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Drilling & Production

Coiled tubing simulation software enables data-driven decisions

CIRCA coiled tubing simulation software from Baker Hughes enables coiled tubing service providers to maximize equipment performance and improve operational efficiency in well interventions. Based on learnings from the field and built and refined over three decades, the software allows coiled tubing providers and operators to build better job models for more predictable results. 

Operational guidelines for coiled tubing applications are typically based on experience rather than on hard data. Applying these methods in today's more complex wells—particularly in unconventional wells with longer laterals and numerous stages—can compromise job performance and even damage downhole equipment. Historically, coiled tubing simulation software has lacked real-world feedback and adequate support, producing inferior models that fail to adequately identify risks, especially in complex environments.

The CIRCA software suite validates theoretical models with empirical data from the field to help coiled tubing providers move from experience-dependent operations to data-driven execution. The software delivers valuable insights into the subsurface, such as downhole conditions, flow rates and safe operating envelopes, enabling operators to calculate outcomes with more certainty to improve job planning and execution.

The CIRCA software suite includes the following applications:  
  • CIRCA Complete provides tubing force analysis and wellbore hydraulics monitoring for common applications like milling, setting and retrieving tools and intervening in extended-reach wells. 
  • CIRCA Pro uses complex calculations to accurately model solids transport to surface without compromising downhole equipment in more challenging operations like abrasive perforating, cleanouts and multistage plug milling.
  • CIRCA Real-Time optimizes jobs in real time using live operational data inside the coiled tubing control cab, accommodating changing well conditions quickly and efficiently.

During a recent extended-reach plug milling and cleanout job in west Texas, the use of standard operating procedures caused the coiled tubing and mill to get stuck downhole. The unplanned downtime tripled the operational time. After finally freeing the mill, the coiled tubing provider fed the well parameters into the CIRCA Pro software application, which has been used to model, plan and execute solids transport on more than 30,000 wells to date. The result has been months of subsequent millout jobs with no instances of stuck coiled tubing. Further, the operator reduced costs by avoiding nonproductive time and the need for intervention/fishing to retrieve tools stuck downhole. 

"The CIRCA software suite gives coiled tubing providers the ability to know what will happen on a job before it starts—and the flexibility to make critical corrections when conditions change, all in real time," said Tayo Akinokun, Vice President, Pressure Pumping at BHGE. "The software brings together the physical aspects of coiled tubing operations with digital models to deliver more predictable and efficient results."

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