During drilling, completion, and intervention operations, solids can deposit in the wellbore. Innovative cleanout fluids reduce the problems associated with inadequate hole cleaning. Various methods have been developed to improve hole cleaning, but their effectiveness decreases as the wellbore inclination increases. One way to solve this issue is to add fibers to the drilling fluid and reduce the settling velocity of the solids to improve the fluid’s lifting capacity.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the cleanout performance of fibrous fluids in horizontal wells using a large-scale flow loop. Thus, flow loop experiments were conducted to assess the impact of fiber on equilibrium bed height. The experiment measures equilibrium bed height and pressure loss in an eccentric annular test section. During the investigation, the flow rate and apparent viscosity of the fluid and fiber length were varied.
The results demonstrate the effectiveness of long fiber (length = 0.5 in.) in improving hole cleanout in horizontal wellbores. When a small amount (0.04% wt.) of long fiber was added, the cleanout performance of the high-viscosity fluid did not show a noticeable change. In contrast, the performance of the low-viscosity fluid improved. Even though adding fiber has minimal impact on the apparent viscosity of the fluids, the long fiber improved the cleaning performance of the low-viscosity fluid.
Hole cleaning is challenging in operations such as coiled tubing (CT) in which rotating the drillstring is impossible. Hence, this study focuses on cleanout operations in horizontal wellbores without drillstring rotation. The novelty of this work lies in demonstrating how the adjustment of fluid viscosity can positively impact the hole cleaning performance of fibrous fluids in the absence of pipe rotation. The study also presents a new approach to modeling the effects of solids bed irregularity on wellbore pressure loss and equivalent circulating density (ECD).