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Ask an Expert: Phillip D. Pattillo

By: , Posted on: June 29, 2018

Name:  Phillip D. Pattillo
Affiliation:  PDP Technical Services
Author of Elements of Oil and Gas Well Tubular Design

  1. What is your particular area of expertise?

My background is in solid mechanics.  The majority of my professional life has been spent on the design of tubulars – casing and tubing – for oil and gas wells.  In addition, I have also worked in the related areas of rock mechanics, specifically wellbore stability, and multi-phase fluid flow.

  1. How would you explain your current work to a stranger on a bus?

I design the tubes used to transport oil and gas from subsurface reservoirs to surface handling facilities.

  1. Where do you carry out most of your work?

Having worked for 42 years for first Amoco Production Company and then, following Amoco’s merger with BP, BP America, I am now retired and work as a consultant for a number of oil operators.  I do most of my work in a home office.

  1. What first inspired you to study your subject matter?

My interest in tubulars is a marriage of my background (solid mechanics) and the challenge of designing such structures for deep wells in high pressure and temperature environments.

  1. What’s the most exciting part of your job?

I most enjoy being presented with a problem that has led to the failure of a tubular string.  Identifying the cause of the failure and correcting the design of future wells leads to personal satisfaction.

  1. What keeps you awake at night?

The possibility of overlooking an important aspect of a design.

  1. What false preconceptions do people have about your job?

The hidden complexities of dealing with a structure that is as geometrically simple as a tube.

  1. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week at your job?

This insight is related to the answer to the next question.  Treatment of friction and pipe movement in the wellbore continues to be an area of difficulty, both in understanding and modeling.  Using the available tools can be confusing.  Simpler, easier tools may not capture all aspects of the tube/confining hole interaction.  More sophisticated tools often take long to execute and may still not model all interaction effects.  A problem worthy of industry attention has presented itself.

  1. What do you think will be the next big discovery or development in your field?

I anticipate the next major development to be a more sophisticated treatment of the interaction between a tubular and its confining wellbore, formulated in a tool readily understood by a practicing engineer.

  1. What are the biggest pain points in the industry?

The major crisis I see is the transition of the industry to a younger generation with remarkably different viewpoints and work habits than those of the generation they are replacing.

  1. How have you used books for your own professional research and how it influenced your work, research or thinking, or help you solve a problem in your field? What outcome did it lead to?

To me books are the jewels of the technical crown.  Much expressed opinion and disagreement vanishes when opposing views are expressed on “paper”.  The requirement to expose one’s thoughts to critical review is crucial to the advancement of our knowledge.  I am indebted to those whose written works guided me throughout my engineering career.

For a limited time you can read Chapter Six – Yield and Inelastic Behavior on ScienceDirect! If this peaks your interest, and you want to read more, you can access the entire book on ScienceDirect. Want your own copy? Save up to 30% when you order via elsevier.com, enter STC317 at the checkout.

Elements of Oil and Gas Well Tubular Design addresses the
fundamentals of tubular design and string characterization for
analysis models, theory and algorithms in oil and gas wells.

Key Features:

  • Gives readers all they need to understand solid engineering mechanics for oil well casing and tubing design, with an emphasis on derivation, limitations and application of fundamental equations
  • Helps users grasp design construction from a single unified source with underlying concepts of stress, strain and material constitution
  • Presents tactics on how to meld practicality with detailed well design work examples amenable to quality check from commercial software

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