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Directional Drilling

- Acknowledgement
- History
- Present Day Applications
- Hardware
- Measurement Sensors
- Error sources and Equipment Limitations
- Mathematics
- Legislation

Acknowledgement
This presentation has been inspired by many of the
items discussed in the publication at left.
It can be downloaded at:
http://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/researchenterprise/energy/wellbore-positioning-download
Additional material has been obtained from
publications of;
APSG, OGP, EPSG, C-NLOPB and others

History

Rotary drilling techniques were developed in early 20th century.


Deviated wellbores were usually drilled unintentionally.

Early drilling for oil and gas was almost always performed by drilling
vertical wells, usually considered to be within 2-3 of plumb.

Wellbores could naturally deviate from the vertical when certain


forces were applied and/or geological conditions existed.

Until the 1970s downhole surveys were primarily used to monitor


lateral deviations of a wellbore and take preventive measures to
maintain its verticality should it start to drift off to one side.

Deliberately causing a wellbore to deviate from the vertical was


known as whipstocking and considered illegal.

In 1930, California driller John Eastman was granted a patent for his
techniques of conducting downhole surveys and intentionally
deviating a wellbore.

Founded the Eastman Oil Well Survey Company.

He achieved fame and credibility in 1934 by drilling a directional


relief well to intercept and extinguish another that was burning
near Conroe, Texas.

Similar research by Sperry, a gyrocompass manufacturer, and Sun


Oil Company lead to Sperry-Sun Drilling Services.

Both Eastman and Sperry names live on as directional drilling


subdivisions of major Oil industry service companies.

In 1964 there was a test in Utah running competing survey tools


inside an aluminium irrigation pipe installed on a mountain side.
This proved the validity of such equipment and several lawsuits
were settled as a result.

Present Day Applications

Large numbers of present day production and development wells are


deviated.

Environmental and economic benefits.

Allows for enhanced recovery techniques

Reuse old wellbores

Drill a relief well as required by regulations

Sidetrack around broken pipe and fish

Hardware

Measurement Sensors

Retrievable Magnetic
Compass Survey
Equipment

Equipment Limitations
and Error Sources
Measurements are limited to:
Gyroscopes
Magnetometers
Accelerometers

All components have to be small to fit inside wellbore


Magnetometers cannot be used inside cased hole
From a surveyors point of view, directional surveys are
unclosed traverses and thus will always be suspect.
Despite this, most errors are in the blunder category

Alternative methods of wellbore steering.

Gamma ray sensor


installed behind bit to
identify rock formations

MWD probe tracks nearby


induced magnetic field

Mud Pulsing Data Transmission

$$$$$$$$$$$$
$$$

Electromagnetic Data Transmission

Getting the data back can be problematic.


Mud Pulse Telemetry
Low data rate
Cannot be used in underbalanced drilling programs
Electromagnetic Telemetry
Depth limitations
Need to isolate components
Retrievable Tools
Low data rate
Time consuming
Small diameter components
Wired Tools
Connectivity problems
Wire damage potential
Wired Drill Pipe
High capital cost
A work in progress

Mathematics

Example - Wellbore Survey Calculations


The table below gives data from a directional survey.
Survey Point

A
B
C
D

Measured Depth Inclination


along the wellbore
Angle
ft
I, deg
3,000
3,200
3,600
4,000

0
6
14
24

Azimuth
Angle
A, deg
20
6
20
80

Based on known coordinates for point C well calculate


the coordinates of point D using the above information.

Point C has coordinates:


x = 1,000 (ft) positive towards the east
y = 1,000 (ft) positive towards the north
z = 3,500 (ft) TVD, positive downwards
C

N (y)

N
Dz

Z
D

D
Dy
E (x)

Dx

I. Calculate the x, y, and z coordinates


of points D using:
(i) The Average Angle method
(ii) The Balanced Tangential method
(iii) The Minimum Curvature method
(iv) The Radius of Curvature method
(v) The Tangential method

Summary of Results (to the nearest ft)

Average Angle
Balanced Tangential
Minimum Curvature
Radius of Curvature
Tangential Method

1,100
1,097
1,098
1,095
1,160

1,084
1,060
1,060
1,080
1,028

3,878
3,877
3,881
3,878
3,865

Even the most elaborate of


these five calculations can be
written onto an MS Excel
spreadsheet

Do try to maintain standards for data exchange as described in:


http://www.epsg.org/exchange/p7.pdf

Legislation
Surface Location
Canada Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Regulations - Section 74
Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations (Alberta) Section 2.020
Both require a licenced surveyor to certify plan
Directional Surveys
Canada Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Regulations - Section 32
The operator shall ensure that:
(a) directional and deviation surveys are taken at intervals that allow the position
of the well-bore to be determined accurately; and
(b) except in the case of a relief well, a well is drilled in a manner that does not
intersect an existing well.

Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations (Alberta) Section 6.030


(1) Unless the Board otherwise directs in writing, the licensee of a well
shall make or cause to be made during drilling, tests, at depth intervals
not exceeding 150 metres, for the purpose of ascertaining to what
extent the well deviates from the vertical.
(2) Repealed AR 36/2002 s6.
(3) The licensee shall, immediately upon the making of a directional
survey, send to the Board the report of the survey
(4) The Board may order the licensee to make such further deviation or
directional surveys as it deems necessary, and may give directions as to
the manner in which such tests or surveys shall be made.
Summary
Neither jurisdiction requires directional survey data to be tied to
surface location.
No certification requirement for directional survey.

Nevertheless; directional surveys may be related to legal boundaries!

Legal Cases
East Texas Scandal 1962
Several land owners believed that deviated wells had been drilled beneath
their properties from adjacent lands.
Surveys were ordered and over 380 wells were found to be deviated across
land boundaries.
The validity of surveying equipment used was upheld after the Utah tests in
1964.
Bocardo SA v Star Energy UK Onshore et al 2009
Land owner, Mr. Al Fayed, alleged that 17 years earlier Star had drilled a
deviated well underneath his property to extract oil and gas.
Star denied the theft in initial negotiations but admitted it in court several
years later.
Judgement for trespass in Bocardos favour ; awarded 9% of income over a
limited period of time.

Related Interests