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Case Study Examines Safely Exceeding Buckling Loads in Long Horizontal Wells

The general industry perception is that, when drillstrings or casing strings exceed conventional helical-buckling criteria, they cannot be operated safely in the hole because the risk of failure or lockup is too high. However, some theoretical, experimental, and field case studies have shown that a tubular may be run in the hole even in a buckling state within safe limits.

Introduction

Buckling occurs when the compressive load in a tubular exceeds a critical value, beyond which the tubular is no longer stable and deforms into a sinusoidal or helical shape. Sinusoidal buckling corresponds to a tube that snaps into a sinusoidal shape, and it is sometimes called lateral buckling, snaking, or two-dimensional buckling. Helical buckling corresponds to a tube that snaps into a helical (spiral) shape.

Recent studies have shown that the conventional sinusoidal- and helical-buckling criteria are accurate only in a perfect wellbore geometry because wellbore tortuosity and doglegs play a great role in the buckling phenomenon. An example is illustrated in Fig. 1, which shows that sinusoidal and helical buckling take place simultaneously despite the same compression; doglegs and tortuosity play an important role in the onset of buckling.

This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 163518, “Safely Exceeding Buckling Loads in Long Horizontal Wells: Case Study in Shale Plays,” by S. Menand, SPE, DrillScan, and D. C-K Chen, SPE, Hess, prepared for the 2013 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, 5–7 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Case Study Examines Safely Exceeding Buckling Loads in Long Horizontal Wells

01 June 2013

Volume: 65 | Issue: 6

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