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You are on page 1of 16

**Accuracy Prediction for Directional MWD
**

Hugh S. Williamson, SPE, BP Amoco

**Copyright 1999, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.
**

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 1999 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition

held in Houston, Texas, 3–6 October 1999.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of information

contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as presented, have not been

reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The

material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers,

its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial

Committees of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of

any part of this paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum

Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300

words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where

and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 750833836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.

Abstract

This paper describes a new method for predicting wellbore position

uncertainty which responds to the current needs of the Industry. An

error model applicable to a basic directional MWD service is presented

and used for illustration. As far as possible within the limitations of

space, the paper is a self-contained reference work, including all the

necessary information to develop and test a software implementation of

the method.

The paper is the product of a collaboration between the many

companies and individuals cited in the text.

Introduction

As the Industry continues to drill in mature oil provinces, the dual

challenges of small geological targets and severe well congestion increase

the importance of quantifying typical wellbore positional errors. The

pioneering work of the 1970’s culminated in the paper by Wolff and de

Wardt1. Their approach, albeit extensively modified and added to, has

remained the de facto Industry standard to this day. At the same time,

various shortcomings of the method have been identified2,3,4, but are not

discussed further here.

In recent years, a number of factors have created the opportunity for

the Industry to develop an alternative method:

• risk-based approaches to collision avoidance and target hitting

require position uncertainties with associated confidence levels,

something which Wolff and de Wardt specifically avoided.

• changing relationships brought about by integrated service contracts

have forced directional drilling and survey companies to share

information on tool performance.

**• the development of several new directional software products and
**

their integration with sub-surface applications has provided the

necessity and the opportunity to develop new means of communicating

and visualising positional uncertainty.

This paper provides a three-part response to this need:

1. Error Model for Basic MWD, based on the current state of

knowledge of a group of Industry experts. There are several reasons

why directional MWD is the most suitable survey service to illustrate a

new method of error modelling:

• the error budget is dominated by environmental effects, so that

accuracy differences attributable to tools alone are minimal.

• it is the survey tool of choice for most directional wells, where

position uncertainty is of greatest concern.

• the physical principles of its operation, including the navigation

equations, are in the public domain.

2. Mathematical Basis, being a rigorous description of the

propagation of errors in stationary tools. Fit-for-purpose error models

using the same basis are in development for inertial and continuous

gyroscopic tools, although some simplification and compromise is

inevitable. A rigorous treatment of continuous survey tools would

probably have too restricted a cognoscenti to be practical.

3. Standard Examples and Results. Despite the apparent simplicity

of the Wolff and de Wardt method, different software implementations

generally give subtly different results. While an effort has been made in

this paper to provide a comprehensive description of the new method,

there will surely remain some areas of ambiguity or confusion. In such

cases, reproduction of the numerical results at the end of the paper will

act as a powerful criterion for “validation”. The results were generated

by the author using experimental software and have since been

duplicated by commercially available software.

Genesis of the Work. The content of this paper is the fruit of two

collaborative groups.

ISCWSA. The Industry Steering Committee on Wellbore Survey

Accuracy is an informally constituted group of companies and

2

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

**individuals established following the SPWLA Topical Conference on
**

MWD held in Kerrville, Texas in late 1995. The Group’s broad

objective is “to produce and maintain standards for the Industry relating

to wellbore survey accuracy”. Much of the content of this paper, and

specifically the details of the basic MWD error model, had its genesis in

the Group’s meetings, which were distinguished by their open and cooperative discussions.

Four Company Working Group. The ISCWSA being too large a

forum to undertake the detailed mathematical development of an error

propagation model, this was completed by a small working group from

Sysdrill Ltd., Statoil, Baker Hughes INTEQ and BP Exploration. The

mathematical model created by the group and described below has been

made freely available for use by the Industry.

Assumptions and Definitions

The following assumptions are implicit in the error models and

mathematics presented in this paper:

1. Errors in calculated well position are caused exclusively by the

presence of measurement errors at wellbore survey stations.

2. Wellbore survey stations are, or can be modelled as, three-element

measurement vectors, the elements being along-hole depth, D,

inclination, I, and azimuth A. The propagation mathematics also requires

a toolface angle, τ, at each station.

3. Errors from different error sources are statistically independent.

4. There is a linear relationship between the size of each measurement

error and the corresponding change in calculated well position.

5. The combined effect on calculated well position of any number of

measurement errors at any number of survey stations is equal to the

vector sum of their individual effects.

No restrictive assumptions are made about the statistical distribution

of measurement errors.

Error sources, terms and models. An error source is a physical

phenomenon which contributes to the error in a survey tool

measurement. An error term describes the effect of an error source on a

particular survey tool measurement. It is uniquely specified by the

following data:

• a name

• a weighting function, which describes the effect of the error ε on

the survey tool measurement vector p. Each function is referred to by a

mnemonic of up to four letters.

• a mean value, µ.

• a magnitude, σ, always quoted as a 1 standard deviation value.

• a correlation coefficient ρ1 between error values at survey stations

in the same survey leg. (In a survey listing made up of several

concatenated surveys, a survey leg is a set of contiguous survey

stations acquired with a single tool or, if appropriate, a single tool type).

• a correlation coefficient ρ2 between error values at survey stations

in different survey legs in the same well.

• a correlation coefficient ρ3 between error values at survey stations

SPE 56702

**in different wells in the same field.
**

To ensure that the correlation coefficients are well defined, only four

combinations are allowed.

Propagation Mode

Random (R)

Systematic (S)

Per-well (W)

Global (G)

ρ1

0

1

1

1

ρ2

0

0

1

1

ρ3

0

0

0

1

**ρ1, ρ2 and ρ3 are to be considered properties of the error source, and
**

should be the same for all survey legs.

An error model is a set of error terms chosen with the aim of

properly accounting for all the significant error sources which affect a

survey tool or service.

An Error Model for “Basic” MWD

For the survey specialist in search of a “best estimate” of position

uncertainty it is tempting to differentiate minutely between tools types

and models, running configurations, BHA design, geographical location

and several other variables. While justifiable on technical grounds, such

an approach is impractical for the daily work of the well planner. The

time needed to find out this data for historical wells, and for many

planned wells, is simply not available.

The error model presented in this section is intended to be

representative of MWD surveys run according to fairly standard quality

procedures. Such procedures would include

• rigorous and regular tool calibration

• survey interval no greater than 100 ft

• non-magnetic spacing according to standard charts (where no axial

interference correction is applied)

• not surveying in close proximity to existing casing strings or other

steel bodies

• passing standard field checks on G-total, B-total and dip.

The requirement to differentiate between different services may be met

by defining a small suite of alternative error models. Examples covered

in this paper are:

• application or not of an axial interference correction

• application or not of a BHA sag correction

Alternative models would also be justified for:

• In-field referenced surveys

• In-hole (gyro) referenced surveys

• Depth-corrected surveys

The model presented here is based on the current state of knowledge and

experience of a number of experts. It is a starting point for further

research and debate, not an end-point.

Sensor Errors. MWD sensors will typically show small shifts in

performance between calibrations. We may make the assumption that

SPE 56702

ACCURACY PREDICTION FOR DIRECTIONAL MWD

**the shifts between successive calibrations are representative of the shifts
**

between calibration and field performance. On this basis, two major

MWD suppliers compared the results of successive scheduled

calibrations of their tools. Paul Rodney examined 288 pairs of

calibrations, and noted the change in bias (ie. offset error), scale factor

and misalignment for each sensor. Wayne Phillips did the same for 10

pairs of calibrations, except that sensor misalignments were not

recorded.

Andy Brooks has demonstrated that if a sensor is subject to a scale

error and two orthogonal misalignments, all independent and of similar

magnitude, the combination of the three error terms is equivalent to a

single bias term. This term need not appear explicitly in the error model,

but may be added to the existing bias term to create a “lumped” error.

