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Design Challenge: Casing Program

“Take an energy excursion as a drilling engineer, determining density of the drilling mud and casing set points to drill a well!” 


This lesson gives students the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge they have been taught through the course to work through applicable problems in the oil and gas industry. Students will review the mud weight window and the reservoir properties required to determine the correct densities needed for drilling mud. Students will then have a chance to work through a problem set regarding mud weight calculation for drilling a well in conditions with a constant pore pressure gradient. Following the problem set, the lesson turns students attention to proper casing design for the purpose of drilling and wellbore stability. Students will receive a review on three primary casing layers/strings and their purpose: conductor casing, surface casing, and production casing. Students are exposed to variable pore pressure gradients and how to drill a well with these conditions, by choosing the proper casing design in a detailed problem set. 

Learning Outcomes 

  • Learn about the process that geologists and engineers use to develop a “casing program” to ensure the correct casing is designed and developed for the well
    • Geologic considerations for casing 
    • Engineering considerations for casing
  • Gain an understanding of the various components needed to sufficiently determine the mud weight window 
    • What is the mud weight window? 
    • How do you calculate the mud weight window? 
    • Formation pore pressure, formation fracture pressure, and pressure gradients
  • Introduction to using hydrostatic pressure calculations
    • To determine wellbore pressures
    • To determine formation pore pressures
    • To understand the role of fluid density on subsurface pressures
  • Introduction to proper casing design with respect to the surrounding formation properties 
    • Constant gradient pressures versus variable gradient pressures 
    • How do you design a casing program with constant pressure conditions? 
    • How do you design a casing program with variable pressure conditions? 
Oklahoma Academic Standards
TEKS Standards
College Board Units and Topics
Next Generation Science Standards