoe depth requirements are studied and suitable formation and
depth are selected so as to meet these requirements as an absolute minimum.
8. Intermediate casing shoe depth requirements are studied to satisfy designed kick
tolerance and the differential pressure consideration and a suitable casing point is
selected to meet these requirements as an absolute minimum.
9. Kick tolerance and the maximum differential pressure for the selected seat.
10. Surface casing and conductor casing shoe depth requirements are studied
accordingly suitable formation and depth are selected.
Procedure for selecting casing seat for an abnormal pressure well is illustrated
with the help of example given below.
CASING POINT SELECTION
EXAMPLE :
Following pressure data and design data is given for selection of casing in the
example well to be drilled :
Depth (m) Formation pressure Fracture pressure
MWE (gm/cc) MWE (gm/cc)
400 1.07 1.46
800 1.07 1.52
1200 1.07 1.57
1600 1.07 1.61
2000 1.07 1.65
2400 1.07 1.69
2800 1.07 1.77

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

3100 1.07 1.81


3200 1.40 1.82
3320 1.50 1.83
3400 1.57 1.83
3600 1.64 1.86
3800 1.65 1.89
3920 1.66 1.90
4000 1.67 1.91
4100 1.68 1.92
4320 1.70 1.94
4520 1.72 1.95
4680 1.75 1.97
4800 1.78 1.99
5000 1.80 2.10
Design data :
1. Swab consideration 0.04 gm/cc
2. Surge consideration 0.04 gm/cc
3. Safety factor 0.02 gm/cc

4. Allowable P (Normal pressure) 170 Kg/cm2

5. Allowable P (Abnormal pressure) 215 Kg/cm2


6. Design kick size 0.06 gm/cc

The differential pressure limit of 170 Kg/cm 2 and 215 Kg/cm2 against
normal pressure and abnormal pressure zone respectively has been taken for illustration only
and can vary for different field conditions. It also depends on the general attention given to
mud properties and drill string configuration.
SOLUTION :
Following graphical representation is made for selection of casing seats in the example well
to be drilled.
Now, with the graphical representation we may proceed as follows :

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

Max. anticipated
formation pressure = 1.80 gm/cc (MWE)
Swab consideration = +.04 gm/cc
Minimum acceptable
mud weight = 1.84 gm/cc
Surge considerations = +.04 gm/cc
Minimum fracture

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

gradient = 1.88 gm/cc (MWE)


Safety factor = +.02 gm/cc
Design fracture gradient = 1.90 gm/cc (MWE
Entering graphical representation of MWE for Formation pressure /Fracture pressure
gradient versus depth with a design fracture gradient (MWE) of 1.90 gm/cc at bottom and
projecting up to intersection with actual fracture gradient curve, yields a tentative casing
point at 3920 m having a formation pressure of 1.66 gm/cc MWE as shown in fig 2.
The differential pressure across the deepest possible normal pressured sand at 3100 m is

P = (1.70 - 1.07) 3100 = 195.3 Kg/cm2


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Since the actual differential pressure is greater than the allowable value of

differential pressure across deepest normal pressured formation (195.3 Kg/cm2 > 170

Kg/cm2), the probability of the casing string becoming differentially stuck while trying to
run in as
interm

ediate casing is too great.

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

Therefore, the tentative casing point, in this case is the shallowest depth to which a liner can
be run.
The next step is to determines to what maximum depth intermediate casing
can be safely set, so as not to become stuck while running in.

If 170 Kg/cm2 is the allowable differential pressure, the P equation can be set with P

equal to 170Kgcm2 and solved for the mud weight which can be in the hole when
intermediate casing is run.
170 = (MW - 1.07) 3100
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so, MW = 1700 + 1.07
3100
and MW = 1.618 gm/cc

Therefore, a mud weight of 1.61 gm/cc will result in a P of 170 Kg/cm2.


If the swab consideration is subtracted from mud weight, the formation pressure into which

intermediate casing can be set without exceeding the 170 kg/cm 2 allowable differential
pressure be determined.

