Underbalanced drilling using gasified fluids is one of the most widely used methods to drill depleted, low pressure and highly fractured formations. For ensuring a safe and successful underbalanced drilling operation, accurate prediction of the equivalent circulating density (ECD) is very important. Nevertheless, estimating ECD of gasified fluids is not easy due to the complexity of the two-phase fluid flow inside the wellbore. In this study, there are two major focuses considered; i) validation of the accuracy of Beggs & Brill (1973) model on the prediction of pressure losses of gasified fluids in underbalanced drilling operation, and modification of Beggs & Brill (1973) model for pressure loss estimation inside the wellbore, and ii) to propose an ECD calculation procedure for gasified fluids by using modified Beggs & Brill (1973) model. To validate the accuracy of Beggs & Brill (1973) model, experiments were carried out using Middle East Technical University (METU) Cuttings Transport Facility to obtain the pressure losses of gasified fluids in an annulus and their corresponding flow patterns. Air-water mixtures were used with various in-situ air and water flow velocities of 0-120 ft/s and 0-10 ft/s, respectively, at wellbore inclinations of 90°, 75°, 60°, 45° and 12.5° without inner pipe rotation. Pressures were recorded at several points along the annular test section, and pressure distribution along the test section was measured. Meanwhile, flow patterns were determined by the help of a high speed digital camera. Results showed that although Beggs & Brill (1973) model can estimate pressure losses in low gas and liquid flow rates and low slip ratio between two phases for horizontal and near horizontal annular sections with a reasonable accuracy, this model cannot accurately calculate pressure losses at inclined and vertical annular sections. With some modifications, improved Beggs & Brill (1973) model (by applying suggested procedure) can be used to predict ECD and annular pressure losses of gasified fluids inside the annulus accurately. This information can be directly applied for underbalanced drilling operations when gasified fluids are used.


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