Review of Hole Cleaning in Complex Structural Wells

Sun Xiaofeng*, 1, Wang Kelin1, Yan Tie1, Zhang Yang2, Shao Shuai1, Luan Shizhu1
1 College of Petroleum Engineering, Northeast Petroleum University, Daqing, Heilongjiang, China;
2 Research Institute of Oil and Gas Engineering, Tarim Oilfield, Korla, Xinjiang, China

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 436
Abstract HTML Views: 507
PDF Downloads: 1
Total Views/Downloads: 944
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 272
Abstract HTML Views: 356
PDF Downloads: 1
Total Views/Downloads: 629

© 2013 Xiaofeng et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the College of Petroleum Engineering, Northeast Petroleum University, Daqing 163318, Heilongjiang, China. Tel: 0459-6503521; Fax: 0459-6503482; E-mail:


Complex structural wells are widely used in the development of marine oilfield, old oilfield and low permeable oilfield. However, poor hole cleaning is often occurred in the highly-deviated sections and horizontal sections of the complex structural wells, which affects rate of penetration and downhole safety.

The methods to study cuttings transport can be normally divided into four types: 1) experimental observations, 2) CFD simulations, 3) theoretical correlations and models and 4) field tests. Experimental observations and CFD simulations are mainly used to analyze the effects of different parameters on hole cleaning and obtain some valuable data. Theoretical models and correlations are mainly applied to calculate cuttings bed height, critical velocity and etc to provide the guidance for the design of hydraulic parameters. The accuracy of the first three types are checked by field tests. In this paper, the effects of flow rate, inclination, mud rheology, drillpipe rotation and other factors on hole cleaning, and some typical correlations and models were briefly reviewed before 2000 years, and some new research findings were detailedly addressed. In addition, CFD simulations also were introduced.

Although major improvements have been achieved in the past several decades, building a comprehensive and proven model requires much more experimental researches, CFD simulations, in-depth theoretic studies and field tests due to the complexity of cuttings transport under multi-factor interactions.

Keywords: Hole cleaning, cuttings transport, complex structural well.