On the modeling of oil well drilling processes

Esteban Della Nave (SIM&TEC S.A., Buenos Aires, Argentina.)
Eduardo Natalio Dvorkin (SIM&TEC S.A., Buenos Aires, Argentina.)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Publication date: 20 April 2015



The purpose of this paper is to present the development of a simulator of oil well drilling processes.


The simulator incorporates the main variables that are used by drilling engineers in the definition of the drilling processes. The code is useful a priori, in the design of a drilling process, as a tool for comparing different design options and predicting their results and a posteriori of a failure to understand its genesis and therefore provide know-why to improve the drilling techniques.


The developed finite element simulator uses a co-rotational Bernoulli beam element, an explicit time integration scheme and an explicit contact algorithm. The numerical results show that the simulator is stable and provides consistent solutions.

Practical implications

During the drilling of oil wells, the fatigue damage and wear of the drilling column is of utmost concern. To determine the mechanical behavior of the drilling column standard simplified analyses are usually performed using commercially available codes; however, those standard analyses do not include a transient dynamic simulation of the process; hence, it is necessary to develop a specific tool for the detailed dynamic simulation of drilling processes.


A simulator able to perform a description of the drilling process in the time range will be an important contribution to the tools used by drilling engineers.



Della Nave, E. and Dvorkin, E. (2015), "On the modeling of oil well drilling processes", Engineering Computations, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 387-405. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-03-2013-0093

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