Innovations in multilateral well drilling and completion technologies continue to reduce the cost of well construction and enable secondary and tertiary recovery. With minimal increase in drilling and completion costs, multilaterals improve reservoir production by increasing the contact area of a wellbore in a formation or reaching multiple production zones from a single pad. Multilateral well design has also helped to significantly reduce the environmental impact of surface operations.
The Use of Visualization and Well Planning Software
The Value of Accurate 3D Geologic Models
When the relevant geological, geophysical, and petrophysical data can be integrated into a single model that opens in a new windowaccurately characterizes a reservoir and depicts the subsurface environment, well planners gain the detailed insight needed to begin multilateral well design. With the ability to visualize the model in 3D, reservoir engineers can readily explore and analyze horizons, faults, and targets, and develop multilateral well plans to avoid risk and maximize opportunities. Specific analysis and visualization capabilities that facilitate in-depth exploration of the geologic model include:
- Comparison, validation, and refinement of fault and horizon interpretations
- Assessment of normal and reverse faults, major fault gaps, anticlines and synclines, fault-wedges, salt diapirs, and similar complex geologic structures
- Evaluation of geologic attributes using contour maps, isochore maps, cross-sections, base maps, and fence displays
- Display of three-dimensional property distributions within fault blocks
Design Multilateral Wells in the Context of 3D Geologic Models
Accurate opens in a new window3D geological models enhance the entire well planning process. Well planners who develop multilateral well designs based on 3D geological models achieve better results due to the informational detail provided in the models. With the ability to visualize a proposed wellbore in context of the geological and petrophysical conditions local to the wellbore, planners can:
- Readily identify geological factors that increase drilling risk and cost and explore multiple mitigation strategies.
- Optimize the wellbore curve from pad to target to minimize problems associated with torque and drag, hole cleaning, premature bit wear, tool limitations, and cementing.
- Recommend the appropriate casing and tubing design to accommodate the loads throughout the life of the well.
- Work with drilling engineers to design the BHA to handle the formation.
- Work with completion engineers to design the completion system for the frack stage of the production zone, selecting components appropriate for the downhole environment.
Collision Avoidance in Established Fields
Left image: Tubes displayed around each offset well show minimum allowable separation distance (MASD) from the reference wellpath.
Here, the ability to visualize the current subsurface environment—geology as well as existing welbore locations—gives well planners greater assurance in placing additional laterals.