In the wake of the shale oil boom in the United States, drillers are encountering unconventional reservoirs that require sophisticated strategy. While 95% of U.S. drilling rigs can perform horizontal drilling that, together with hydraulic fracturing, is essential to liberate shale resources, drillers need impeccable drilling technology and precise software that will utilize comprehensive geological and seismic models.
One of the best ways to achieve accurate drilling is through measurement while drilling (MWD). The advantages of measurement while drilling include target zone detections, accurate gamma measurements, and proper drilling orientation. When it comes to long-reach horizontal wellbores in unconventional reservoirs, MWD instruments guide the drill bit measurement, buffering clear-cut placement and targeting.
The Benefits of Measurement While Drilling
Hydrocarbon asset teams understand why MWD is one of the most vital tools in the horizontal drilling industry, as its prime function is to guide drillers to oil-rich deposits. It establishes a pre-planned drilling campaign that will steer the drill in the right direction. Additionally, it determines if the drilling assembly’s orientation is in the right place, including the detection of unplanned deviations that could lead the campaign astray.
Since unconventional reservoir formations have high levels of gamma radiation, the azimuthal gamma ray measures the radioactive levels of the formations. It also determines what type of rock is being drilled as the drilling commences, helping drillers adjust accordingly. MWD data consist of hot and cool radioactive levels, with cool indicating that a correction is necessary to stay within a target zone. The MWD system indicates hot geological zones that are prime for hydrocarbon richness.
Overall, MWD allows teams the ability to detect:
- gamma ray
- vibration shock
- borehole pressure
- toolface measurements
The measurement system helps analysts establish the correct orientation of the drilling system, avoiding costly mistakes in the process. However, these measurements are even more beneficial when used with reliable software that allows engineers to visualize the data from the surface. Drillers need the ability to buffer MWD data through software that provides a 3D rendering of the directional drilling. They also need software that fosters live analysis, ensuring the wellpath is reaching its intended target.
Visualization and Analysis of MWD Data
MWD is only part of the equation, as quality software acts as a second pair of eyes during the drilling process. The live analysis helps analysts accomplish well completion and placement, enhancing the hydrocarbon extraction process while maximizing profits. To achieve success, drillers must understand the complex nature of the reservoir, in addition to knowing which portions of the reservoir are ripe for tapping.
When dealing with seismic data, for instance, a software’s strength lies in its quantitative comparisons. A great piece of software can match the well path with a seismic model to optimize final well placement. The quantitative datasets are created and merged into a visual display—allowing users to analyze events quickly and make accurate decisions. Accurate analysis is only obtainable through software that provides valuable visual insight.
The best software can detect such hazards as over-pressurized zones or anomalies that can lead to gas kicks. Further, excellent software provides a 3D/4D rendering of the data in visual form. The combined datasets merge vital information that factors in the decision-making process. And, the software merges surface information and subsurface drilling data to create a current depiction of drilling operations, helping team members understand the latest status of a project regardless of expertise.
Visualization and analysis software will help planners and engineers reach their overall goal of positioning the well in a place that will insure safety and hit the intended targets.
Visualization and analysis software will help planners and engineers reach their overall goal of positioning the well in a place that will insure safety and hit the intended targets. Ideal positioning is possible through high-resolution simulations and mapping solutions that display accurate well positions and updated MWD data without delay.
Boost the Advantages of Measurement While Drilling
CoViz 4D is particularly adept at integrating datasets and quickly producing a real-time display in which all data is included and the position of the drill bit is easily seen within the geomodel. It also allows the geoscientists to quickly evaluate unforeseen geological elements, such as faults, encountered by the drill bit and quickly make corrections to the well target interval. CoViz 4D enhances the advantages of measurement while drilling as it provides a more efficient analysis of all data through its integrated visualization capabilities.