ROGTEC Magazine - Russian Oil & Gas Technologies - News, Reviews & Articles

ROGTEC Magazine - Russian Oil & Gas Technologies - News, Reviews & Articles

RPI: Horizontal Drilling in Russia

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

RPI Horizontal drilling russia

Horizontal drilling increased by 80% in both KMAD and East Siberia between 2007-2012. The contribution to incremental drilling was roughly the same in both regions.

As a result, horizontal drilling is rising at a steady pace in Russia due to both the development of new fields in greenfield oil producing regions and the development of tight reserves in KMAD.

The authors predict the following change in this trend between now and 2020:
»     The contribution of East Siberia to incremental horizontal drilling will drop to 17% due to the completion of drilling operations under large projects in this new region;
»     Conversely, the contribution of brownfield projects will rise by 75% due to the need to tap tight reserves in these regions in order to maintain production levels.

Thus, the focus is shifting back to mature oil production regions such as West Siberia and the Volga-Urals.
Gradual deterioration of operating conditions, which includes large scope for horizontal drilling, is forcing E&P companies to reconsider their approach to purchasing oilfield services. An increasingly larger number of oil and gas companies are attempting to operate under Western-style contracts under the terms of which the oil and gas company is liable for well planning and risks, whereas the drilling contractor provides the equipment and commissions the well. Such agreements allow companies to cut costs by reallocating risks and having oilfield services performed on a separate basis.

However, such an approach toward service provisioning requires operating companies to have strong technical and project groups to approve the well design. Some vertically integrated oil companies even have their own research and design institutes for this reason, such as KogalymNIPIneft, which is part of LUKOIL-Engineering.

The rise in demand for drilling deep and horizontal wells is forcing drilling service companies to refurbish their fleets using heavy advanced rigs, with a lifting capacity of over 300 tons. Thus, Eurasia Drilling Company, Russia’s leader by volumes of horizontal drilling, purchased 19 new drilling rigs with lifting capacity of 320 tons or more, with most of these rigs to be used for drilling cluster horizontal wells and extended reach wells from ready-to-use platforms. In addition, most service companies are in the process of upgrading their existing drilling rigs and equipping them to perform additional functions. The purpose of this is to make them capable of drilling more complex wells, including 4-stage fluid processing systems, top drives (or power swivels) and triplex slurry pumps with variable frequency drive.

Thus, the rise in tight reserve production is forcing E&P companies to rethink their approaches to field development and service procurement. Service companies, in turn, are being forced to adapt to shifting market demands by upgrading their rig fleets. One of the key factors driving this trend is increasing demand for horizontal drilling on the oilfield services market, both in brownfield areas (West Siberia, Volga-Urals) and new areas (YNAD, Timan Pechora, East Siberia).

The number of sidetracking operations has climbed by more than 2.7-fold in Russia since 2005. Such impressive growth is due to the aspiration of E&P companies to maximize production at times when oil prices are high by reducing the idle well stock and ramping up flow rates in the producing well stock. Sidetracking has proven effective when demothballed wells are connected to new reservoirs used to develop old wells.

Strong demand for sidetracking has caused prices for this service to balloon by an average 10% per year over the past five years. And even though large volumes of these operations have already been performed, the outlook for this type of service still remains highly promising in Russia. As of year-end 2012, the idle well stock numbered 17,754 wells, down from 18,224 in 2011. Moreover, the share of the whole producing well stock stood at 10.9%, down 0.5% compared to 2011.

The following Western players account for the largest volumes on the open market: Weatherford, C.A.T.Oil AG, SGK (Schlumberger).

The number of sidetracking jobs with horizontal sections is growing at the same pace as the overall sidetracking market. If in 2005 there were 444 sidetracks with a horizontal section, this number rose to 975 in 2011 and 1,200 in 2012.

With the advent of logging while drilling (LWD) technology, the construction of sidetracked wells with a horizontal section became even more effective, as the maximum coverage of sidetracking increased by an average of over 10% for the industry as a whole compared to 2009.