This eliminates the need for 20 extra weighting functions corresponding

to sensor misalignments.

The data from the MWD suppliers suggest that in-service sensor

misalignments are typically smaller than scale errors. As a result, only a

part of the observed scale error was “lumped” with the misalignments

into the bias term, leaving a residual scale error which is modeled

separately. In this way, four physical errors for each sensor were

transformed into two modeled terms. The results were as follows:

Error Source

Accelerometer biases

Accelerometer scale factors

Magnetometer biases

Magnetometer scale factors

weighting

function

ABX,Y,Z

ASX,Y,Z

MBX,Y,Z

MSX,Y,Z

magnitude

0.0004 g

0.0005

70 nT

0.0016

prop.

mode

S

S

S

S

**These figures include errors which are correlated between sensors, and
**

which therefore have no effect on calculated inclination and azimuth (the

exception being the effect of correlated magnetometer errors on

interference corrected azimuths). It could be argued that the

magnetometer scale factor errors in particular (which may be influenced

by crustal anomalies at the calibration sites) should be reduced to

account for this.

BHA magnetic interference. Magnetic interference due to steel in

the BHA may be split into components acting parallel (axial) and

perpendicular (cross-axial) to the borehole axis.

Axial Interference. Several independent sets of surface

measurements of magnetic pole strengths have now been made.

Observed root-mean-square values are:

Item

RMS

Pin

Box

pole strength(sample size)

Source

Drill collar

Stabiliser

Motor

505 µWb (8)

605 µWb (11)

3

435 µWb (11)

511 µWb (4)

Grindrod, Wolff6

Lotsberg5

McElhinney 7

177 µWb (6)

396 µWb (10)

369 µWb (5)

189 µWb (10)

408 µWb (10)

Grindrod, Wolff

Lotsberg

McElhinney

340 µWb (12)

419 µWb (10)

Lotsberg

**Oddvar Lotsberg also computed pole strengths for 41 BHAs from the
**

results of an azimuth correction algorithm. The RMS pole strength was

369 µWb (micro-Webers).

These results suggest that 400 µWb is a reasonable estimate for the 1

s.d. pole strength of a steel drill string component where further

information is lacking. This is useful information for BHA design, but

cannot be used for uncertainty prediction without a value for nonmagnetic spacing distance. Unfortunately, there is no “typical” spacing

used in the Industry, and we must find another way to estimate the

magnitude of this error source.

A well-established Industry practice is to require non-magnetic

spacing sufficient to keep the azimuth error below a fixed tolerance

(typically 0.5° at 1 s.d.) for assumed pole strengths and a given hole

direction. This tolerance may need to be compromised in the least

favourable hole directions. For a fixed axial interference field, and

neglecting induced magnetism, azimuth error is strongly dependent on

hole direction, being proportional to sinIsinAm. Thus to model the

azimuth error in uncorrected surveys, we require a combination of error

terms which

• predicts zero error if the well is vertical or magnetic north/south

• predicts errors somewhat greater than the usual tolerance if the well

is near horizontal and magnetic east/west

• predicts errors near the usual tolerance for other hole directions.

These requirements could be met by constructing some artificial

weighting function, but this would violate our restriction to physically

meaningful error terms. A constant error of 0.25° and a directiondependent error of 0.6°sinIsinAm is perhaps the best we can achieve by

way of a compromise. It is legitimate to consider these values

representative of 1 standard deviation, since the pole strength values

which underlie the non-magnetic spacing calculations are themselves

quoted at 1 s.d.

Both error terms may be propagated as systematic, although there is

theoretical and observational evidence4 that this error is asymmetric,

acting in the majority of cases to swing magnetic surveys to the north in

the northern hemisphere. Giving the direction-dependent term a mean

value of 0.33° and a magnitude of 0.5° reproduces this asymmetry (with

about 75% of surveys being deflected to the north), while leaving the

root-mean-square error unchanged.

Axial interference errors are not modelled for surveys which have been

corrected for magnetic interference.

Cross-Axial Interference Cross-axial interference from the BHA is

indistinguishable from magnetometer bias, and propagates in the same

4

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

**way. Anne Holmes 8 analysed the magnetometer biases for 78 MWD
**

surveys determined as a by-product of a multi-station correction

algorithm. Once a few outliers - probably due to magnetic “hot-spots”

and hence classified as gross errors - had been eliminated, the remaining

observations gave an RMS value of 57nT. This figure is somewhat

smaller than the 70nT attributable to magnetometer bias alone. The

conclusion must be that cross-axial interference does not, in the average,

make a significant contribution to the overall MWD error budget, and

may be safely left out of the model.

Tool Misalignment. Misalignment is the error caused by the alonghole axis of the directional sensor assembly being out-of-parallel with

the centre line of the borehole. The error may be modeled as a

combination of two independent phenomena:

BHA sag is due to the distortion of the MWD drill collar under

gravity. It is modelled as confined to the vertical plane, and proportional

to the component of gravity acting perpendicular to the wellbore (ie.

sinI). The magnitude of the error depends on BHA type and geometry,

sensor spacing, hole size and several other factors. Two-dimensional

BHA models typically calculate inclination corrections of 0.2° or 0.3°

for poorly stabilised BHAs in horizontal hole5. For well stabilised

assemblies the value is usually less than 0.15°. In the absence of better

information, 0.2° (at 1 s.d.) may be considered a realistic input into the

basic error model.

Sag corrections, if they are applied, are calculated on the often

unjustified assumptions of both the hole and stabilisers being in gauge.

Data comparisons by the author suggest a typical efficiency of 60% for

these corrections, leaving a post-correction residual sag error of 0.08°.

Assuming similar BHAs throughout a hole section, all BHA sag errors

may be classified as systematic.

Radially symmetric misalignment is modelled as equally likely to

be oriented at any toolface angle. John Turvill made an estimate of its

magnitude based on the tolerances on several concentric cylinders:

• Sensor package in housing. Tolerances on three components are

(i) clearance, 0.023°, (ii) concentricity, 0.003°, (iii) straightness of

sensor package, 0.031°.

• Sensor housing in drill collar. For a probe mounted in a

centralised, retrievable case, 0.063°.

• Collar bore in collar body. Typical MWD vendors’ tolerance is

0.05°.

• Collar body in borehole. The API tolerance on collar

straightness equates to 0.03°. MWD vendors’ specifications are

typically somewhat more stringent.

The root-sum-square of these figures is 0.094°. Being based on

maximum tolerances, it is probably an over-estimate for stabilised rotary

assemblies.

An analysis by the author of the variation in measured inclination over

46 rotation shots produced a root-mean-square misalignment of 0.046°.

Simulations show that within this figure, about 0.007° is attributable to

the effect of sensor errors.

SPE 56702

**An additional source of misalignment - collar distortion outside the
**

vertical plane due to bending forces - may be estimated using 3dimensional BHA models. 0.04° seems to be a typical value. This error

differs from those above by not rotating with the tool. It should

therefore strictly have its own weighting function. Being so small, it

seems justifiable on practical (if not theoretical) grounds, to include it

with the other sources of radially symmetric misalignment. This leaves

us with an estimate for the error magnitude of 0.06°. This figure may be

a significant underestimate where there is an aggressive bend in the BHA

or a probe-type MWD tool is in use. This error term may be considered

systematic.

Magnetic field uncertainty. For basic MWD surveys, only the value

assumed for magnetic declination affects the computed azimuth.

However, conventional corrections for axial interference require

estimates of the magnetic dip and field strength. Any error in these

estimates will cause an error in the computed azimuth.

