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PE Distinguished Seminar Series: Assessment of Critical Conditions Required for Effective Hole Cleaning in Horizontal Wells

November 9 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Ergün Kuru from University of Alberta

Assessment of Critical Conditions Required for Effective Hole Cleaning in Horizontal Wells

Hole cleaning is a complex process as there are many variables affect cuttings removal (e.g. drilling fluid type, density, flow rate and rheological properties, cuttings size, hole inclination angle, drill pipe rotation speed and eccentricity). Among these variables, the drilling fluid flow rate and rheological properties are the most critical ones as they have strong influence on hole cleaning while at the same time, field control of these variables can be managed conveniently.  Understanding the fluid/particle interaction, in particular, how drilling fluid velocity and rheological characteristics affect particle removal from bed deposits is, therefore, key to the design and development of optimum hydraulics program for effective hole cleaning.

Despite significant progress made in drilling fluids, tools, and field practices, along with more than 50 years of university and industry research, field experience indicates that hole cleaning is still a major problem on most highly inclined and horizontal wells.

The primary motivation of the hole cleaning studies at the University of Alberta is the lack of a reliable and proven model for optimizing hole cleaning process. As part of the systematic efforts to develop a unified theory of hole cleaning, a comprehensive research study has been conducted at the University of Alberta, which has two major components: i-) experimental investigation of the near bed turbulence and how it would relate to particle removal from bed deposits (i.e. fluid velocity effect); ii-) experimental investigation of how the critical conditions  (i.e., flow rate, shear stress) for the particle removal from bed deposits changes with fluid shear dependent viscosity and viscoelastic properties (i.e., fluid rheological characteristics effect).

In this talk, I will present some of the recent results from our experimental investigations of the effects of fluid rheological properties and near wall turbulence on the particle removal from bed deposits in horizontal wells. Within the light of experimental results from the current study along with the most recent findings in the sediment transport field, I will also discuss the inadequacies and unjustified assumptions currently used for mechanistic and semi-mechanistic (empirical) hole cleaning models and suggest alternative solutions to these shortcomings.

Kuru Headshots


Dr. Ergun Kuru is Professor and Director of School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Alberta.  He received his B.Sc. degree from Middle East Technical University, M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Louisiana State University all in Petroleum Engineering. Previously he worked at the Tulsa University Drilling Research Project as a senior research associate where he served as the PI of the US DOE -Advanced Cuttings Transport Facility (ACTF) project (5 year, 6M USD budget). He also worked as a faculty member at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE. For more than 25 years, Dr. Kuru have been teaching courses and conducting research on drilling and well completion engineering related subjects. He has authored/co-authored more than 160 technical papers. Dr. Kuru’s current research area of interest includes: Development of Effective Hole Cleaning Strategies for Oil and Gas Well Applications; Design and Development of Non-Damaging Fluids for Oil/Gas Well Drilling, Completion and Stimulation Applications; Understanding and Mitigating Leakage Pathways in Oil and Gas Well Cements. Dr. Kuru served several SPE committees in the past including SPE ATCE Drilling Engineering Program Committee, SPE Global Training Committee, SPE Education and Accreditation Committee, Editorial Review Board member of SPE Drilling and Completion Journal and Associate Editor of SPE Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology. Dr. Kuru is 2017 recipient of SPE Canada Region Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty.


November 9
10:00 am - 11:00 am
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Marquez Hall
1600 Arapahoe St.
Golden, CO 80401 United States


Room Number
MZ 204