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An Excel Based Casing Design Application

O Utsalo and O Olamigoke, SPE; C.O Adekuajo, Halivah Hydrocarbon Resources Management (Nigeria) Ltd

Copyright 2014, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos, Nigeria, 05– 07 August 2014.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents
of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect
any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written
consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may
not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

The Casing Design Application developed by well engineers in Havilah Hydrocarbon Resources Man-
agement (HHRM) is designed with simplicity to avoid the complicated casing design software in the
market and provide an in-house tool for quick evaluation of casing scheme options. The development of
this MS Excel Based software is motivated by a need to offer a package that accurately predicts relevant
well loads, without compromising designs and making it too conservative and expensive or under-
conservative and unsafe.
The HHRM Casing Design Application considers all the anticipated loadings on the casing string at
the time when the casing is run and throughout the life of the well. The design criteria is such that meet
the conflicting requirements of collapse and burst, while ensuring the tensile loading strength of the
casing are never exceeded. This application also provides triaxial stress analysis to provide high
confidence as regards the ultimate casing scheme to be adopted. This casing design tool has been
developed using Visual Basic macros in the Microsoft Excel Environment.
The different components of the Casing Design Tool are presented in this paper. The tool helps the
designer make recommendation on combination casing strings from a large casing database or selections
based on the client’s inventory. The tool has been tested and the results have been found to be consistent
with commercial software. The casing design tool is applicable to both vertical and deviated wells.

Casing serves several important functions in drilling and completion and is one of the most expensive
parts of the drilling project, ranging anywhere from 10 - 20% of the average cost of a completed well
(Jenkins, 1975). Completion requirements and production schedules typically drive the casing design.
The casing design process involves three distinct operations viz: selection of the casing sizes; the
specification of required inputs e.g. setting depths; the operational scenarios which will result in burst,
collapse and axial loads being applied to the casing string(s); the calculation of the magnitude of these
loads and finally the selection of appropriate weight and grade of casing string(s) suitable for the loads
In practice, each casing string is designed to withstand the maximal load that is anticipated during
casing landing, drilling, and production operations (Prentice, 1970). Maximal load concept tends to make
the casing design very expensive. Casing cost can be minimized by using a combination casing string -
2 SPE-172466-MS

Table 1—Summary of Casing Design Equations

Casing Section Loading Condition Equations

Surface / Intermediate Casing Burst Pinj ⫽ (FG ⫹ SF)*CSD*CF

Pb (surface) ⫽ (Pinj ⫺ G*CSD)*DFb
Collapse Pc ⫽ (CF*EFG*CSD)* DFc
Tension Ft ⫽(Fwt ⫹ Fbuoy ⫹ Fbend)
Use greater of (Ft * DFc) or (Ft ⫹ Fop)
Production Casing Burst Pb (surface) ⫽ Pf⫺ G*CSD
Collapse Pc ⫽ (CF*EFG*CSD)* DFc
Tension Ft ⫽(Fwt ⫹ Fbuoy ⫹ Fbend)
Use greater of (Ft * DFc) or (Ft ⫹ Fop)
Triaxial Stresses Where:
␴yield: minimum yield strength
of the material (psi);
␴VME: triaxial-load-capacity
diagram related VME stress (psi)
C1 to C5: constants

a casing string with different nominal weights, grades and couplings. By choosing the string with the
lowest possible weight per foot of steel and the lowest coupling grades that meet the design load
conditions, minimal cost is achieved (Raham, S. S. and Chilingarian, G. V., 1995).
Graphical technique is customarily used to select the steel grade that will satisfy the different design
loads. This method was first introduced by Goins et al. (1965, 1966) and later modified by Prentice (1970)
and Rabia (1987). In this approach, a graph of loads (collapse or burst) versus depth is first constructed,
then the strength values of available steel grades are plotted as vertical lines. Steel grades which satisfy
the maximal existing load requirements of collapse and burst pressures are selected thereafter.
Design load for burst and collapse should be considered first. Once the weight. grade, and sectional
lengths which satisfy burst and collapse loads have been determined, the tension load can be evaluated and
the pipe section can be upgraded if it is necessary. The final step is to check the biaxial effect on collapse
and burst loads, respectively. If the strength in any part of the section is lower than the potential load, the
section should be upgraded and the calculation repeated (Raham, S. S. and Chilingarian, G. V., 1995).
Klementich and Jellison (1986) presented the service-life model as an alternative to conventional
casing design which is often inaccurate i.e. too conservative for shallow strings, too liberal for deep
strings. The service-life model analysis approach considers the effects of cementing temperature changes,
ballooning, changes in cross-sectional area, bending and helical buckling. This approach is applicable to
the design of any casing string but is especially useful for deep, high-pressure high-temperature wells. The
calculations in the service-life model and in the subsequent triaxial stress analyses are complex, thus, a
computer program is needed to help determine a feasible string design.
Our approach of selecting combination strings is based on both the maximum load concept and the
service-life model. The Microsoft Excel based Casing Design Application considers all the anticipated
loadings on the casing string; at the time when the casing is run, during cementing and when the well in
put under production.
Casing Design Calculations
To establish the burst and collapse loading conditions in a given situation, the internal and external
pressure profiles for each load case of interest are determined and the difference (Pi – Pe) between them
is taken. Burst and collapse loading conditions are calculated both at the casing shoe and at the surface.
If the resulting load line comprises mainly positive net pressures, it is called a burst load line; if it
comprises mainly negative pressures, it is called a collapse load line. It should be noted that the loading
conditions differ for each casing section and depths.
SPE-172466-MS 3