A study commissioned from the British Geological Survey by Baker

Hughes INTEQ 9 investigated the likely error in using a global

geomagnetic model to estimate the instantaneous ambient magnetic field

downhole. Five sources of error were identified:

• Modelled main field vs. actual main field at base epoch

• Modelled secular variation vs. actual secular variation

• Regular (diurnal) variation due to electrical currents in the

ionosphere

• Irregular temporal variation due to electrical currents in the

magnetosphere

• Crustal anomalies

By making a number of gross assumptions, and by considering typical

drilling rates, the current author has distilled the results of the study into

a single table:

Error Source

**Main field model
**

Secular variation

Daily variation

Irregular variation

Crustal anomaly

error magnitude

declination

dip

field

0.012°*

0.005°

0.017°*

0.013°

0.045°†

0.011°†

0.110°†

0.043°†

0.476°

0.195°

total

prop.

mode

3 nT

10 nT

11 nT†

45 nT†

120 nT

G

G

R/S‡

R/S‡

G

*** below 60° latitude N or S
**

† at 60° latitude N or S

‡ daily and irregular variation are partially randomised between surveys.

Correlations between consecutive stations are approximately 0.95 and

0.5 for the two error sources.

**The dominant error source is crustal anomalies, caused by varying
**

magnetisation of rocks in the Earth’s crust. The figures shown are

representative of the North Sea. Some areas, particularly those at higher

latitudes and where volcanic rocks are closer to the surface, will show

greater variation. Other areas, where sedimentary rocks dominate, will

show less.

SPE 56702

ACCURACY PREDICTION FOR DIRECTIONAL MWD

**In the absence of any other information, the uncertainty in an estimate
**

of the magnetic field at a given time and place provided by a global

geomagnetic model may be obtained by summing the above terms

statistically. There is one complication - some account must be taken of

the increasing difficulty of determining declination as the horizontal

component of the magnetic field decreases. This can be achieved by

splitting this error into two components: one constant and one inversely

proportional to the horizontal projection of the field, BH. For the

purposes of the model, the split has been defined somewhat arbitrarily,

while ensuring that the total declination uncertainty at Lerwick, Shetland

(BH = 15000nT) is as predicted by the BGS study (0.49°). Being

dominated by the crustal anomaly component, all magnetic field errors

may be considered globally systematic and summarised thus:

Error Source

Declination (constant)

Declination (BH-dependent)

Dip angle

Total field

weighting

function

AZ

DBH

MFD

MFI

magnitude

0.36°

5000°nT

0.20°

130nT

prop.

mode

G

G

G

G

**Along-Hole Depth Errors. Roger Ekseth10 identified 14 physical
**

sources of drill-pipe depth measurement error, wrote down expressions

to predict their magnitude, and by substituting typical parameter values

into the expressions predicted the total error for a number of different

well shapes. He then proposed a simplified model of just four terms,

and chose the magnitudes of each to match the predictions of the full

model as closely as possible. The results were as follows.

Error Source

Random ref.

Systematic ref.

Scale

Stretch-type

error

error magnitude (1 s.d.)

proportional land rig

floating rig

to

1

1

D

D.V

0.35 m

0m

2.4×10-4

2.2×10-7 m-1

2.2 m

1m

2.1×10-4

1.5×10-7 m-1

prop.

mode

R

S

S

G

**For the purposes of the basic model, the values for the land rig (or,
**

equivalently a jack-up or platform rig) may be chosen. The stretch-type

error, which dominates the other terms in deep wells, models two

physical effects - stretch and thermal expansion of the drill pipe. Both

these effects generally cause the drill string to elongate, so it may be

appropriate to apply this term as a bias (see below). If this is done, a

mean value of 4.4×10-7 m-1 should be used, since Ekseth effectively

treated his estimates of these errors as 2 s.d. values.

Errors omitted from the Basic MWD Model. Some errors known to

affect MWD surveys have nonetheless not been included in the basic

error model.

Tool electronics and resolution. The overall effect on accuracy

5

**caused by the limitations of the tool electronics and the resolution of the
**

tool-to-surface telemetry system is not considered significant. Such

errors will tend to be randomised over long survey intervals.

External magnetic interference. Ekseth10 discusses the influence

of remanent magnetism in casing strings on magnetic surveys, and gives

expressions for azimuth error when drilling (a) out of a casing shoe and

(b) parallel to an existing string. Although certainly not negligible, both

error sources are difficult to quantify, and equally difficult to

incorporate within error modelling software. It seems preferable to

manage these errors by applying quality procedures designed to limit

their effect.

Effect of survey interval and calculation method. The method

presented in this paper relies on the assumption that error-free

measurement vectors p will lead to an error-free wellbore position vector

r. If minimum curvature formulae are used for survey calculation, this

assumption will only be true when the well-path between stations is an

exact circular arc. The resulting error may be significant for sparse data,

but may probably be neglected so long as the station interval does not

exceed 100 ft.

Gravity field uncertainty. Differences between nominal and actual

gravity field strengths will typically have no effect on MWD accuracy

since only the ratio of accelerometer measurements are used in the

calculation of inclination and azimuth.

Gross errors. Any attempt at a comprehensive discussion of MWD

error sources must at least acknowledge the possibility of gross errors sometimes called human errors. These errors lack the predictability and

uniformity of the physical terms discussed above. They are therefore

excluded from the error model, with the assumption that they are

adequately managed through process and procedure.

Propagation Mathematics

The mathematical algorithm by which wellbore positional uncertainty is

generated from survey error model inputs is based on the approach

outlined by Brooks and Wilson3. The development of this work

described here was carried out by the Working Group referred to in the

Introduction.

A physical error occurring at a survey station will result in an error,

in the form of a vector, in the calculated well position. From ref. 3:

ei = σi

d r ∂p

dp ∂εi

…..(1)

**where ei is a vector-valued random variable, (a vector error), σi is the
**

magnitude of the ith error source, ∂p/∂εi is its “weighting function” and

dr/dp describes how changes in the measurement vector affect the

calculated well position. It is sufficient to assume that the calculated

displacement between consecutive survey stations depends only on the

survey measurement vectors at these two stations. Writing ∆rk for the

displacement between survey stations k-1 and k, we may thus express

the (1 s.d.) error due to the presence of the ith error source at the kth

6

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

**survey station in the lth survey leg as the sum of the effects on the
**

preceding and following calculated displacements:

d∆rk d ∆rk +1 ∂p k

ei ,l ,k = σi,l

+

dp k

d p k ∂εi

…..(2)

**where σi,l is the magnitude of the ith error source over the lth survey leg,
**

and pk is the instrument measurement vector at the kth survey station.

The total position error at a particular survey station K in survey leg

L, will be the sum of the vector errors ei,l,k taken over all error sources i

and all survey stations up to and including K. The uncertainty in this

position error is expressed in the form of a covariance matrix:

CK =

∑ ∑ ∑

errors k1≤ K k2 ≤ K

i

(

)

ρ εi, l1 ,k 1 , εi, l2 , k2 e i,l1 ,k1 . eiT,l2 ,k 2

…..(3)

**Weighting functions. The weighting function for a particular error
**

source is a 3×1 vector, the elements of which describe the effect of a

unit error on the measured along-hole depth, inclination and azimuth.

