Directional Well Planning Using Comprehensive 3D Visualization

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Potential Infill well plans showing different sidetrack opportunities while targeting bypassed oil in an onshore oil field.

Drilling of directional or horizontal wells has some notable complexities but is an effective way to reach targets that are difficult to access. Effective planning and analysis of the well in its geospatial position facilitate the minimization of risks associated with the drilling of such wells. 3D visualization assists in this analysis by providing the platform to view and verify the planned well trajectory within the geological model of the reservoir and the factors that can influence this planning. Reservoir engineers, geologists, and geophysicists can use 3D visualization to understand subsurface conditions to make informed drilling and recovery decisions.

Accuracy in Well Planning and Positioning

In commencing the drilling from a surface pad or offshore platform, deflecting the trajectory to reach the predetermined target is a complex process. This requires precise knowledge of subsurface geography, reservoir and its depth, proximity to the adjacent wells, and survey data, position or location of the existing wellpaths. However, even with all the integrated data, it can be extremely difficult to understand and implement the well plan during actual drilling operations. Any error in analysis or interpretation can lead to:

  • Risk of well collision during drilling
  • Ineffectivewell placement within the compartmentalized reservoir
  • Inaccurate stratigraphic assessment, resulting in a longer drilling time and low rate of penetration

The chances of these errors occurring can be minimized with directional well planning aided by 3D visualization techniques.

Visualization Can Reduce Drilling Risks

Precise visualization of the geological reservoir model and the wellpaths in a comprehensive 3D environment gives asset teams the ability to verify the planned well location and its feasibility during drilling. With 3D visualization, asset teams can:

  • Identify faults and horizons that can affect the drilling process.
  • Predicts tops ahead of drilling.
  • View the existing wellpaths and plan the new target location and wellpath accordingly to avoid a potential collision.
  • Develop and evaluate multiple trajectory designs to identify the best option to ensure minimal drilling depth and cost and maximized well-bore safety.
  • Show drilling chronology when simultaneous drilling operations are on the same lease, avoiding conflicting drilling zones.

When 3D visualization is combined with well-planning capabilities and other specialized software programs for analysis, drilling engineers can collaborate and evaluate the pros and cons of various wellpaths. They can then develop plans that minimize drilling costs and operational risks while maximizing EUR. In established fields, visualization plays an even more critical role in helping drilling engineers navigate the subsurface jungle of wells.

The integration, visualization, and analysis of reservoir data in a comprehensive 3D environment aids in directional well planning. These capabilities are supported with software platforms such as Dynamic Graphics, Inc.’s CoViz 4D, WellArchitect, and EarthVision.

Comprehensive Visualization of 3D Volume for Directional Well Planning

For optimized well planning and placement, engineers and geoscientists trust software that can integrate the relevant reservoir data and present it in a single 3D geospatial platform. CoViz 4D and WellArchitect provide integrated quantitative visualization abilities that allow reservoir and drilling teams to understand the changing response of the reservoir over time allowing them to make real-time decisions and optimize drilling and development decisions.

EarthVision allows users to accurately develop the geological reservoir models in a 3D volume, enhancing the understanding of the reservoir through improved characterization and analysis for better planning and design. In conjunction with WellArchitect, teams are easily able to analyze the interrelationship between various subsurface geological characteristics to determine the potential drilling risks, essential in making a strategy for planning and placement of the wells.

With 3D visualization, it is easy to visualize the existing condition of the reservoir, existing infrastructure, and the effect of the potential well trajectory. This allows asset teams to collaboratively design and develop safe drilling plans to avoid potential risk and increase productivity.

Dynamic Graphics, Inc., offers oil and gas professionals comprehensive visualization software solutions for improved well planning and asset development. CoViz 4D, WellArchitect, and EarthVision products address different purposes in the hydrocarbon development workflow, yet when used together provide powerful visualization and analytic capabilities that facilitate directional well planning for minimization of drilling risks and costs. To learn more about DGI’s product offerings, contact our team.

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