Geologic complexity and a maze of existing wellbores can challenge the best well planners to navigate subsurface environments and determine the optimum wellbore trajectories for new, sidetrack, multilateral, or infill wells. Well planners share the responsibility with geologists, geophysicists, and drilling engineers to minimize drilling risks while cost-effectively reaching targets.
The volume and variety of reservoir data available to well planners today can dramatically improve the efficiency and accuracy of wellbore trajectory planning.
The Role of Data Analysis in Wellbore Trajectory Planning
Consider some of the data sources that can guide the planning process.
|Data Types||Relevance to Wellbore Trajectory Planning|
|Geologic||Understand complex structures. Select the target zone(s). Identify faults and horizons to determine optimum drilling angles (avoid shallow drilling angles, wellbore porpoising).|
|Geophysical||Use geomechanical earth models, rock mechanics, wellbore stability and stress analysis to avoid potential problems. Determine optimum orientation for wellbores. Plan the appropriate bottom hole assembly (BHA) for the drilling process.|
|Petrophysical||Determine the appropriate completion strategy.|
|Wellbores||Avoid collisions. Compare properties of planned wellbores with existing wellbores to optimize the drilling process. Avoid encroachment in nearby wells.|
|Surface infrastructure||Plan the wellbore in consideration of any constraints imposed by surface infrastructure, e.g., pad location, environmental factors.|
Despite the volume and variety of reservoir data available, the greatest impediment to using these data for wellbore trajectory planning is data integration. Multiple software packages and varying data formats prevent individuals responsible for well planning to easily share their data—geological, geophysical, petrophysical, subsurface, and surface infrastructure. Without the ability to integrate these data and collaboratively visualize a detailed picture of an oil field, planning teams are hindered in their ability to develop wellbore plans that minimize risk, lower drilling costs, and maximize recovery.
Why Data Integration is Vital to Wellbore Trajectory Planning
The ability for all members of a wellbore planning team to easily access and collaboratively analyze and visualize other data in addition to their own data is vital to understanding subsurface conditions, and facilitates better wellbore trajectory planning by allowing the team to:
- Provide detailed and accurate models of complex geologic geometries, including updates from recently acquired geologic data.
- Select targets and trajectories with greater confidence, using more accurate models for ellipsoids of uncertainty, and identifying potential risks along the entire trajectory.
- See a full geologic picture to evaluate the feasibility of secondary targets, i.e., planning for the original target objective as well as future plans.
- Evaluate the merits of various wellbore trajectory options, based on variables such as nearby well profiles, kick-off points, and dogleg severity.
Data integration is vital in making well-informed wellbore trajectory planning decisions that incorporate the knowledge and experience of every member of the team. When data integration is a component of software that also visualizes the subsurface environment and provides a rich set of planning tools to evaluate various wellbore options, well planners achieve their objectives faster and with greater confidence.
Model, Visualize, Plan for Optimum Wellbore Placement
Software tools from Dynamic Graphics, Inc. aid all disciplines involved in wellbore trajectory planning. From geologic modeling to multi-disciplinary vendor-neutral visualization and analysis to single well and full-field directional drilling well planning and survey management, these tools can be used separately or together across the asset team:
EarthVision integrates geophysical and geological data to create 3D structural models that depict intricate relationships among faults, lithology, and rock properties in structurally complex reservoirs. Complex models can be easily and quickly updated as data comes in across the field and additional wellbores are planned. An optional well planning tool for non-well-planners (available in EarthVision and CoViz 4D) allows geologists to create wellpaths that can be brought into WellArchitect.
CoViz 4D easily integrates earth models, seismic data, reservoir simulation grids, production data, well logs, and non-spatial data from a wide variety of industry-standard software packages and data formats. By using powerful 3D and 4D visualization techniques and applying a variety of statistical and quantitative formulas to the data, teams responsible for wellbore trajectory planning obtain a more accurate and detailed understanding of reservoir conditions. With this insight, they can better anticipate and accommodate factors that affect planning.
WellArchitect is an advanced well planning system for integrated wellbore planning and drilling. It combines powerful directional drilling software with advanced 3D visualization tools to calculate trajectories, visualize wellbores in context of geological models, offset wells, targets, and positional uncertainty for optimal wellbore placement. It can easily accommodate the needs of sidetracking, multilateral wellpaths, and re-entry drilling common in producing or mature fields.
Dynamic Graphics, Inc. Solutions for Planning Teams
Well planners who take advantage of all relevant subsurface data—integrating, visualizing, and analyzing—develop wellbore trajectory plans faster, with less risk, and at a lower cost. Detailed understanding of the geology and existing subsurface infrastructure allows planners to optimize wellbore trajectories every step of the way, from pad to pay zones. Software from Dynamic Graphics, Inc. provides all the capabilities reservoir teams need to optimize wellbore trajectory planning, using the wealth of data already available.
Image courtesy of James Jones Jr.