For example, the weighting functions for constant and BH-dependent

magnetic declination errors are:

0

∂p

=

0

∂ε DBH

1 / ( B cosΘ )

…(4,5)

∂p

∂ε SAG

∂p

∂ε AMID

0

=

0

sin I sin Am

…(6,7)

**and for reference, scale and stretch-type depth errors they are:
**

∂p

∂ε DREF

1

= 0

0

D

∂p

= 0

∂ε DSF

0

DV

∂p

= 0

∂ε DST

0

(

...(11)

)

G B −G B

G2x + G 2y + Gz2

x y

y x

Am = tan −1

B z Gx2 + G2y − Gz G x B x + G y B y

(

)

...(12)

G y = − G sin I cos τ

G z = G cos I

(

)

**and making use of the inverse relations:
**

G x = − G sin I sin τ

…(13,14,15)

Bx = B cosΘcos I cos Am sinτ − B sinΘsin I sinτ + B cosΘsin Am cosτ

Bz = B cos Θ sin I cos Am + B sin Θ cos I

…(16,17,18)

**Taking the X-accelerometer bias (ABX) as an example,
**

∂I

− 1 ∂ cos I

− 1 GxGz

cos I sinτ

=

=

−

=−

3

∂G x sin I ∂Gx

sin I G

G

…(19)

and similarly,

∂Am ( cosI sin Am sin τ − cos Am cosτ) tanΘ + cot I cosτ

=

…(20)

∂G x

G

The appropriate weighting function is therefore:

0

…(21)

1

=

− cos I sin τ

∂ε ABX G

( cos I sin Am sin τ − cos Am cos τ) tan Θ + cot I cos τ

∂p

**For BHA sag and direction-dependent axial magnetic interference they
**

are:

0

= sin I

0

Gz

I = cos−1

2

2

2

Gx + Gy + Gz

By = BcosΘcos I cos Am cosτ − B sinΘsinI cosτ − B cosΘsin Am sinτ

**where ρ(εi,l1,k1,εi,l2,k2) is the correlation coefficient between the value of
**

the ith error source at the k 1th station (in the l1th leg) and the k 2th

station (in the l2th leg). In practice, it is more convenient to sum

separately the contributions of errors with different propagation

characteristics. Details are in Appendix A.

0

∂p

= 0

∂ε AZ

1

SPE 56702

…(8,9,10)

**Weighting functions for sensor errors. Tool axes and toolface
**

angle, τ, are defined in Fig 1. There are 12 basic sensor error sources (a

bias and scale factor for each of 3 accelerometers and 3 magnetometers)

and each requires its own weighting function. These are obtained by

differentiating the standard navigation equations for inclination and

azimuth:

**Effect of axial interference correction. When a simple axial
**

magnetic interference correction is applied, (12) is no longer used, and

different weighting functions are required for sensor errors. The

following analysis is due to Andy Brooks.

The details of the interference corrections differ from method to

method, but since all such methods suffer from similar limitations, it is

reasonable to characterise them all with a single example. Methods

which ignore the BZ measurement and find the solution which minimises

the vector distance between the computed and expected values of the

magnetic field vector will satisfy (16), (17) and:

**( B cosΘ − B$ cos Θ$ ) + ( B sin Θ − B$ sin Θ$ )
**

2

2

= minimum

…(22)

**$ are the estimated values of total field strength and dip
**

where B$ and Θ

angle respectively. Solving these three equations for azimuth leads to

Psin Am + Q cos Am + Rsin Am cos Am = 0

where

…(23)

SPE 56702

ACCURACY PREDICTION FOR DIRECTIONAL MWD

(

)

Q = −( Bx cosτ − B y sinτ )

$ sin I cos I

P = Bx sin τ + B y cos τ cos I + B$ sin Θ

…(24)

…(25)

$ sin2 I

R = B$ cos Θ

…(26)

**The sensitivities of the computed azimuth to errors in the sensor
**

measurements are found by differentiating (23).

Magnetic Field Uncertainty. The weighting function for magnetic

declination error is given above. Those for magnetic field strength and

dip angle, which are required when an axial magnetic interference

correction is in use, are derived by differentiating (23) with respect to

$.

B$ and Θ

Misalignment Errors. Brooks and Wilson3 model tool axial

misalignment as two uncorrelated errors corresponding to the x and y

axes of the tool. Their expressions for the associated inclination and

azimuth errors lead directly to the following weighting functions

0

∂p

=

sin τ

∂ε MX

− cosτ / sin I

0

∂p

=

cosτ

∂εMY

sin τ / sin I

7

…(27,28)

**Table 2 contains expressions for all the weighting functions not cited in
**

this section which are required to implement the error models described

in this paper.

Calculation Options

The method of position uncertainty calculation described here admits a

number of variations. It can still claim to be a standard, in that selection

of the same set of conventions should always yield the same results.

Along-Hole Depth Uncertainty. The propagation model described

above is appropriate for determining the position uncertainty of the

points in space at which the survey tool came (or will come) to rest.

These may be called uncertainties “at survey stations”.

Thorogood2 argues that it is more meaningful to compute the position

uncertainties of the points in the wellbore at the along-hole depths

assigned to the survey stations. These may be called the uncertainties

“at assigned depths”. This approach allows computation of the position

uncertainty of points (such as picks from a wireline log) whose depths

have been determined independently of the survey. Thorogood made

this calculation by defining a weighting function incorporating the local

build and turn rates of the well. The approach described in Appendix A

achieves the same result without the need for a new weighting function.

The results of the two approaches differ only in the along-hole

component of uncertainty. The along-hole uncertainty at a survey

station includes the uncertainty in the station’s measured depth, while

the uncertainty at an assigned depth does not.

The correct choice of approach depends on the engineering problem

being tackled - in many cases it is immaterial. The user of well-designed

directional software need not be aware of the issue.

**Survey Bias. Not to be confused with sensor biases (which might
**

better be termed offset errors), survey bias is the tendency for the most

likely position of a well to differ from its surveyed position. The only

bias term defined by Wolff and deWardt was for magnetic interference in

“poor magnetic” surveys. The claims for stretch and thermal expansion

of drill-pipe to be treated as bias errors are at least as strong.

Some vendors of directional software have neglected to model survey

bias on the grounds that (a) such errors should be corrected for and (b)

engineers don’t like/understand them. The first objection can be

countered by the observation “yes, but they aren’t!”, the second by

careful software design.

The sign convention for position bias is from survey to most likely

position (ie. opposite to the direction of the error). Since drill pipe

generally elongates downhole, most likely depths are greater than survey

depths and bias values are positive. For axial drillstring interference,

most likely azimuths are greater than survey azimuths when the

weighting function, sinIsinAm is positive, so bias values are again

positive (at least in the northern hemisphere). The additional

mathematics required to model survey bias is included in Appendix A.

Calculation conventions. The calculation of position uncertainty

requires a wellbore survey consisting of discrete stations, each of which

has an associated along-hole depth, inclination, azimuth and toolface

angle. Clearly, these data will not be available in many cases, and certain

conventions are required whereby assumed values may be calculated.

The following are suggested.

Along-hole depth. For drilled wells, actual survey stations should

be used. For planned wells, the intended survey interval should be

determined, and stations should be interpolated at all whole multiples of

this depth within the survey interval. Typically, an interval of 100 feet

or 30 metres should be used.

Inclination and azimuth. For drilled wells, measured values should

be used. For planned wells, the profile should be interpolated at the

planned survey station depths using minimum curvature.

Toolface. If actual toolface angles are available, they should be used.

If not, several means of generating them are possible:

• Random number generation. Possibly close to reality, but results are

not repeatable and will tend to be optimistic.

• Worst-case. Several variations on this idea are possible, but each will

require some additional calculation. The principle is questionable, and

the computational overhead is probably not justified.

• Borehole toolface (ie. the up-down-left-right change in borehole

direction). This angle bears little relation to survey tool orientation, but

is at least well-defined, and may be computed directly from inclination

and azimuth data. This approach will tend to limit the randomisation of

toolface dependent errors, giving a conservative uncertainty prediction.

This is the convention used in the examples at the end of the paper.

Formulae for borehole toolface are given in Appendix B.

8

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

Standard Profiles

At the 8th meeting of the ISCWSA participants were set the task of

designing a number of well profiles suitable for:

• testing software implementations of the error models and

propagation mathematics

• studying and highlighting the behaviour of different error models

(magnetic and gyroscopic) and individual error sources

• demonstrating to a non-specialist audience the uncertainties to be

expected from typical survey programs.

The ideas generated at the meeting were used to devise a set of three

profiles:

ISCWSA #1: an extended reach well in the North Sea

ISCWSA #2: a “fish-hook” well in the Gulf of Mexico, with a long

turn at low inclination

ISCWSA #3: a “designer” well in the Bass Strait, incorporating a

number of difficult hole directions and geometries.

