dogleg | Energy Glossary

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1. n. [Drilling]

A particularly crooked place in a wellbore where the trajectory of the wellbore in three-dimensional space changes rapidly. While a dogleg is sometimes created intentionally by directional drillers, the term more commonly refers to a section of the hole that changes direction faster than anticipated or desired, usually with harmful side effects. In surveying wellbore trajectories, a standard calculation of dogleg severity is made, usually expressed in two-dimensional degrees per 100 feet [degrees per 30 m] of wellbore length. There are several difficulties associated with doglegs. First, the wellbore is not located in the planned path. Second is the possibility that a planned casing string may no longer easily fit through the curved section. Third, repeated abrasion by the drillstring in a particular location of the dogleg results in a worn spot called a keyseat, in which the bottomhole assembly components may become stuck as they are pulled through the section. Fourth, casing successfully cemented through the dogleg may wear unusually quickly due to higher contact forces between the drillstring and the inner diameter (ID) of the casing through the dogleg. Fifth, a relatively stiff bottomhole assembly may not easily fit through the dogleg section drilled with a relatively limber BHA. Sixth, excessive doglegs increase the overall friction to the drillstring, increasing the likelihood of getting stuck or not reaching the planned total depth. Usually these problems are manageable. If the dogleg impairs the well, remedial action can be taken, such as reaming or underreaming through the dogleg, or even sidetracking in extreme situations.

See: bottomhole assemblycasing stringdirectional drillerinside diameterreamsidetracktotal depthunderream

2. n. [Geophysics]

An abrupt turn, bend or change of direction in a survey line, a wellbore, or a piece of equipment. Dog-legs can be described in terms of their length and severity and quantified in degrees or degrees per unit of distance.

See: wellbore