Table of Contents
Journal of Petroleum Engineering
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 486423, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/486423
Research Article

CFD Method for Predicting Annular Pressure Losses and Cuttings Concentration in Eccentric Horizontal Wells

1Petroleum Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskandar, 31750 Tronoh, Malaysia
2Mechanical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskandar, 31750 Tronoh, Malaysia

Received 28 December 2013; Accepted 10 March 2014; Published 10 April 2014

Academic Editor: Markus Kraft

Copyright © 2014 Titus N. Ofei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In oil and gas drilling operations, predictions of pressure losses and cuttings concentration in the annulus are very complex due to the combination of interacting drilling parameters. Past studies have proposed many empirical correlations to estimate pressure losses and cuttings concentration. However, these developed correlations are limited to their experimental data range and setup, and hence, they cannot be applicable to all cases. CFD methods have the advantages of handling complex multiphase flow problems, as well as, an unlimited number of physical and operational conditions. The present study employs the inhomogeneous (Eulerian-Eulerian) model to simulate a two-phase solid-fluid flow and predict pressure losses and cuttings concentration in eccentric horizontal annuli as a function of varying drilling parameters: fluid velocity, diameter ratio (ratio of inner pipe diameter to outer pipe diameter), inner pipe rotation speed, and fluid type. Experimental data for pressure losses and cuttings concentration from previous literature compared very well with simulation data, confirming the validity of the current model. The study shows how reliable CFD methods can replicate the actual, yet complex oil and gas drilling operations.