Modern Well Design and Downhole Drilling Physics (PET535)

The course covers planning of wells for drilling operations, as well as safety and optimization during the operations. This includes well integrity, borehole stability, unwanted events and optimization of the drilling process, while meeting environmental requirements. The course establishes the physical basis for the above-mentioned analyses, and includes rock mechanics, pipe mechanics and fluid mechanics/drilling hydraulics.

Course description for study year 2024-2025


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Semester tution start


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NB! This is an elective course and may be cancelled if fewer than 10 students are enrolled by January 20th.

  • Repetition of fluid mechanics with a focus on understanding pressure development in a well and hydraulic optimization. This includes hole cleaning and buoyancy forces on the drill string
  • Introduction to rock mechanics for porous media, including fracture theories and stress analysis, and application of this to the analysis of collapse and fracturing of boreholes.
  • Tubular mechanics, including strength calculations for burst and collapses in drill string and casing
  • Casing program design
  • Methods for selecting drilling fluid density
  • Well integrity and the mechanisms behind unwanted events
  • Calculation of well friction and analysis of stuck pipe
  • Optimization of drilling operations/drilling rate (ROP)

Learning outcome

After completing the course, the student will:

  • Be able to perform safe well planning and calculations related to the choice of drilling fluid density and casing setting depths.
  • Have knowledge of how to avoid unwanted incidents during drilling operations in real time, as well as optimization of the operations.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

PET100 Drilling
Basic fluid mechanics and experience in Python/Matlab or similar programming language.


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Digital school exam 1/1 4 Hours Letter grades

The written exam is held digitally on campus.

Coursework requirements

Compulsary assignements
The mandatory assignment will include analytical problems as well as programmming and simulation in Matlab.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Alf Kristian Gjerstad

Head of Department:

Øystein Arild

Method of work

Lectures and self study. Mandatory assignment must be approved by the course responsible within 4 weeks prior to the exam date.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Well Engineering (MPE680_1) 10

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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