Title: Modelling and Optimization of Geothermal Drilling Parameters - A Case Study of Well MW-17 in Menengai, Kenya

University Thesis
Year of publication:
United Nations University, Geothermal Training Programme
Place of publication:
Number of pages:
ISBN 978-9979-6
Document URL: Link


Several factors come into play when a drill bit is crushing the rock at the bottom of the hole. To
effectively drill geothermal wells, these factors must be carefully considered and combined in an
optimum manner. The characteristic of geothermal formations is such that it is composed of
different layers of rocks alternating from the surface to the final depth. Some rocks are highly
temperature altered while others are highly fractured and unconsolidated. A careful approach has to
be devised while drilling through the different sections to avoid problems which lead to delays in
drilling. At the same time drilling parameters have to be applied according to the rock types in
such a way that the well is drilled in the shortest time possible and in the most cost effective
manner. The following factors have been mathematically modelled by Multiple Linear Regression and
shown how they affect the overall drilling rate: Formation strength, depth, formation compaction,
pressure differential, bit diameter and weight on bit (WOB), bit rotation (RPM), and bit
hydraulics. This modelling approach has been adapted for geothermal drilling from the oil and gas
drilling as first applied by Bourgoyne and Young. Optimization of WOB and RPM showed most of these
parameters are in some cases applied too low and in others too high. Data captured while drilling
of well MW-17 in Menengai geothermal field was used in making the drilling model. A combination of
Excel and MatLab was used in
the data analysis.

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