Figs. 2, 3 illustrate the test profiles in plan and section. Their full

definition, given in Table 4, includes location, magnetic field, survey

stations, toolface angles and depth units.

Example Results

The error models for basic and interference-corrected MWD have been

applied to the standard well profiles to generate position uncertainties in

each well. The results of several combinations are tabulated in Table 5.

Examples 1 and 2 compare the basic and interference-corrected models

in well ISCWSA #1. Being a high inclination well running approximately

east-north-east, the interference correction actually degrades the

accuracy. The results are plotted in Fig 4. Examples 3 to 6 all represent

the basic MWD error model applied to well ISCWSA #2. They differ in

that each uses a different permutation of the survey station/assigned

depth and symmetric error/survey bias calculation options. The

variation of lateral uncertainty and ellipsoid semi-major axis,

characteristic of a “fish-hook” well, is shown in Fig 5. Finally, example

7 breaks well ISCWSA #3 into 3 depth intervals, with the basic and

interference-corrected models being applied alternately. This example is

included as a test of error term propagation.

Taken together, the examples form a demanding test set for

implementations of the method and models described in this paper.

Conclusions and Recommendations

This paper, and the collaborative work which it describes, establishes a

common starting point for wellbore position uncertainty modelling. The

standardised elements are:

• a nomenclature (see below)

• a definition of what constitutes an error model

• mathematics of position uncertainty calculation

• an error model for a basic directional MWD service

• a set of well profiles for investigating error models

• a set of results for testing software implementations

The future work which these standards were designed to facilitate

SPE 56702

includes:

• establishment of agreed error models for other survey services,

including in-field referencing and gyroscopic tools.

• interchangeability of calculated position uncertainties between

survey vendor, directional drilling company and operator.

Useful though this work is, it is only a piece in a larger jigsaw. Taking

a wider view, the collaborative efforts of the extended survey

community should now be directed towards:

• standardisation of quality assurance measures

• strengthening the link between quality assurance specifications

and error model parameters

• better integration of wellbore position uncertainty with the other

aspects of oilfield navigation..

Acknowledgments

The author thanks all participants in the ISCWSA for their enthusiasm

and support over several years and in the review of this paper.

Particular contributions to the MWD error model were made by John

Turvill and Graham McElhinney, both now with PathFinder Energy

Services, formerly Halliburton Drilling Systems; Wayne Phillips,

Schlumberger Anadrill; Paul Rodney and Anne Holmes, Sperry-Sun

Drilling Services; and Oddvar Lottsberg, formerly of Baker Hughes

INTEQ .

Participants in the Working Group on error propagation were David

Roper, Sysdrill Ltd; Andy Brooks and Harry Wilson, Baker Hughes

INTEQ ; and Roger Ekseth, formerly of Statoil.

The results in Table 5 were checked by Jerry Codling, Landmark.

The author also wishes to thank BP Amoco for their permission to

publish this paper.

Nomenclature

ISCWSA Nomenclature*

D

along-hole depth

I

wellbore inclination

A

wellbore azimuth

Am

wellbore magnetic azimuth

τ

toolface angle

N

north co-ordinate

E

east co-ordinate

V

true vertical depth

δ

magnetic declination

Θ

magnetic dip angle

B

magnetic field strength

G

gravity field strength

X, x, Y, y, Z, z

tool reference directions - see fig. 1.

* adopted by ISCWSA participants as a standard for all technical

correspondence.

SPE 56702

ACCURACY PREDICTION FOR DIRECTIONAL MWD

Special Nomenclature

b

component of wellbore position bias vector

B$

**estimated magnetic field strength
**

wellbore position uncertainty covariance matrix

e

1 s.d. vector error at an intermediate station

e

1 s.d. vector error at the station of interest

E

sum of vector errors from slot to station of interest

ε

particular value of a survey error

H,L

used in calculation of toolface

m

bias vector error at an intermediate station

m

bias vector error at the station of interest

M

wellbore position bias vector

µ

mean of error value

σ

standard deviation of error value, component of wellbore

position uncertainty

p

survey measurement vector (D,I,A)

P,Q,R intermediate calculated quantities

r

wellbore position vector

∆rk

increment in wellbore position between stations k-1 and k

ρ

correlation coefficient

$

estimated magnetic dip angle

Θ

v

along-hole unit vector

w

factor relating error magnitude to uncertainty in measurement

C

**subscripts and counters
**

hla

borehole referenced frame

i

a survey error term

k

a survey station

K

survey station of interest

Kl

number of stations in lth survey leg

l

a survey leg

L

survey leg containing the station of interest

nev

earth-referenced frame

superscripts

dep

at the along-hole depth assigned to the survey station

rand

random propagation mode

svy

at the point where the survey measurements were taken

syst

systematic propagation mode

well

per-well or global propagation mode

References

1. Wolff, C.J.M. and de Wardt, J.P., Borehole Position Uncertainty Analysis of Measuring Methods and Derivation of Systematic Error

Model, JPT pp.2339-2350, Dec. 1981

2. Thorogood, J.L., Instrument Performance Models and their

Application to Directional Survey Operations, SPEDE pp.294-298,

Dec. 1990.

9

**3. Brooks, A.G. and Wilson, H., An Improved Method for Computing
**

Wellbore Position Uncertainty and its Application to Collision and

Target Intersection Probability Analysis, SPE 36863, EUROPEC,

Milan, 22-24 Oct 1996.

4. Dubrule, O., and Nelson, P.H., Evaluation of Directional Survey

Errors at Prudhoe Bay, SPE 15462, 1986 ATCE, New Orleans, Oct

5-8.

5. Minutes of the 7th Meeting of the ISCWSA, Houston, 9 Oct

1997.

6. Grindrod, S.J. and Wolff, J.M., Calculation of NMDC Length

Required for Various Latitudes Developed From Field

Measurements of Drill String Magnetisation, IADC/SPE 11382,

1983 Drilling Conference, Houston.

7. Minutes of the 6th Meeting of the ISCWSA, Vienna, 24-25 Jun

1997.

8. Minutes of the 8th Meeting of the ISCWSA, Trondheim, 19 Feb

1998.

9. Macmillan, S., Firth, M.D., Clarke, E., Clark, T.D.G. and

Barraclough, D.R., “Error estimates for geomagnetic field values

computed from the BGGM”, British Geological Survey Technical

report WM/93/28C, 1993.

10. Ekseth, R, Uncertainties in Connection with the

Determination of Wellbore Positions, ISBN 82-471-0218-8,

ISSN 0802-3271, PhD Thesis no. 1998:24, IPT report 1998:2, The

Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim,

Norway.

Appendix A

Mathematical Description of Propagation

Model

The total position uncertainty at a survey station of interest, K (in

survey leg L) is the sum of the contribution from all the active error

sources. It is convenient computationally to group the error sources by

their propagation type and to sum them separately.

Vector errors at the station of interest. Recall that the vector error

due to the presence of error source i at station k is the sum of the effect

of the error on the preceding and following survey displacements:

d ∆rk d ∆rk +1 ∂p k

ei , l , k = σi , l

+

dp k

d p k ∂εi

…(A-1)

**Evaluating this expression using the minimum curvature well
**

trajectory model is cumbersome. There is no significant loss of accuracy

in using the simpler balanced tangential model:

∆rj =

** sinI j−1 cos Aj−1 + sinI j cos Aj
**

Dj − Dj−1

sinI j−1 sin Aj−1 + sinI j sin A j

2

cosI j−1 + cos I j

…(A-2)

**The two differentials in the parentheses in (A-1) may then be
**

expressed as:

10

d ∆r j

dp k

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

d ∆r j

=

dD k

d ∆r j

and

dDk

d ∆r j

dI k

d ∆r j

dA k

d ∆r j

d∆ r j

dI k

dI k

where j = k , k+1

**− sin I cos A − sin I cos A
**

j −1

j −1

j

j

1

= − sin I j− 1 sin A j −1 − sin I j sin Aj

2

− cos I j −1 − cos I j

(

(

)

)

D −D

j

j− 1 cos I k cos Ak

1

=

D − D j −1 cos I k sin Ak

2 j

− D j − D j −1 sin I k

(

(

)

)

…(A-5)

…(A-6)

**For the purposes of computation, the error summation terminates at
**

the survey station of interest. Vector errors at this station are therefore

given by:

ei , L, K = σi , L

d∆ rK ∂p K

dpK ∂εi

**Undefined weighting functions. For some combinations of weighting
**

function and hole direction, a component of the measurement vector

(usually azimuth) is highly sensitive to changes in hole direction and the

vector ∂p/∂εi is apparently undefined. There are two cases:

Vertical hole. In this case, dr/dp is zero and the vectors ei,l,k and

ei, L, K are still finite and well-defined. They may be computed by

forming the product (A-1) algebraically and evaluating it as a whole.

