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Jumat, September 14, 2012

Lost Circulation in Practice

Best Practice in Understanding and Managing Lost Circulation Challenges


Lost circulation has been one of the major challenges that cause much nonproductive rig time each year. With recent advances, curing lost circulation has migrated from “plugging a hole” to “borehole strengthening” that involves more rock mechanics and engineering. These advances have improved the industry’s understanding of mechanisms that can eventually be translated into better solutions and higher success rates. This paper provides a review of the current status of the approaches and a further understanding on some controversial points.
There are two general approaches to lost circulation solutions : proactive and corrective, based on whether lost circulation has occurred or not at the time of the application. This paper provides a review of both approaches and discusses the pros and cons related to different methods—from an understanding of rock mechanics and operational challenges.
Lost circulation (LC) is defined as the loss of whole mud (e.g.,solids and liquids) into the formation (Messenger 1981). There are two distinguishable categories of losses derived from its leakoff flowpath: Natural and Artificial. Natural lost circulation occurs when drilling operations penetrate formations with large pores, vugs, leaky faults, natural fractures, etc. Artificial lost circulation occurs when pressure exerted at the wellbore exceeds the maximum the wellbore can contain. In this case, hydraulic fractures are
generally created.
During the last century, lost circulation presented great challenges to the petroleum industry, causing significant expenditure of cash and time in fighting the problem. Trouble costs have continued into this century for mud losses, wasted rig time, and ineffective remediation materials and techniques. In worst cases, these losses can also include costs for lost holes, sidetracks, bypassed reserves, abandoned wells, relief wells, and lost petroleum reserves.
The risk of drilling wells in areas known to contain these problematic formations is a key factor in decisions to approve or cancel exploration and development projects.

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