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Implementing the Minimum Curvature Method

for Deviated Well Geometry Surveys in CE7

Kevin Gerlitz, 2004
The Problem
HRS uses the Tangential Method of applying dip and azimuth angles in deviated geometry surveys.
While this is a valid method, it is also a simplistic method that assumes straight-line segments with
constant angles along the well trajectory. Realistically, well paths are curved as the target well-bore
trajectory is built up. The method of applying a minimum curvature to the well path takes into account
the gradation of the angles in three dimensions along the well-bore trajectory and, hence, is a better
The Solution
This PPT illustrates a method of creating the well path using the minimum-curvature method. By using
the Log Maths functionality in eLog, minimum curvature-equivalence angles can be derived from the
recorded dip-azimuth deviation survey. Exporting these new deviation logs to a file and then importing
the logs as the new deviated geometry will produce the same well-bore trajectory as a minimum
curvature approach.
Description of Methods
The Tangential Method
The Tangential Method uses simple trigonometry to derive
the displacements and assumes that the dip angle is held
constant over the section:
TVD = MD cos I1
N = MD sin I1 cos A1
E = MD sin I1 sin A1

The Minimum Curvature Method

The Minimum Curvature Method effectively fits a spherical
arc between points by calculating the dog-leg (DL)
curvature from the 3D vectors and scaling by a Ratio Factor
DL = acos( cos(I2 I1) sinI1 sinI2 ( 11-cos(A
A1) ) )
RF = 2 tan( DL / 2) / DL
TVD = MD ( cos I1 + cos I2 ) RF
N = MD ( sin I1 cos A1 + sin I2 cos A2 ) RF
E = MD (sin I1 sin A1 + sin I2 sin A2 ) RF
Creating the Minimum Curvature Equivalence Angles

Given the equations for the two different methods for the calculating the TVD, we see that simply
converting the dip angle, I, to the scaled and averaged angle (a minimum curvature equivalence
angle as I call it) , , is a simple substitution:
TVD = MD cos = MD ( cos I1 + cos I2 ) RF
cos = ( cos I1 + cos I2 ) RF
= acos(( ( cos I1 + cos I2 ) RF )
For the horizontal displacements, the equations are non-linear and we have to make an
approximation. Since we have already found the substitution of incorporates the term of RF,
we can approximate the minimum curvature equivalence azimuth angle, , as a simple linear
N = MD sin cos = MD ( sin I1 cos A1 + sin I2 cos A2 ) RF
E = MD sin sin = MD ( sin I1 sin A1 + sin I2 sin A2 ) RF
sin ~ ( sin A1 + sin A2 )
~ ( A 1 + A2 )
Other Methods
The Balanced Tangential Method
TVD = MD ( cos I1 + cos I2 )
N = MD ( sin I1 cos A1 + sin I2 cos A2 )
E = MD ( sin I1 sin A1 + sin I2 sin A2 )

The Average Angle Method

TVD = MD cos ( I1 + I2 )
N = MD sin (I1 + I2 ) cos ( A1 + A2 )
E = MD sin (I1 + I2 ) sin (A1 + A2)

The Radius
i off Curvature
C Method
Rv = 180 MD / ( (I2 - I1 ) )
TVD = Rv ( sin I2 sin I1 )
H = Rv ( cos I1 cos I2 )
Rh = 180 MD / ( ( A2 - A1 ) )
N = Rh ( sin A2 sin A1 )
E = Rh ( sin A1 sin A2 )
Implementing the Minimum Curvature Method in HRS
In order to implement the minimum curvature method, you need a well with some logs in your Geoview
You then need to read in your deviation survey as a set of logs.
! Do not read this in as Deviated Geometry file.
Fill in the file reading parameters correctly for your ASCII file
When you set the log types, do not set them to Dip and Azimuth since this will automatically create and
apply the deviated geometry. Instead, provide a customized log type name such as Inclination and
Direction (just type it in) and set the log amplitude units to degrees.
Here is the result of reading in the Dip and Azimuth logs.
In the Well Explorer page, you can edit the names of the logs. To make things easier in the process,
edit the log names to Az (for the Azimuth log) and Inc (for the Deviation log). Do not forget to click
on the Update button to save these edits.

Edit these log names now

Open an eLog project and select the Log Maths option
Choose your input wells and output wells.

First, well correct the dip angle. Select both the

Inc and Az logs for the calculation. Choose the
Inclination log type as your output log.
It is important to Use the original domain values and do not resample at this point.
This process will create an output log called Inclination_math

Make sure the variable names are correct,

i.e., Inc and Az if not, edit them here. Or
youll have to debug the script yourself
Heres the script for calculating the
new dip angle. Save the embedded
file below to your system and load it
into the Log Maths script loading
page. Its an ASCII text file so you
may want to open it in Notepad or a
simple text editor if you want to
look at it.

Heres a graphic of the
full script, if you care to
readd iit.
Here is the new Inclination log in blue overlaid on the original log in red. There should be only subtle
Now apply the Log Maths function again to correct the Azimuth. You will need both the Inc and the Az
logs. Use the original Inclination log not the newly created one. Make sure that your log type is set to
the Direction log type.
Again, it is important to Use the original domain values and do not resample.
Heres the embedded log maths
script for the azimuth angle
correction. Save it to your disk
and load it as with the previous

PRS File
This is what the script for the azimuth angle correction looks like.
You should now have two new curves to compare with the original dip and azimuth logs.
Now we need to resample the new logs to a finer sample rate. We can use Log Maths to accomplish this.
We need to do this one log at a time. Make sure you select the new logs
Rather than cluttering the well database with multiple logs, select the original log name in order to
overwrite it
The most important part in this process is to select to Resample domain values at a finer uniform
sample rate
In this case, the script is easy. We just need the output to be the same as the input. Because we selected
the resampling option on the previous page, the only difference will be the sample interval.
Do the same process for the new azimuth angle log.
Exportt the
E th newly
l resampled
l d andd corrected
t d dip
di andd azimuth
i th logs
to a file.
In the Well Explorer window, import the file as a Deviated Geometry file
Make sure you read it in correctly by filling in the parameters appropriately
You can check the process by displaying both the TVD and the MD simultaneously along the vertical
Or in the Table View of the Well Explorer window by selecting the Show both MD and TVD