Table 2—Available Casing Specifications for 13 3/8ⴖ casing in the Design Tool
Weight Burst Collapse Joint Pipe Body
OD (in.) ID (in.) (lb/ft) Grade Connection (Psi) (Psi) Rating (lb) Str. (lb) S/N

13.375 12.715 48.00 H-40 STC 1730 740 260145.8978 541087.0583 19

13.375 12.615 54.50 J-55 BTC 2730 1130 909049.1486 853137.2657 20
13.375 12.615 54.50 K-55 BTC 2730 1130 1038110.294 853137.2657 21
13.375 12.615 54.50 J-55 BTC 3230 1140 1052117.251 1008112.347 22
13.375 12.515 61.00 K-55 BTC 3090 1540 1025069.272 962154.8061 23
13.375 12.515 61.00 M-65 BTC 3090 1540 1169195.046 962154.8061 24
13.375 12.515 61.00 J-55 BTC 3660 1620 1185132.074 1137126.724 25
13.375 12.415 68.00 K-55 BTC 3450 1950 1140190.015 1069172.025 26
13.375 12.415 68.00 M-65 BTC 3450 1950 1300279.799 1069172.025 27
13.375 12.415 68.00 M-65 BTC 4080 2110 1318146.898 1264140.879 28
13.375 12.415 68.00 L-80 BTC 5020 2260 1545172.198 1556173.424 29
13.375 12.415 68.00 N-80 BTC 5020 2260 1693309.211 1661267.29 30
13.375 12.415 68.00 L-80 BTC 5650 2320 1683187.579 1750281.612 31
13.375 12.415 68.00 N-80 BTC 5970 2330 1772197.498 1847205.858 32
13.375 12.415 68.00 C-90 BTC 5970 2330 1772197.498 1847297.221 33
13.375 12.415 68.00 C-95 BTC 6910 2340 2079231.715 2139238.533 34
13.375 12.347 72.00 C/T-95 BTC 5380 2670 1650183.901 1661267.29 35
13.375 12.347 72.00 C-90 BTC 5380 2670 1693188.693 1661267.29 36
13.375 12.347 72.00 C-95 BTC 6050 2780 1798200.396 1869208.31 37
13.375 12.347 72.00 C/T-95 BTC 6390 2820 1893196.594 1973317.497 38
13.375 12.347 72.00 P-110 BTC 6390 2820 1893210.985 1973317.497 39
13.375 12.347 72.00 P-110 BTC 7400 2820 2221245.968 2284367.544 40
13.375 12.347 72.00 Q-125 BTC 8410 2880 2463274.514 2596417.751 41

Uniaxial Burst Design

This is the resultant internal pressure imposed on the casing tending to rupture the pipe outwards. The
burst pressure will be greatest where the external load is least, ie, at the surface. The worst condition is
where gas enters the casing from a high pressure zone and completely fills the casing.
Uniaxial Collapse
This is the resultant external pressure applied to the casing, tending to crush the pipe inwards. Since the
external forces are greatest at the base of the casing due to hydrostatic pressure this implies that the
strongest casing should be at the bottom.
Uniaxial Tension
This is the load imposed by the weight of casing itself (hanging on hook). Each joint must be capable of
supporting the weight of the string below that point. The tension criterion, as with burst, implies that the
strongest casing be installed at the top of the string.
The effect of compressive forces should be considered only for surface casing, due to the weight being
transferred from later casing strings.
Triaxial Stress
The combination of axial stress, internal and external pressure on casing string(s) in a well generates
triaxial stress. The three principal stresses for casing are axial (␴a), radial (␴r), and tangential (␴t). These
stresses from a particular load case resulting in the pipe must be evaluated to determine the triaxial
loading. The Hencky-Von Mises theory gives high degree of accuracy in calculating triaxial stresses. This
theory states that the total energy is divided in two parts: one associated with the volumetric changes to
the material and the other causing shearing distortions. A yield criterion for combined stress is established
by equating the shearing distortion energy at the yield point in pure tension to that under combined stress.
4 SPE-172466-MS

