During the drilling operations, optimizing the rate of penetration (ROP) is very crucial, because it can significantly reduce the overall cost of the drilling process. ROP is defined as the speed at which the drill bit breaks the rock to deepen the hole, and it is measured in units of feet per hour or meters per hour. ROP prediction is very challenging before drilling, because it depends on many parameters that should be optimized. Several models have been developed in the literature to predict ROP. Most of the developed models used drilling parameters such as weight on bit (WOB), pumping rate (Q), and string revolutions per minute (RPM). Few researchers considered the effect of mud properties on ROP by including a small number of actual field measurements. This paper introduces a new robust model to predict the ROP using both drilling parameters (WOB, Q, ROP, torque (T), standpipe pressure (SPP), uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), and mud properties (density and viscosity) using 7000 real-time data measurements. In addition, the relative importance of drilling fluid properties, rock strength, and drilling parameters to ROP is determined. The obtained results showed that the ROP is highly affected by WOB, RPM, T, and horsepower (HP), where the coefficient of determination (T2) was 0.71, 0.87, 0.70, and 0.92 for WOB, RPM, T, and HP, respectively. ROP also showed a strong function of mud fluid properties, where R2 was 0.70 and 0.70 for plastic viscosity (PV) and mud density, respectively. No clear relationship was observed between ROP and yield point (YP) for more than 500 field data points. The new model predicts the ROP with average absolute percentage error (AAPE) of 5% and correlation coefficient (R) of 0.93. In addition, the new model outperformed three existing ROP models. The novelty in this paper is the application of the clustering technique in which the formations are clustered based on their compressive strength range to predict the ROP. Clustering yielded accurate ROP prediction compared to the field ROP.

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