Pushing the envelope on LWD, geosteering by cwl19788


									CRITICAL ISSUES                   IN   DRILLING & COMPLETIONS

             Critical D&C issues with Ian Falconer, Schlumberger

                       Pushing the envelope on LWD, geosteering
     By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor

     IAN FALCONER IS marketing
     and technology manager for Drilling &
     Measurements, Schlumberger.

                               DC: What are
                               some of the key
                               drilling and comple-
                               tions challenges
                               facing the industry,
                               and how are you
                               responding to those

                               Falconer: I
       Ian Falconer      would group our
                         key challenges into
     three broad categories: exploration,
     managing mature assets and unconven-
     tionals.                                          Schlumberger helped Maersk Oil Qatar to drill a record-breaking extended-reach well in
                                                       the Al Shaheen Field: longest along-hole departure (37,956 ft), longest 8 1/2-in. section
     Firstly, in exploration, the primary pur-
     pose of the well is for information, to
                                                       (35,449 ft), highest ERD ratio - TVD/lateral section (10.485), highest directional difficulty
     confirm that the play is there, what the          index (8.279), longest well (40,320 ft).
     rocks and fluids are, and the size of the         the formations better and using those           operations support and are able to pro-
     reservoir. As these exploration opportu-          measurements to minimize drilling risks.        vide a more in-depth analysis of the well
     nities get more complicated, it becomes           Of particular interest to the industry is       data such that better drilling decisions
     more difficult to capture this information        our ability to now take downhole pres-          can be made.
     and there is increasing drilling risk             sure readings while drilling along with
                                                       our drive to eliminate downhole nuclear         The center in Aberdeen, for example,
     Secondly, with regards to mature fields,                                                          provides ongoing support to over 25 rigs
     we have to remember that around 70% of            sources while drilling. We are the first in
                                                       the industry to introduce a density mea-        and has even progressed to the stage of
     the fields that are producing today have                                                          remotely controlling some of the wellsite
     been producing for more than 35 years.            surement that doesn’t require a radioac-
                                                       tive source.                                    operations. This is one of the largest
     Therefore, there is an ever-increasing                                                            real-time drilling support centers in the
     challenge to maximize the performance             Over the last 12 months, we have seen           world today.
     of these assets. It’s really important for        a significant uptake in terms of LWD
     the operators to be able to squeeze the           seismic services. Here we are using real-       In terms of mature fields, we see a grow-
     last drops out of this existing production        time LWD seismic wave forms to actu-            ing trend to more complex and longer-
     base.                                             ally reduce surface seismic uncertainty.        reach wells. A key challenge in drilling
                                                       This allows us to accurately pick casing        these wells is the transmission of the
     The third area involves the shift toward                                                          required data from the bit to surface.
     unconventional resources, primarily in            points, and we now have examples of
                                                       this technology being used to place wells       We continue to push the boundaries of
     North America. The challenge here is                                                              mud-pulse telemetry, and last year our
     to develop the necessary services that            with respect to the flank of a salt diapir.
                                                                                                       team helped Maersk Oil Qatar break 10
     will allow us to efficiently exploit these        Another key enabler in this area is the         world records with an extended-reach
     reserves. Here we are talking about               OSC operation support center. These             offshore well in the Al Shaheen Field.
     drilling much higher-intensity clusters of        centers focus on improving our custom-          Using a high-speed telemetry system,
     wells, which will require more of a well          ers’ performance and our service deliv-         which can transmit measurements 10
     manufacturing approach.                           ery by using rapidly developing informa-        times faster than conventional methods,
                                                       tion technology resources to make the           we were able to transmit a full comple-
     DC: Specifically, what technologies               best use of wellsite data in real time. We      ment of real-time LWD images and drill-
     have been proven in meeting these chal-           have a network of these OSCs world-             ing parameters at a total depth of 40,320
     lenges?                                           wide, each with a core group of experts         ft.
                                                       providing 24/7 support to their regional
     Falconer: In terms of exploration,                drilling operations. Here, drilling engi-       For unconventional resources, we see
     our focus is on expanding our portfolio           neers and geoscientists are collocated          our key contribution as being a step
     of logging-while-drilling (LWD) measure-          and have real-time access to the rigs.          change in operational efficiency and
     ments. It’s all about trying to understand        They provide our wellsite engineers with        accurate well placement, as well place-
                                                                                                       ment precision will be much tougher

