3PS Torque and Tension Sub Profiled in the Journal of Petroleum Technology

Our Torque and Tension Sub Profiled in the Journal of Petroleum Technology

From the September 2015 edition of the Journal of Petroleum Technology. The article, written by JPT Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 170624, “Stick/Slip Detection and Friction-Factor Testing Using Surface- Based Torque and Tension Measurements,” by Stephen W. Lai, SPE, Mitch Wood, Aaron Eddy, SPE, and Trevor Holt, Pason Systems, and Matthew Bloom, SPE, Nexen, prepared for the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, October 27 – 29. The 3PS Torque and Tension sub was used along with the Pason Systems EDR.


Recently, there has been a strong push towards automation and the use of real-time models in the drilling industry. However, it has been recognized that these new methods require a drastic improvement in the quality of sensor data gathered at the rig. In this paper, we investigate how accurate measurement of drill pipe torque and tension at the surface can be used to diagnose downhole conditions.

A surface-based torque and tension sub was used to perform measurements while drilling several extended reach horizontal wells in the Dilly Creek area of the Horn River Basin. A filtered version of surface torque was used to calculate a stick-slip metric which was compared to stick-slip measurements using a downhole tool. The results show that there is reasonable correlation between surface and downhole metrics, but the correlation is highly dependent on torque filter stop frequency. A comparison is also performed between the hookload measured with a deadline sensor and the tension measurement from the surface sub. The results show a systematic discrepancy of approximately 5% that is likely due to sheave friction. A commercial torque and drag software package is used to show that values for casing friction factor may be underestimated if sheave friction is present but ignored in the analysis.


During the past 10 years, the drilling industry has seen a dramatic shift in the type of wells it has had to construct. Significant improvements in directional technology and well completion methods have resulted in wellbore profiles that have increasingly complex trajectories and longer horizontal sections. Due to the nature of these wells, two common impairments remain prevalent in most drilling operations: stick-slip vibration and wellbore drag.