Institute of Petroleum Engineering

Drilling & Production



Expert Systems for Well Design and Completion


The selection and configuration of equipment to be used in the downhole completion is a complex task requiring a comprehensive knowledge of company policies, practices, government regulations, public domain and service company literature.

The Institute is currently involved in the development of an expert, or knowledge based system, to assist with the design of downhole completions. Such computer systems are used as training tools and as repositories for international and local "rules" for design or analysis tasks, the latter becoming more important with an increasingly complex environment and mobile workforce. The techniques used in this particular project will be extended into other areas of petroleum engineering.

Email: Prof. J T Ford

Drilled Cuttings Transport in Deviated Wells


The problems of stuck pipe associated with the inefficient removal of drilled cuttings from the drillstring/borehole annulus of wellbores have been with the drilling industry for many years. Although they may exist when drilling vertical wells, they are most prevalent when drilling deviated wells, when the drillstring may be lying eccentrically. The Institute has, for a number of years, been involved in analysis of the mechanics of drilled cuttings transport in inclined or deviated wellbores. This involves both theoretical and experimental investigations. The theoretical investigation involves analysis of flow properties of non -Newtonian fluids in concentric and eccentric annuli, with inner pipe rotation. Attempts are being made to develop mathematical models for these extremely complex flow systems. Simultaneously, a finite element, Computational Flow Dynamics package is being used to gain a better understanding of the process. A cuttings transport column has been built to accommodate the experimental aspects of the research. The flow column is 21 feet long and may be oriented at any angle between 0 and 90 degrees from the vertical, thus simulating the range of angles experienced in directional drilling.

Email: Prof. J T Ford

Techno-Economic Analysis of North Sea Field Development Projects


The decision to develop an offshore oil or gas field depends on economic assessment of a range of factors. The influence and interaction of these factors is highly complex so each field is assessed individually. Detailed analysis of North Sea reservoirs, offshore technology and costs has improved our understanding of these relationships and facilitate the construction of techno-economic models of real and hypothetical fields. Analysis of these models provide a valuable insight into the implications of new technology, oil price, Government policy, etc. on the profitability of field development.

Email: Prof. J T Ford