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Computational fluid dynamics study of yield power law drilling fluid flow through smooth-walled fractures.

Ahammad, Faysal; Mahmud, Shahriar; Islam, Sheikh Zahidul


Faysal Ahammad

Shahriar Mahmud


Presence of natural fractures in sub-surface makes an oil well drilling operation very challenging. As one of the major functions of drilling mud is to maintain bottomhole pressure inside a wellbore to avoid any invasion of unwanted high-pressure influx (oil/gas/water), drilling a well through these fractures can cause severe mud loss into the formation and subsequent danger of compromising the wellbore pressure integrity. The aim of this paper is to carry out a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study of drilling fluid flow through natural fractures to improve comprehensive understanding of the flow in fractured media. The study was carried out by creating a three-dimensional steady-state CFD model using ANSYS (Fluent). For simplicity and validation purpose, the model defines fracture as an empty space between two circular disks. Moreover, it is considered that single-phase fluid is flowing through fractures. By solving the flow equations in the model, correlations to determine the fracture width and invasion radius have been developed for specific mud rheological properties. Prior to onset of drilling and at the end of lost circulation, similar correlations can be developed by knowing rheological properties of drilling fluid which will be very much helpful to take an instantaneous action during lost circulation, i.e., determining lost circulation material particle size and also be useful in the well development stage to determine the damaged area to be treated.


AHAMMAD, F., MAHMUD, S. and ISLAM, S.Z. 2019. Computational fluid dynamics study of yield power law drilling fluid flow through smooth-walled fractures. Journal of petroleum exploration and production technology [online], 9(4), pages 2717-2727. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 19, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 23, 2019
Publication Date Dec 31, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 5, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 12, 2019
Journal Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
Print ISSN 2190-0558
Electronic ISSN 2190-0566
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 4
Pages 2717-2727
Keywords Yield power law; Drilling fluid; Rheology; Natural fractures; Lost circulation materials; Computational fluid dynamics
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