Figure 1—Surface Casing Burst Pressure Diagram (J55, 54.5 lb/ft; 13 3/8ⴖ casing selected)

The casing design equations are summaried in Table 1.

Features of the Casing Design Tool

The major motivation for developing the Excel-based tool described in this paper is for quick selection
of casing combination strings as part of a well design to meet the client’s need for cost effective and safe
well delivery. The Excel-based Casing Design Tool has the following features:
● A comprehensive database of casing properties (collapse ratings, burst ratings, joint ratings, pipe
body and yield strengths, grade, weights and connections) for different sizes (4½ – 20 in) have
been compiled in a sheet.
● A filter to select casing strings available to the client from the casing string database.
● Different operational scenarios (drilling, running, cementing and production) can be specified.
Load calculations are made on the basis of the selected scenario.
● Design of the different casing sections (surface, intermediate and production) are carried out in
separate worksheets.
● Input is supplied in the worksheet for the different casing sections. In addition to mandatory inputs,
the design factors, safety margin and overpull are specified in the respective worksheets.
● The graphical representation of the design calculations is clearly shown for two stages of the
casing design process (i) after the burst loading condition is met and (ii) after burst, collapse and
tension loading conditions have been met for each casing section.
● The triaxial equivalent load capacity is represented graphically with the load cases selected. This
aids in casing selection for marginal design factors under uniaxial design.
● Casing design calculations can be carried out with in S.I unit or Field Units. The tool is flexible
between the two units; the inputs are however unit-dependent.
● The casing design tool handles both vertical and deviated wells.
SPE-172466-MS 5

Figure 2—Surface Casing Collapse Pressure Diagram (J55 54.5 lb/ft 13 3/8ⴖ casing (0-1640ft) and C/T-95 72 lb/ft 13 3/8ⴖ casing (1640-3500ft) selected)

The Casing Design Process

The objective of the casing design process is to get an appropriate casing specification that can withstand
all types of loading conditions experienced throughout the life of a well from Casing Running to
Data Collection
Data must be collected prior to the casing design process. The following data must be obtained for the
casing design process:
● Estimated pore pressure and rock fracture strength using offset borehole strength versus depth
● Offset static and flowing temperature gradients.
● The minimum and maximum casing sizes at TD that will allow the anticipated logging, testing,
and/or completion program.
● The casing setting depths for each section, fluid gradients and weights (mud, gas, cement, brine).
● Composition of H2S and CO2 in the gas stream including the gas specific gravity.
In addition, the design factors for burst, collapse and tension have to be specified. A safety margin (for
evaluating the injection pressure) and tension overpull should be specified. The triaxial design factor is
also required.
Casing Inventory
A database of casing properties from 4½ – 20 in. has been complied in a worksheet composed of collapse
ratings, burst ratings, joint ratings, pipe body and yield strengths, grade, weights and connection type. The
tool enables the casing designer to make a filtered selection of casing properties on this basis of the the
diameter of the casing section (surface, intermediate or production casing). The selection can be made in
line with the casing inventory in the client’s warehouse. This ensures that the combination string selected
6 SPE-172466-MS

Figure 3—Triaxial Equivalent Loading with the casing running loading case

is available. If the available strings can’t be used, the items can be ordered so that the project would be
cxecuted within schedule.

The VBA Macro

The macro is utilizes the inputs entered into the casing section sheet (surface, intermediate or production
casing) and performs the casing design calculations iteratively to obtain casing string combinations that
meet burst, collapse and tension loading conditions. The macro clears the worksheet of previous design
results before the calculations are made. The macro also ensures that the results are displayed in the
allotted cells. Statements guiding the user on whether or not the casing loading conditions have been met
are also displayed. Afterwards, the casing design macro is run on clicking on the command button.

Design Loading Graphs

The burst and casing design loads are plotted on pressure-depth graphs shown at the top right hand side
of each casing sheet. These two graphs help to determine at a glance whether or not the selected casing
meets the design loading conditions and also indicate the depth over which each casing grade is to be used.
A plot for triaxial equivalent loading which compares the API loading conditions to triaxial stresses. This
plot compliments the uniaxial design plots and is required for high-pressure, high-temperature wells.

