In this paper, we present an innovative Rotating Continuous Circulation Tool (RCCT) that allows both limited rotation of a drillstring assembly and uninterrupted circulation of drilling fluid during making up of, or breaking out, a drill pipe, to/from the drillstring assembly. Continuous/nearly continuous drilling has many advantages such as reducing the risk of stuck pipe and wellbore collapse as well as the efficient removal of cuttings resulting in improved borehole cleaning. The RCCT is a sub with a central bore and upper and lower ends that connect to the drillstring assembly. The upper and the lower part of the RCCT are able to rotate independently and in unison through a clutch/sleeve system. A central bore valve that is coupled to the upper part of the RCCT is able to selectively open and close the central bore. There is also a side entry port in the sidewall of the upper part that is controlled by the central bore valve to selectively allow drilling fluid to be injected into the central bore. A preliminary field trial to validate the RCCT was safely and successfully performed in a hydrocarbon well during a cement cleanout operation. The four RCCT subs were successfully tested for rotation with the rotary table and for drilling dynamics while cleaning out cement. Recommendations for improvements from this trial test are planned to be implemented in future field tests.

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