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Dynamic Simulation of Dual Gradient Drilling Operation using the Finite Element Method
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The deepwater and ultra-deepwater drilling industry has created several techniques to overcome the Well-Control challenge in these scenarios. Dual Gradient Drilling is one of those techniques. Created in the mid-90’s the technique is relatively new and it is not fully integrated at the market yet. The main concept it is to use a lighter fluid on top of a heavier fluid inside the wellbore and marine riser, which allows the engineer a better control of bottomhole pressure. This work is focused on understand the fluid dynamics of a Dual Gradient Drilling operation. It uses the conservation equation along with the previous proposed density and rheological model to investigate how mud weight, thermal properties and well configuration affect the pressure and temperature profile. The system of equation is discretized using Finite Element Methods and the code implemented in Matlab®. The results demonstrated the importance of an accurate density model and its consideration during the development of the well plan. A sensitivity analysis shows the effects of the Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient over the temperature profile, proving that it is the major parameter controlling the heat exchange in the drilling process.
Pereira, Fidel Fernandes (2016). Dynamic Simulation of Dual Gradient Drilling Operation using the Finite Element Method. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from