Summary Sheet
The summary sheet gives the client a summary of the casing string selection over the entire well
encompassing all the casing sections from the surface casing to the production casing/liner obtained from
the casing design process. The client job details are entered on this sheet. A schematic of the casing design
scheme is displayed with the casing properties with the setting depths and the combination strings for each
SPE-172466-MS 7

Figure 4 —Wellbore Schematic showing Surface, Intermediate and Production Casing String selection after the design process.

Case Study
Surface Casing Design
13 3/8⬙ surface casing is to be set at 3,500ft using the following data for design:
● Fracture gradient at 3500 ft: 14.6 ppg;
● Mud weight when casing run: 9.2 ppg;
● Tail cement slurry (1000ft): 16.4 ppg;
● Lead cement slurry (2500ft): 12 ppg;
8 SPE-172466-MS

● Gas gradient expected: 0.115 psi/ft;

● Next hole size: 12-1/4⬙;
● DFb ⫽ 1.1;
● DFc ⫽ 1.0;
● DFt ⫽ 1.6 plus 100,000 lbs pull;
● Safety factor on fracture gradient for injection pressure calculation SF ⫽ 1.0
Choice of Combination Casing Strings Table 2 shows the available 13 3/8⬙ casing specifications in the
casing proprties’ database. On entering the data given above and running the macro, a casing string is
selected that meets the burst criteria only. In this case, J55 54.5 lb/ft casing was selected. As shown in
Figure 1, the collapse loading condition is not met with this string. A combination string results from
considering burst, collapse and tension loading conditions. Based on the design loading lines for both
burst and collapse the following combination string can be chosen for a preliminary design:
0 - 1640 ft, J55 54.5 lb/ft
1640 -3500 ft, C/T-95 72 lb/ft (See Figure 2)
Though more strings could be added, the design is kept as simple as possible with two strings
maximum with the constraint that the minimum length of section is 1000 ft.
Figure 3 shows the triaxial equivalent loading eclipse with triaxial casing running loading case well
within the limits. Figure 4 shows the well schematic after the whole casing is completed. Combination
strings used with a casing section are denoted by different colours with the casing specifications clearly

An Excel VBA-based Casing design tool for quick selection of combination strings has been presented in
this paper. The tool though based on the maximum load concept, allows the designer to make calculations
based on operational loading conditions during the life of the well. Combination casing strings are selected
via an iterative process which involves select casing that meet the burst loading criteria and them both
burst and collapse. The final combination string selection must meet burst, collapse, tension and triaxial
loading conditions. This casing tool saves time because its input requirements are basic, its calculations
fast and its output is very explicit. Most importantly, it leads to the selection of cost effective casing strings
with high integrity.

The authors wish to thank the management of Halivah Hydrocarbon Resources Management (Nigeria)
Ltd. for granting the permission to publish this paper.

CF Conversion Factor
CSD Casing Setting Depth
DFb Design Factor for burst
DFc Design Factor for collapse
DFt Design Factor for tension
DFVME TriaxialDesign Factor
EFG External Fluid Gradient
Fbend Tension load from bending, lbf
Fbuoy Buoyancy force, lbf
Fop Overpull force, lbf
SPE-172466-MS 9

Ft Total axial load, lbf

Fwt Weight of the casing in air (lbf)
Pb Burst Load, psi
Pc Collapse Load, psi
Pe External pressure, psi
Pf Formation pressure, psi
Pi Internal pressure, psi
Pinj Injection pressure, psi
VBA Visual Basic for Applications

b burst
c collapse
e external
i internal
op overpull
t tension

1. Jenkins, P.B. and A.L. Crockford, “Drilling costs,” SPE 5266, SPE-European Meeting, London,
England, April 1975.
2. Prentice, C.M., 1970. Maximum load casing design. J. Petrol. Tech. 22(7); 805–810.
3. Raham, S. S. and Chilingarian, G. V., 1995. “Casing Design: Theory and Practice”, Elsevier
Science B.V. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4. Klementich, E. F. and Jellison, M. J., 1986. A Service-Life Model for Casing Strings. SPE Drilling
Engineering. Vol. 1, No. 2; 141–152.
5. Goins, W.C., Jr., 1965, 1966. A new approach to tubular string design. World Oil, 161(6,7): 13,
5-140, 83-88; 162(1,2): 79-84, 51-56.
6. Rabia, H., 1987. Fundamentals of Casing Design. Graham & Trotman, London, UK, pp. 1–23.