McDonough

Wellbore Tubulars

We wear small bands on our fingers for many reasons. The rings have many meanings; the wedding ring may be the most common. This band, signifying no beginning or end, represents a union or reminds the wearer that he or she is married. It is traditionally worn on the left hand, on the vena amoris, the digit that the Romans believed was connected directly to the heart. Puzzle rings, or gimmel bands, are another type of ring used as wedding bands that has dual meanings. The word “gimmel” comes from the Latin gemellus and means “twin” or “paired.” Engaged couples would each wear one piece of the puzzle ring and, upon marriage, join the two bands with another provided by the priest. Once joined, the bands formed a puzzle that, if removed, was difficult to piece back together. Deceit that led to infidelity was made more difficult because the wearer might not be able to put the puzzle back together. Wedding rings have different traditions in eastern and western cultures, but they always hold a strong mental connection for the wearers.

Rings also tie us to our accomplishments or recollections. School rings and championship rings can tie us to a collegiate career or a significant athletic accomplishment. The purpose of these rings is to remember. I have always been inspired by a tradition that many Canadian engineers have of wearing an iron ring. The ring is worn on the little finger of the engineer’s dominant hand so that, when writing or tasking with the dominant hand, the engineer is reminded of his or her obligations. The tradition holds that the iron in the ring came from a bridge that failed and cost many lives. The ring is small and is designed to be a constant reminder. The tradition continues when the engineer retires; the ring is returned to service as an “experienced ring.”

Preventing failures in our field is imperative for safety and economic operation. Learning from these failures, properly documenting and remembering them, is important for avoiding catastrophes. We may engineer a process, a method, or a particular part to reduce failures and enhance operations. Solid-expandable-tubular technology is a fairly new technology that is gaining more promising and important applications in oil- and gas-wellbore design. Constant improvements to the deployment of this technology are increasing its reliability and number of applications. Heat treatment of the expansion-cone material used in an expanding tubular is one such modification. The drillpipe-connection phase of the drilling operation can be one of the greater opportunities for failures and mishaps. An improperly handled connection procedure can damage drillpipe; stick a drillstring; and, in the case of managed- pressure drilling, induce an unwanted influx. One of the selected papers reviews a database of drillpipe-connection damage, and another reviews a method for making connections in the managed-pressure environment.

Read the paper synopses in the June 2012 issue of JPT.

Casey McDonough, SPE, is a drilling engineer for Chesapeake Operating. He has 7 years of practical drilling experience working in the Permian Basin and with the Barnett and Marcellus shale. McDonough has nearly 20 years of combined consulting, managerial, technical, and field experience in the oil and gas industry. He has worked as a consultant for Knowledge Systems, providing clients with pore-pressure and wellbore-stability studies. McDonough also held technical and managerial positions in downhole logging-while-drilling development for Dresser and Halliburton, where he contributed to density, neutron, vibration, and hot-hole technology. He began his career as a field engineer for Sperry Sun Drilling Services and holds a BS degree in industrial engineering from the University of Oklahoma. McDonough serves on the JPT Editorial Committee.

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