Take as an example the weighting function for an x-axis radially

symmetric misalignment. Substituting the expression for ∂p/∂εMX (27)

and the well trajectory model equations (A-3 to A-6) into (A-1) and (A7), and setting I equal to zero gives

…(A-8)

sin ( A + τ)

σi ,L ( DK − DK −1 )

− cos( A + τ)

2

0

Cirand

=

,l

Kl

∑ ( ei,l,k ) .( ei ,l ,k )

…(A-10)

T

k =1

L −1

K −1

l=1

k =1

rand

Crand

i , K = ∑ Ci, l + ∑ ( ei , L ,k ) .( ei , L ,k ) + ( ei, L , K ) . ( ei, L, K )

T

…(A-9)

**There are similar expressions for Y-axis axial misalignment and X- and
**

Y-axis accelerometer biases. These are given in Table 3. Equivalent

T

…(A-11)

Systematic errors. The contribution to survey station uncertainty

from a systematically propagating error source i over survey leg l (not

containing the point-of-interest) is:

Kl

Kl

Cisyst

=

e

,l

∑ i ,l ,k . ∑ ei ,l ,k

k =1

k =1

T

…(A-12)

**and the total contribution over all survey legs is:
**

T

K −1

K −1

=∑

+ ∑ ei , L , k + ei , L , K . ∑ ei , L , k + ei , L, K

k =1

k=1

l =1

…(A-13)

Per-Well and Global errors. Each of these error types is systematic

between all stations in a well. The individual vector errors can therefore

be summed to give a total vector error from slot to station

Cisyst

,K

L −1

Csyst

i ,l

L −1 K l

K −1

Ei , K = ∑ ∑ ei ,l , k + ∑ ei , L , k + ei , L , K

k =1

l =1 k =1

and

ei, L ,K =

**Summation of errors. Vector errors are summed into position
**

uncertainty matrices as follows.

Random errors. The contribution to survey station uncertainty from

a randomly propagating error source i over survey leg l (not containing

the station of interest) is:

and the total contribution over all survey legs is:

**affects only the preceding survey displacement. In what follows we
**

reserve the notation ei,l,k for vector errors at intermediate stations, which

affect both the preceding and following displacements.

sin( A + τ)

σi ,l ( Dk +1 − Dk −1 )

− cos( A + τ )

2

0

**Other hole directions. Some error sources really are unbounded in
**

certain hole directions. The examples in this paper are sensor errors after

axial interference correction in a horizontal and magnetic east/west

wellbore - a so-called “90/90” well. In such cases, the assumptions of

linearity break down, and computed position uncertainties are

meaningless. Software implementations should include an error-catching

mechanism for this case.

…(A-7)

The notation ei , L , K indicates that a measurement error at this station

e i,l ,k =

**expressions may be used for evaluating bias vectors in vertical hole, with
**

m i , l ,k , m i , L , K , and µi,l substituted for e i , l ,k , ei , L , K , and σi,l

respectively.

…(A-4)

)

− D − D

j

j −1 sin I k sin Ak

1

=

D − Dj −1 sin I k cos Ak

2 j

0

(

…(A-3)

SPE 56702

…(A-14)

**The total contribution to the uncertainty at survey station K is
**

T

Ciwell

, K = E i, K . E i, K

…(A-15)

Total position covariance. The total position covariance at survey

SPE 56702

ACCURACY PREDICTION FOR DIRECTIONAL MWD

**station K is the sum of the contributions from all the types of error
**

source:

=∑

C svy

K

i∈R

Crand

i, K

+∑

i∈S

Csyst

i, K

∑

+

Cwell

i, K

i∈{ W ,G}

…(A-16)

**where the superscript svy indicates the uncertainty is defined at a
**

survey station.

Survey bias. Error vectors due to bias errors are given by expressions

entirely analogous with (A-1) and (A-7):

d ∆rk d ∆r k +1 ∂p k

m i ,l , k = µi ,l

+

dp k

d p k ∂εi

d ∆r K ∂p K

m i , L ,K = µi , L

d p K ∂εi

…(A-17)

…(A-18)

**The total survey position bias at survey station K, M svy
**

K , is the sum

of individual bias vectors taken over all error sources i, legs l and

stations k:

…(A-19)

**Position uncertainty and bias at an assigned depth
**

Defining the superscript dep to indicate uncertainty at an assigned

depth, it may be shown that:

dep

svy

ei , L , K = ei, L , K −σ i , L wi , L , K v K

dep

…(A-20)

svy

ei ,l , k = ei ,l , k

mi , L, K = mi , L ,K − µi , L wi , L, K v K

dep

svy

…(A-22)

dep

mi ,l ,k

svy

mi ,l ,k

…(A-23)

**Relative uncertainty between wells. When calculating the
**

uncertainty in the relative position between two survey stations

(KA,KB) in wells (A,B), we must take proper account of the correlation

between globally systematic errors. The uncertainty is given by:

[

Csvy rK A − rK B

[

M svy rK A − rKB

]

(

)(

svy

svy

= C K A + C KB − ∑ Ei , K A . Ei , KB

i ∈G

) + ( E ).(E )

T

…(A-24)

T

i , KB

]

svy

svy

= M K A − M KB

…(A-25)

**Substitution of equations (A-20) to (A-23) into these expressions
**

gives the equivalent results at the along-hole depths assigned to the

stations.

Transformation into Borehole Reference Frame. The results

derived above are in an Earth-referenced frame (North, East, Vertical subscript nev). The transformation of the covariance matrices and bias

vectors into the more intuitive borehole referenced frame (Highside,

Lateral, Along-hole - subscript hla) is straightforward:

C hla = T T C nev T

…(A-26)

b H

T

b L = M hla = T M nev

b A

cos I K cos AK

T = cos I K sin AK

− sin I K

…(A-27)

i, K A

− sin AK

cos AK

0

sin I K cos AK

sin I K sin AK

cos I K

…(A-28)

**is a transformation matrix. Uncertainties and correlations in the principal
**

borehole directions are obtained from:

[ ]

etc.

…(A-29)

[ ]

etc.

…(A-30)

σ H = Chla 1 , 1

…(A-21)

**where wi,L,K is the factor relating error magnitude to measurement
**

uncertainty and vK is the along-hole unit vector at station K. Figs. 6, 7

illustrate these results. Substituting these expressions into (A-12 to A16) yields the position uncertainty at the along-hole depth assigned to

each survey station.

