SPE Online Education
An Improved Well Path Tortuosity Model
Recorded On: 02/28/2018
Wellbore tortuosity is a critical element in drilling complex horizontal wells and deep verticals. The current three-dimensional borehole trajectory model, based on the minimum curvature method [MCM], tends to mathematically smoothen the wellpath. This is due to the assumption that the borehole is composed of constant curvature arcs. This assumption creates an artificially low tortuosity expressed as dogleg severity [DLS] which leads to the miscalculation of borehole positions, and generating unreliable prediction of torque and drag. A robust three-dimensional trajectory model, the Advanced Spline-Curve [ASC] model, is developed to overcome these limitations. The ASC model provides realistic results and accurately calculates the spatial course of the wellpath. Various applications of the ASC model are presented including  production challenges such as ESP failures and liquid loading,  wellbore location affect to reservoir modeling and  tortuosity effects on torque and drag, limiting the horizontal distance to be drilled, and raising the question: “how far can you go?”.
Dr. Mahmoud Abughaban
Research Scientist, Saudi Aramco
Dr. Abughaban is a research scientist at the Upstream Research and Development Center – Saudi Aramco. He received his Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Abughaban has been actively involved in research projects in the drilling industry. Dr. Abughaban joined Saudi Aramco in 2008 as a Drilling Engineer both onshore and offshore. He has managed critical drilling operations and worked closely with Geologists, Reservoir Engineers and Production engineers to improve rig performance utilizing state of the art technologies and best practices. During his academic period, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Petroleum Engineering. Dr. Abughaban is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) and a committee member of SPE-KSA Chapter.
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