The world's energy demand has been rapidly increasing and is projected to continue growing for at least the next two decades. With increasing global energy demand and competition from renewable energy, the oil and gas industry is striving for more efficient petroleum production. Many technical breakthroughs have enabled the drilling industry to expand the exploration to more difficult drilling such as deepwater drilling and multilateral directional drilling. For example, managed pressure drilling (MPD) offers ceaseless operation with multiple manipulated variables (MV) and wired drill pipe (WDP) provides two-way, high-speed measurements from bottom hole and along-string sensors. These technologies have maximum benefit when applied in an automation system or as a real-time advisory tool. The objective of this study is to investigate the benefit of nonlinear model-based control and estimation algorithms with various types of models. This work presents a new simplified flow model (SFM) for bottomhole pressure (BHP) regulation in MPD operations. The SFM is embedded into model-based control and estimation algorithms that use model predictive control (MPC) and moving horizon estimation (MHE), respectively. This work also presents a new Hammerstein-Wiener nonlinear model predictive controller for BHP regulation. Hammerstein-Wiener models employ input and output static nonlinear blocks before and after linear dynamics blocks to simplify the controller design. The control performance of the new Hammerstein-Wiener nonlinear controller is superior to conventional PID controllers in a variety of drilling scenarios. Conventional controllers show severe limitations in MPD because of the interconnected multivariable and nonlinear nature of drilling operations. BHP control performance is evaluated in scenarios such as drilling, pipe connection, kick attenuation, and mud density displacement and the efficacy of the SFM and Hammerstein-Wiener models is tested in various control schemes applicable to both WDP and mud pulse systems. Trusted high-fidelity drilling simulators are used to simulate well conditions and are used to evaluate the performance of the controllers using the SFM and Hammerstein-Wiener models. The comparison between non-WDP (semi-closed loop) and WDP (full-closed loop) applications validates the accuracy of the SFM under the set of conditions tested and confirms comparability with model-based control and estimation algorithms. The SFM MPC maintains the BHP within ± 1 bar of the setpoint for each investigated scenario, including for pipe connection and mud density displacement procedures that experience a wider operation range than normal drilling.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





managed pressure drilling, nonlinear model predictive control, moving horizon estimation, Hammerstein-Wiener MPC, simplified drilling flow model