3D Simulator Predicts Realistic Mud Displacement in Deviated and Horizontal Wells

Over the past several decades, the industry has dedicated considerable attention to the topic of mud displacement. For deeper wells with complex trajectories, such as highly deviated or horizontal wells, conventional 2D annular-displacement simulator models face limitations. The complete paper discusses the advancements in mud-displacement simulation that overcome the limitations of the previous-generation simulator and provide a more-realistic simulation in highly deviated and horizontal wells.


The 2D mud-displacement simulator is now a standard in the industry. Nonetheless, because of the growing complexity of well geometries, some of its limitations have become apparent. 

First, the simulation work flow considers fluid displacement in the annulus only and neglects what happens as fluids travel down the pipe. The assumption is that different fluids are perfectly separated inside the casing, even after hundreds or thousands of meters. In reality, without a mechanical separator, such separation is physically impossible.

Second, as a matter of performance optimization, the simulator was implemented to simulate only half the annulus, assuming symmetrical flow in the other half. This assumption prevents the determination of azimuthal flow, or flow around the casing, which is of great importance in deviated and horizontal wells with high-density-contrast fluids. 

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 184677, “New-Generation 3D Simulator Predicts Realistic Mud Displacement in Highly Deviated and Horizontal Wells,” by P.M.J. Tardy, N.C. Flamant, E. Lac, A. Parry, C. Sri Sutama, and S.P. Baggini Almagro, Schlumberger, prepared for the 2017 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, The Hague, The Netherlands, 14–16 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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3D Simulator Predicts Realistic Mud Displacement in Deviated and Horizontal Wells

01 November 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 11


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