62     January/February 2009                          D R I L L I N G CONTRACTOR

                                                                                                 tion has been somewhat slow. However,
                                                                                                 in the last couple of years, automation
                                                                                                 has become more commonplace, par-
                                                                                                 ticularly for the drilling contractors,
                                                                                                 with things like automatic pipe-handling
                                                                                                 equipment and use of auto-drillers. From
                                                                                                 our perspective, the focus on automa-
                                                                                                 tion is on the efficiency and performance
                                                                                                 side. I would say a good example of
                                                                                                 where we’ve moved forward is with our
                                                                                                 rotary steerable systems. We now have
                                                                                                 control within the tools that allows us to
                                                                                                 maintain a specific line or direction with-
                                                                                                 out actually having to intervene from the

                                                                                                 Another example involves the way we
                                                                                                 talk to our tools downhole by changing
                                                                                                 the mud pulse of the flow and pres-
                                                                                                 sures that go to the tools downhole.
                                                                                                 Historically, that has been done manu-
                                                                                                 ally, which slowed down the drilling
                                                                                                 process. Now, we’re at the point where
                                                                                                 we have automatic pump control equip-
                                                                                                 ment, which improves techniques to talk
                                                                                                 to those tools downhole. We use this for
                                                                                                 controlling our downhole pressure test
                                                                                                 tools, or if we need to send a command
     Operation support centers give drilling engineers and geoscientists real-time access to     to our rotary steerable tools. This way
     rigs so they can provide support to wellsite engineers. Using the industry’s information    we’re able to eliminate drilling flat time
     technology resources, these centers help deliver better analysis of well data so better     because we’re able to automatically
     drilling decisions can be made.                                                             generate the flow changes while we’re
                                                                                                 drilling, and therefore we don’t disrupt
     than what we face today with exploiting        With regards to geosteering,                 the drilling process. With the advent of
     conventional resources. Here, our efforts      Schlumberger was one of the founders of      wired drill pipe, we can see further step
     are focused on the continuing develop-         geosteering technology back in the late      changes.
     ment of high-build-rate RSS services,          1980s. When we first introduced LWD
     new-generation surveying and ranging           resistivity, we were doing basic geosteer-   DC: What are the new technologies the
     techniques, automation and remote              ing by identifying formation boundaries      industry is still waiting for?
     operations using our OSCs. We are work-        when we crossed them and then steering
     ing closely with our Integrated Project        back into the reservoir.                     Falconer: The future technologies
     Management segment to ensure we                                                             will be an extension of the direction
     address the operation efficiency needs         The challenge here has always been how
                                                                                                 we’re already going. The industry is
     across the entire drilling process and not     soon do you see the boundary so that
                                                                                                 looking for even better illumination of
     simply in the Drilling and Measurement         you have time to turn the well before
                                                                                                 the reservoir, particularly in complex
     domain.                                        you exit the reservoir. Since then, a
                                                                                                 geologies and subsalts. We have a bet-
                                                    lot of effort has been put into enhanc-
                                                                                                 ter picture using LWD seismic today, but
                                                    ing this technology to allow us to read
     DC: What are the industry trends               deeper into the formation and identify
                                                                                                 it’s still not crystal clear. It could always
     specifically in terms of rotary steerables                                                  be clearer. We will continue to push the
                                                    bed boundaries earlier. We now have a
     and geosteering?                                                                            envelope on that.
                                                    service that was commercialized at the
                                                    end of last year called the PeriScope bed
     Falconer: We continue to invest                boundary mapper. This gives us a much
                                                                                                 The same is true for rotary steerable
     heavily in expanding our rotary steer-                                                      capabilities. The technology is there now.
                                                    deeper reading, up to 15 feet away from      We’ve proven the ability to get up to 15°
     able portfolio. We now have a range of
                                                    the borehole, and provides our clients       per 100 feet build rate, but as we move
     rotary steerable tools from 3 7/8 in. to 26
                                                    with much greater confidence that they       forward, there will be more complex geo-
     in., all the way from the top of the well
                                                    can keep the well within the sweet spot      metrical well profiles. We need to push
     down to the smaller-hole TD sections.
                                                    of the reservoir.                            the rotary steerable capabilities further.
     The key challenge for this technology is
     to be able to steer more aggressively at       DC: How has automation progressed            On the geosteering side, again, we’ve
     higher build rates. Our clients are look-      in the drilling and completion industry in   proven that we can now provide deep
     ing for rotary steerable capabilities at       the last few years?                          readings, up to 15 feet away from the bit.
     12-15° per 100 feet and higher, to help                                                     But there is still the need to be able to
     them drill re-entry type wells and to          Falconer: The feeling in the drilling        look even further out and not just from
     access unconventional resources.               industry is that the take-up of automa-      side to side, but also to look ahead of the

64     January/February 2009                       D R I L L I N G CONTRACTOR

To top