Survey bias at an assigned depth is calculated by substituting the

following error vectors into (A-19):

=

The relative survey bias is simply:

where

L −1 Kl

K −1

= ∑ ∑ ∑ m i ,l ,k + ∑ m i , L ,k + m i , L , K

k =1

i l=1 k =1

svy

MK

11

ρHA =

C hla 1 , 2

σHσL

Appendix B

Calculation of Toolface Angle

The following formulae may be used to calculate a synthetic toolface

angle from successive surveys:

H K = sin I K cos I K −1 cos( A K − AK −1 ) − sin I K −1 cos I K

…(B-1)

LK = sin I K sin( A K − AK −1 )

…(B-2)

If HK > 0,

τK = tan-1(LK/HK)

…(B-3)

If HK < 0,

τK = tan (LK/HK) + 180°

…(B-4)

-1

If HK = 0, τ K = 270°, 0° or 90° as LK < 0, LK = 0 or LK > 0...(B-5)

12

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

SPE 56702

**Table 1—Summary of Basic MWD Error Models
**

Weighting

Function

Sensors

ABX

ABY

ABZ

ASX

ASY

ASZ

MBX

MBY

MBZ

MSX

MSY

MSZ

ABIX

ABIY

ABIZ

ASIX

ASIY

ASIZ

MBIX

MBIY

MSIX

MSIY

Basic

model

with axial

correction

Prop.

Mode

0.0004 g

0.0004 g

0.0004 g

0.0005

0.0005

0.0005

70 nT

70 nT

0.0016

0.0016

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

0.0004 g

0.0004 g

0.0004 g

0.0005

0.0005

0.0005

70 nT

70 nT

70 nT

0.0016

0.0016

0.0016

Weight.

Func.

Basic model

with axial

correction

Prop.

Mode

0.2°

0.06°

0.06°

S

S

S

Misalignment

SAG

0.2°

MX

0.06°

MY

0.06°

Axial magnetic interference

AZ

0.25°

AMID

0.6°

Declination

AZ

0.36°

DBH

5000°nT

S

S or B*

0.36°

5000°nT

G

G

**Total magnetic field and dip angle
**

MDI

0.20°

MFI

130 nT

Along-hole depth

DREF

0.35 m

DSF

2.4 × 10-4

DST

2.2 × 10-7 m-1

0.35 m

2.4 × 10-4

2.2 × 10-7 m-1

G

G

R

S

G or B†

*** when modelled as bias: µ = 0.33°, σ = 0.5°
**

† when modelled as bias: µ = 4.4 × 10-7 m -1, σ = 0

**Table 2—Error Source Weighting Functions not Given in the Text
**

Sensor Errors (without axial interference correction)

ABX

0

1

−

cos

I

sin

τ

G

cos I sin A sin τ − cos A cos τ tanΘ + cot I cosτ

m

m

(

ABY

0

1

− cos I cos τ

G

cos I sin A cos τ + cos A sin τ tanΘ − cot I sin τ

m

m

MBY

AB

Z

MSX

0

MSY

0

− (cos A sin τ + cos I sin A cos τ ) / ( B cos Θ )

m

m

0

1

−

sin

I

G

tanΘ sin I sin Am

ASY

ASZ

0

−

sin

I

cos

I

tan Θ sin I cos I sin Am

(

)

)

0

2

sin I cos I cos τ

− tan Θ sin I cos I sin A cosτ + cos A sin τ − cos I sin τ cosτ

m

m

(

)

0

0

(cos A cos τ − cos I sin A sin τ ) / ( B cos Θ)

m

m

0

2

sin

I

cos

I

sin

τ

− tanΘ sin I cos I sin A sin τ − cos A cosτ + cos I cosτ sin τ

m

m

(

)

(

MBX

ASX

(

)

)

0

0

cos I cos A sin τ − tan Θ sin I sin τ + sin A cos τ cos A cos τ − cos I sin A sin τ

m

m

m

m

(

)(

)

0

0

− cos I cos A cosτ − tan Θ sin I cos τ − sin A sin τ cos A sin τ + cos I sin A cosτ

m

m

m

m

(

MBZ

)(

0

0

− sin I sin Am / ( B cos Θ)

MSZ

)

0

0

− (sin I cos Am + tan Θ cos I ) sin I sin Am

SPE 56702

ACCURACY PREDICTION FOR DIRECTIONAL MWD

13

Table 2—Cont.

Sensor Errors (with axial interference correction)

0

1

−

cos

I sin τ

G

2

cos I sin Am sin τ tan Θ cos I + sin I cos Am − cos τ tan Θ cos Am − cot I

0

1

− cos I cos τ

G

2

cos I sin Am cosτ tan Θ cos I + sin I cos Am + sin τ tan Θ cos Am − cot I

ABIX

ABIY

2

2

/ 1 − sin I sin Am

2

2

/ 1 − sin I sin Am

(

(

)

(

)) (

)

(

(

)

(

)) (

)

0

2

sin I cos I sin τ

− sin τ sin I cos2 I sin A sin τ tanΘ cos I + sin I cos A − cosτ tan Θ sin I cos A − cos I / 1 − sin 2 I sin 2 A

m

m

m

m

0

2

sin

I

cos

I

cos

τ

− cos τ sin I cos 2 I sin A cos τ( tanΘ cos I + sin I cos A ) + sin τ( tanΘ sin I cos A − cos I ) / (1 − sin 2 I sin 2 A )

m

m

m

m

0

0

− cos I cos A sin τ − tanΘ sin I sin τ + sin A cos τ cos I sin A sin τ − cos A cos τ / 1 − sin 2 I sin 2 A

m

m

m

m

m

ASIX

(

ASIY

(

)

)) (

(

(

MSIX

)

(

MSIY

MBIX

MBIY

)

)(

) (

)

0

0

2

2

− (cos I cos Am cos τ − tanΘ sin I cosτ − sin Am sin τ)(cos I sin Am cos τ + cos Am sin τ) / (1 − sin I sin Am )

0

0

1

ABIZ

0

−

sin

I

G

− ( cos I sin A sin τ − cos A cos τ) / B cos Θ(1 − sin 2 I sin 2 A )

2

2

m

m

m

sin I cos I sin Am ( tanΘ cos I + sin I cos Am ) / (1 − sin I sin Am )

0

0

ASIZ

0

− sin I cos I

− ( cos I sin A cos τ + cos A sin τ) / B cos Θ(1 − sin 2 I sin 2 A )

sin I cos2 I sin A tan Θ cos I + sin I cos A / 1 − sin2 I sin2 A

m

m

m

m

m

m

(

)

(

(

)

(

)

)) (

(

**Magnetic Field Errors (with axial interference correction)
**

MFI

0

0

− sin I sin A ( tan Θ cos I + sin I cos A ) / B(1 − sin 2 I sin 2 A )

m

m

m

(

MDI

)

0

0

− sin I sin Am( cosI − tan Θsin I cos Am ) / (1− sin2 I sin2 Am)

**Table 3—Error Vectors in Vertical Hole where Weighting Function is Singular
**

Sensor Errors (with or without axial interference correction)

ABX

or

ABIX

ei ,l, k =

(

)

(

)

σi ,l Dk+1 − Dk −1 − sin A + τ

(

)

cos

A

+

τ

2G

0

ABY

or

ABIY

ei ,l , k =

(

)

σi ,l D k +1 − D k −1 − cos( A + τ )

−

sin

(

A

+

τ

)

2G

0

Misalignment Errors

MX

e i,l ,k =

sin( A + τ)

σi ,l ( Dk +1 − Dk −1 )

− cos( A + τ )

2

0

MY

ei ,l ,k =

cos( A + τ)

σi ,l ( Dk +1 − Dk − 1)

sin ( A + τ)

2

0

)