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

mud weight = 1.61 gm/cc


Surge considerations = -.04 gm/cc
Formation pressure = 1.57 gm/cc (MWE)
The setting depth of intermediate casing can obtained graphically by noting the depth
at which formation pressure of 1.57 gm/cc (MWE) exists. A formation pressure if
1.57 gm/cc (MWE) exists at 3400 m as shown in fig 3.
Knowing the depth to which intermediate casing is to be set and the formation
pressure and fracture gradient associated with that setting depths allows
determination of the deepest point to which the liner can be set.
The fracture gradient at intermediate casing point i.e. 3400 m is 1.83 gm/cc
MWE (from graphical representation). By subtracting off safety factor, surge
consideration and swab consideration, the formation pressure which can be reached
while drilling below intermediate casing can be determined.
Fracture gradient = 1.83 gm/cc (MWE)
Safety factor = -.02gm/cc
Minimum fracture gradient = 1.81 gm/cc (MWE)
Surge considerations = -.04gm/cc
Minimum mud weight = 1.77 gm/cc
Swab considerations = -.04gm/cc
Formation pressure = 1.73 gm/cc (MWE)

This means that when a formation pressure of 1.73 gm/cc (MWE) is reached,
the fracture gradient below intermediate casing will be "used up" and additional
casing must be set to safely continue drilling operation.
If this case, a formation pressure of 1.73 gm/cc (MWE) exists at a depth of
4560 m. Therefore, the deepest depth to which a liner can be set is 4560 m.
The intermediate casing setting depth is known (3400 m).
Similarly, to obtain the setting depth for the 2nd intermediate casing, we may
proceed as explained below:
Max. anticipated formation

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

Pressure above 3400 m = 1.57 gm/cc (MWE)


Swab considerations = +.04 gm/cc
Minimum acceptable
mud weight = 1.61 gm/cc
Surge considerations = +.04 gm/cc
Minimum fracture gradient = 1.65 gm/cc (MWE
Safety factor = +.02 gm/cc
Design fracture gradient = 1.67 gm/cc (MWE)
Taking the graphical representation (fig 4) at 1.67 gm/cc at 3400 m and
projecting upto the fracture curve yields another intermediate casing point of 2200 m
(formation pressure = 1.07 gm/cc MWE).
The surface casing setting depth is determined using the the equivalent mud
weight equation based on a 0.06 gm/cc (0.5 ppg) MWE kick at intermediate casing
point 2200 m by trial and error method as explained below.
Select a trial setting depth for surface casing.
a. Trial depth d = 320 m
Min. Mud weight at 2200 m = 1.11 gm/cc
EMW = 1.11 + 2200 x .06 = 1.52 gm/cc
320
Fracture Gradient at 320 m = 1.45 gm/cc (MWE) (from the graph)
Since the load is greater than the strength, this trial depth is insufficient and another
trial depth must be evaluated.
b. Trial depth d = 400 m
EMW = 1.11 + 2200 x .06 = 1.44 gm/cc
400
Fracture Gradient at 400 m = 1.46 gm/cc (MWE) (from the graph)
At 400 m. the strength is 1.46 gm/cc (MWE). A load of 1.44 gm/cc (MWE)
can be expected at initial shut in for a 0.06 gm/cc (.5ppg) MWE kick. The 0.02
gm/cc margin is acceptable for gain considerations.
Therefore, the surface casing setting depth is 400 m.

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

The liner setting depth can be further defined by evaluating :


1. Differential sticking probability
2. Ability to "take" a 0.06 gm/cc (.5ppg) MWE kick while drilling to liner setting
depth.
Since it is advantageous to set the liner as deep as possible to limit the small
size hole to a minimum, the deepest liner setting depth will be analysed and
evaluated for the two above listed considerations.
Evaluation of the probability of differentially sticking the liner, when setting it
at its deepest possible depth, is similar to the P evalution previously used for
intermediate casing.
The most likely place for the liner to become stuck is opposite to the deepest
zone (with lowest formation pressure gradient) exposed below intermediate casing.
In this case, the lower pressured zone will be 1.57 gm/cc MWE of formation
pressure immediately below intermediate casing at 3400 m.
The deepest liner setting depth is 4560m. with 1.73 gm/cc MWE of formation
pressure which, considering swab effect, will require 1.77 gm/cc mud.
Calculation of differential pressure :

P = (1.77 - 1.57) 3400 = 68 Kg/cm2


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Since intermediate casing is set into abnormal pressure and only abnormal pressures
exist beneath the intermediate casing, the allowable differential pressure is 215

Kg/cm2. The actual P is less than the allowable P. Therefore, the deepest liner
point (4560m) is acceptable from differential sticking point of view.
If the actual P had exceeded the allowable P, the deepest liner setting
depth would have been reduced by trial and error until a satisfactory value obtained.
The ability to take a 0.06 gm/cc (.5 ppg) MWE kick while drilling beneath the
intermediate casing will also control liner setting depth.

