Variable interaction empirical relationships and machine learning provide complementary insight to experimental horizontal wellbore cleaning results

David A. Wood

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Abstract


Long horizontal wellbore sections are now a key requirement of oil and gas drilling, particularly for tight reservoirs. However, such sections pose a unique set of borehole-cleaning challenges which are quite distinct from those associated with less inclined wellbores. Experimental studies provide essential insight into the downhole variables that influence borehole cleaning in horizontal sections, typically expressing their results in multivariate empirical relationships with dimensionless cuttings bed thickness/concentration (H%). This study demonstrates how complementary empirical H% relationships focused on pairs of influential variables can be obtained from published experimental data using interpolated trends and optimizers. It also applies five machine learning algorithms to a compiled multivariate (10-variable) interpolated dataset to illustrate how reliable H% predictions can be derived based on such information. Seven optimizer-derived empirical relationships are derived using pairs of influential variables which are capable of predicting H% with root mean squared errors of less than 1.8%. The extreme gradient boosting model provides the lowest H% prediction errors from the 10-variable dataset. The results suggest that in drilling situations where sufficient, locally-specific, information for multiple influential variables is available, machine learning methods are likely to be more effective and reliable at predicting H% than empirical relationships. On the other hand, in drilling conditions where information is only available for a limited number of influential variables, empirical relationships involving pairs of influential variables can provide valuable information to assist with drilling decisions.

Document Type: Original article

Cited as: Wood, D. A. Variable interaction empirical relationships and machine learning provide complementary insight to experimental horizontal wellbore cleaning results. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2023, 9(3): 172-184. https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2023.09.05


Keywords


Hole-cleaning factors, cuttings carrying performance, cuttings transport feature importance, optimized empirical relationships, cuttings-bed concentrations

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2023.09.05

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