14

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

SPE 56702

**Table 4—Standard Well Profiles
**

ISCWSA #1 - North Sea Extended Reach Well

Lat. 60°N, Long. 2°E, Total Field, 50,000 nT, Dip 72°, Declination

4°W, Station interval 30m, VS Azimuth 75°

**ISCWSA #2 - Gulf of Mexico Fish Hook Well
**

Lat. 28°N, Long. 90°W, Total Field 48,000nT, Dip 58°, Declination

2°E, Station interval 100ft, VS Azimuth 21°

MD

m

0.00

1200.00

2100.00

5100.00

5400.00

8000.00

MD

ft

Inc

deg

0.000

0.000

60.000

60.000

90.000

90.000

Azi

North

deg

m

0.000

0.00

0.000

0.00

75.000 111.22

75.000 783.65

75.000 857.80

75.000 1530.73

East

m

0.00

0.00

415.08

2924.62

3201.34

5712.75

TVD

m

0.00

1200.00

1944.29

3444.29

3521.06

3521.06

VS

m

0.00

0.00

429.72

3027.79

3314.27

5914.27

DLS

°/30m

0.00

0.00

2.00

0.00

3.00

0.00

Inc

deg

0.00 0.000

2000.00 0.000

3600.00 32.000

5000.00 32.000

5525.54 32.000

6051.08 32.000

6576.62 32.000

7102.16 32.000

9398.50 60.000

12500.00 60.000

Azi

North

East

TVD

VS

DLS

deg

ft

ft

ft

ft

°/100ft

0.000

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00 0.00

0.000

0.00

0.00 2000.00

0.00 0.00

2.000 435.04

15.19 3518.11

411.59 2.00

2.000 1176.48

41.08 4705.37 1113.06 0.00

32.000 1435.37 120.23 5253.89 1383.12 3.00

62.000 1619.99 318.22 5602.41 1626.43 3.00

92.000 1680.89 582.00 6050.92 1777.82 3.00

122.000 1601.74 840.88 6499.44 1796.70 3.00

220.000 364.88 700.36 8265.27

591.63 3.00

220.000-1692.70 -1026.15 9816.02 -1948.01 0.00

**ISCWSA #3 - Bass Strait Designer Well
**

Lat. 40°S, Long. 147°E, Total Field 61,000nT, Dip -70°, Declination 13°E, Station interval 30m, VS Azimuth 310°

MD

m

Inc

Azi

North

East

TVD

VS

DLS

deg

deg

m

m

m

m

°/30m

0.00 0.000 0.000

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00 0.00

500.00 0.000 0.000

0.00

0.00 500.00

0.00 0.00

1100.00 50.000 0.000 245.60

0.00 1026.69

198.70 2.50

1700.00 50.000 0.000 705.23

0.00 1412.37

570.54 0.00

2450.00 0.000 0.000 1012.23

0.00 2070.73

818.91 2.00

MD

Inc

Azi

North

m

deg

deg

m

2850.00 0.000 0.000 1012.23

3030.00 90.000 283.0001038.01

3430.00 90.000283.000 1127.99

3730.00 110.000193.000 996.08

4030.00 110.000193.000 721.40

East

m

0.00

-111.65

-501.40

-727.87

-791.28

TVD

VS

DLS

m

m

°/30m

2470.73

818.91 0.00

2585.32

905.39 15.00

2585.32 1207.28 0.00

2520.00 1197.85 9.00

2417.40 1069.86 0.00

**Table 5—Calculated Position Uncertainties (at 1 standard deviation)
**

• uncertainty at tie-line (MD=0) is zero • stations interpolated at whole multiples of station interval using minimum curvature

• instrument toolface = borehole toolface

uncertainties along

borehole axes

No.

Well

1

2

3

4

5

6

#1

#1

#2

#2

#2

#2

7

#3

Depth interval(s)

Model Option

0 m - 8000 m

0 m - 8000 m

0 ft - 12500 ft

0 ft - 12500 ft

0 ft - 12500 ft

0 ft - 12500 ft

(1)

0 m - 1380 m

(2) 1410 m - 3000 m

(3) 3030 m - 4030 m

basic

ax-int

basic

basic

basic

basic

basic

ax-int

basic

**Key to error models:
**

Key to calculation options:

basic

ax-int

S, sym

S, bias

D, sym

D, bias

S, sym

S, sym

S, sym

D, sym

S, bias

D, bias

S, sym

S, sym

S, sym

σH

σL

σA

20.11 m

84.33 m 8.62 m

20.11 m 196.41 m 8.62 m

16.17 ft

29.66 ft 10.12 ft

16.17 ft

29.66 ft 9.16 ft

15.69 ft

27.41 ft 8.61 ft

15.69 ft

27.41 ft 8.50 ft

5.64 m

5.76 m

9.59 m

correlations between

borehole axes

ρHL

ρHA

ρLA

-0.015

-0.006

+0.032

+0.032

+0.052

+0.052

+0.676

+0.676

-0.609

-0.426

-0.602

-0.569

-0.003

+0.004

+0.060

+0.084

+0.157

+0.160

-0.186

-0.588

+0.297

**survey bias along
**

borehole axes

bH

bL

-6.79 ft -12.41ft

-6.79 ft -12.41ft

bA

+11.70 ft

-4.76 ft

Basic MWD

Basic MWD with axial interference correction

Uncertainty at survey station, all errors symmetric (ie. no bias)

Uncertainty at survey station, selected errors modelled as biases (see table 1)

Uncertainty at assigned depth, all errors symmetric (ie. no bias)

Uncertainty at assigned depth, selected errors modelled as biases (see table 1)

ACCURACY PREDICTION FOR DIRECTIONAL MWD

15

Vertical Section

X-axis

-1000m

HighSide

τ

Y-axis

2000m

True Vertical Depth

SPE 56702

4000m

6000m

2000m

ISCWSA#3

VS Azi = 310o

ISCWSA#2

ISCWSA#1

VS Azi = 75 o

VS Azi = 21 o

4000m

τ

**Fig.3 Vertical section plot of standard well profiles. Note
**

different section azimuths.

Z-axis

= toolface angle

(down hole)

Example 1 : Basic MWD

Example 2 : MWD with axial interference

correction

**Fig.1 Definition of tool sensor axes and toolface angle
**

200

1500m

North

ISCWSA#3

6

1500m

160

1000m

“corrected” model

deteriorates rapidly

near “90/90”

“corrected” model is

marginally more

accurate at low

inclination

6000m

ISCWSA#1

1000m

-1000m

East

ISCWSA#2

1000m

1 s.d. Lateral Uncertainty (m)

4

5500m

120

80

2

1200

1500

1800

2100

-1000m

Fig.2 Plan view of standard well profiles

40

inset

0

2000

4000

6000

Measured Depth (m)

8000

**Fig.4 Comparison of basic and interference corrected MWD
**

error models in well ISCWSA#1

16

HUGH S. WILLIAMSON

SPE 56702

**Example 4 : Ellipsoid semi-major axis
**

Example 4 : Lateral uncertainty

Recorded (and calculated)

survey station position

40

**True position where
**

tool came to rest

1 s.d. Uncertainty (ft)

**True well position at depth
**

assigned tosurvey station

**ellipsoid semi-major axis
**

reduces as well returns

below surface location

30

**Calculated well path
**

True well path

**lateral uncertainty and
**

ellipsoid semi-major

axis are equal while

azimuth is constant

20

10

at mid-turn, lateral

direction co-incides

with ellipsoid minor axis

0

0

4000

8000

12000

Measured Depth (ft)

Fig.5 Variation of lateral uncertainty and ellipsoid semimajor axis in a fish-hook well - ISCWSA#2

**Recorded (and calculated)
**

survey station position

True position where

tool came to rest

True well position at depth

assigned to survey station

Calculated well path

True well path

depth error at

earlier station

=

**(2) vector errors for last survey
**

station and last assigned depth

due to depth error at earlier station

must therefore be the same:

e dep

= esvy

k

k

σ i wi , k

**(1) with no depth error at last station,
**

true positions at survey station and

at its assigned depth coincide

**Fig.7 Vector errors at the last station (point of
**

interest) due to an along-hole depth error at a

previous station.

**vector error at last
**

assigned depth due to

depth error at last station

dep

svy

= eK = eK − σi wi, K v K

**vector error at last
**

station due to depth

error at last station

=

e Ksvy

depth error at

last station

=

σi wi, K

**Fig.6 Vector errors at the last station (point of interest) due
**

to an along-hole depth error at the last station.

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