The first design task in preparing the well plan is selecting the depths to which the casing will he run and cemented. The drilling engineer must consider geological conditions such as formation pressures and fracture gradients, hole problems, internal company policies, and, in many cases, a variety of government regulations. The results of the program will allow the well to be drilled safely without the necessity of building "a steel monument" of casing strings. Unfortunately, many well plans give significant considerations to the actual pipe design yet give only cursory attention to the setting depth of the pipe.
The importance of selecting proper depths for setting casing cannot be overemphasized. Many wells have been engineering and economic failures because the casing program specified setting depths too shallow or too deep. Applying a few basic drilling principles combined with a basic knowledge of the geological conditions in an area can help determine where casing strings should be set to ensure that drilling can proceed with minimum difficulty.
Drilling environments often require several casing strings in order to reach the total desired depth. Some of the strings are as follows:
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