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

Again, the deeper the liner can be set, the better. Therefore, the
deepest liner setting depth (4560 m) will be the starting point for this evaluation.
If a 0.06 gm/cc (.5 ppg) MWE kick is encountered at 4560 m, with a 1.77
gm/cc mud in the hole, the EMW at intermediate casing depth is :
EMW = 1.77 + 4560 x (.06) = 1.85 gm/cc
3400
Fracture gradient at 3400 m = 1.83 gm/cc (MWE) (from graph)
Since the load is greater than the strength, the 4560 m setting depth for the liner is
too deep and must be reduced.
a. A trial depth of 4200 m is considered :
The formation pressure at 4200 m is 1.69 gm/cc (MWE) which will require a mud
weight of 1.73 gm/cc for swab consideration.

EMW = 1.73 + 4200 x (.06) = 1.80 gm/cc


3400
Fracture gradient at 3400 m = 1.83 gm/cc (MWE) (from graph)

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

This depth of 4200 m is acceptable, as the strength (1.83 gm/cc MWE) is


greater than the load (1.80 gm/cc MWE). However, the margin is perhaps larger
than necessary indicating that a slightly deeper depth can be attained before the liner
is set.
b. A trial depth of 4320 m is taken :
EMW = 1.74 + 4320 x (.06) = 1.81 gm/cc
3400
Fracture gradient at 3400 m = 1.83 gm/cc (MWE) (from graph)
Again, this is an acceptable depth. This time however, the margin is .02
gm/cc. If this is a satisfactory value. then 4320 m becomes the deepest depth to
which a liner can be set.
Now, a range of setting depths for a drilling liner is known. The shallowest
depth to which a liner can be set is 3920 m and the deepest depth to which a liner can
be set is 4320 m. Therefore, a liner will be set somewhere between these two points.
Casing point selection summary
Surface casing point - 400 m
A setting depth of 400 m for surface casing results in a fracture gradient of
1.46 gm/cc (MWE). This fracture value is sufficient to drill to intermediate casing
point (2200 m) against 1.07 gm/cc (MWE) of formation pressures requiring a mud
weight of 1.11 gm/cc, with allowance for error and the strength to safely handle as
much as a 0.06 gm/cc (MWE) kick.
1st intermediate casing point - 2200 m
By setting the 1st intermediate casing at 2200 m, the open hole interval is
reduced and the surface casing shoe is protected as it is not capable of holding the
mud weight required to drill the formation at 3400 m.
2nd intermediate casing point - 3400 m
By setting intermediate casing to 3400 m against 1.57 gm/cc (MWE) of
formation pressure and 1.61 gm/cc mud in the hole, the potential for sticking this casing

string , when running, is minimised by using an allowable P value of 170 Kg/cm2 to


determine this casing point.

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
TRAINING DEPARTMENT, IDT

The 3400 m depth results in a fracture gradient of 1.83 gm/cc (MWE). This
allows drilling to a depth of 4320 m and setting a drilling liner. The formation pressure
below intermediate casing (1.70 gm/cc of MWE) is utilized to evaluate sticking of the liner.
The final fracture gradient below intermediate casing (1.83 gm/cc of MWE) is utilized to
evaluate ability to handle a design size kick (0.06 gm/cc MWE), while drilling to liner
point.
Liner setting interval - 3920 - 4320 m
In order to drill to the proposed total depth of 5000 m in this example well, a
design fracture gradient of 1.90 gm/cc is required. Intermediate casing can not be set deep
enough (because it will be at high risk of becoming stuck) to attain this fracture gradient. A
liner can be set to 3920 m and will achieve the required fracture gradient to drill to TD.
It is always advantageous to minimize the length of small diameter hole
required in abnormally pressured formations. It is therefore, advisable to set the necessary
liner as deep as possible. An evaluation of the formation strength below intermediate casing
shows that a liner might be set as deep as 4560 m. However, design size kick (0.06 gm/cc
MWE) evaluation shows that a depth of only 4320 m can be reached.
Further evaluation of potential for differential sticking shows no problem with
4320 m as a maximum setting depth for the liner.

Therefore, the liner can be set anywhere between 3920 m and 4320 m, without

fear of sticking it and losing hole below intermediate casing due to a kick. Also if the liner

is set at this interval, sufficient fracture gradient will be attained to facilitate drilling to target

depth without need of additional strings of casing.

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DRILLING TECHNOLOGY SCHOOL
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