In 2009 the number of measurement while drilling (MWD) operations increased by 8.1% compared to 2008, mainly due to a slump in investment activity on the part of oil companies.

In 2010-2012 the number of operations rose by 29% compared to 2009, while 70% of this increment was attributable to a recovery in drilling volumes in the wake of the economic downturn.

The larger number of MWD operations in 2011-2012 was due to:
»     A rise in drilling volumes (including the scope of horizontal drilling)
»     A higher number of sidetracking operations in wells

West Siberia and the Volga-Urals accounted for about 94-96% of MWD operations in 2010-2012. The large share of MWD jobs performed in West Siberia and the Volga-Urals was due to the fact that they are the country’s core production areas.

In 2012 the largest number of MWD operations in Russia was performed by Surgutneftegaz (25% of the country’s total), which held leadership among all oil companies in terms of drilling volumes.

However, the share of these operations dropped from 29% to 25% in 2011-2012. The reason for this was a decrease in the company’s production drilling, which peaked at the time when large wells were drilled in East Siberia.

Bashneft saw its share of MWD operations fall from 2% to 1%, as the company had to partially offset the decline in production drilling by using various well stimulation and EOR methods in an effort to maintain output levels.

LUKOIL and Slavneft increased their shares of MWD operations, since these companies used drilling to prevent a decline in their annual production.

TNK-BP reduced its share of these operations to 12% due to a sharp decline in drilling volumes. In all likelihood, the company had begun its pre-sale preparations during 2012, as a result of which it targeted cost-cutting on drilling and well workovers and a larger scope of hydraulic fracturing operations. Such an approach usually means that a company is temporarily attempting to ramp up its production and market cap.

The share of MWD operations remained roughly the same as at other companies in 2011.

According to expert appraisals, the vast majority of MWD operations (90-92%) carried out in 2012 used a fluid passage. No cases involving a wireline cable were noted.

In the pre-crisis period, in 2004-2008, the number of LWD operations rose by 70%. The main growth driver during that time was an increase in the number of sidetracking jobs. In crisis-ridden 2009 the number of operations fell by 13.7% compared to 2008.

During 2010-2012 the number of operations climbed 70% compared to 2009.

This growth, aside from a higher number of sidetracking operations, was due to greater interest by domestic companies in horizontal drilling. In turn, this interest was the result of improvements in logging techniques during drilling in 2007-2012.

The largest number of LWD operations (91-94% of the total for Russia) in 2010-2012 were performed in West Siberia and Volga-Urals, which showed the largest share of wells drilled and sidetracking jobs performed in the country.

The type of logging most in demand in Russia in 2012 was gamma logging (57% of all operations, followed by resistivity logging (about 42%). The proportion of nuclear logging did not exceed 1% in 2011. However, experts surveyed by RPI in 2012 noted a sharp rise in the share of nuclear logging, which accounted for about 3-5% of all LWD operations in the country.

A specific feature of LWD in West Siberia is that gamma logging in this region is nearly always used in tandem with resistivity logging, since local E&P companies believe that the combination of these methods makes it possible to obtain more reliable measurement results.

Conversely, subsoil users in the Volga-Urals, especially in the Orenburg and Samara regions, frequently prefer to limit themselves to gamma logging, citing the need for cost-cutting.


Completion systems for horizontal wells drilled during multi-stage hydraulic fracturing
Russian vertically integrated oil companies started using multi-stage hydraulic fracturing quite recently in East and West Siberia in horizontal wells, drawing on North-American experience. This technology has proven to be highly effective in the United States and Canada when drilling for shale oil and gas, whereas in Russia this technology is used mainly in low-permeability reservoirs. Pilot projects, involving use of this technology to develop reserves of the Bazhenovskaya Suite in West Siberia, were also conducted.

In order to carry out multi-stage hydraulic fracturing operations it is necessary to deploy the so-called special bottom-hole assembly (BHA), through which logging tools pass on their way to the required areas.

The outlook for multi-stage hydraulic fracturing is strong on the Russian market due to the rising proportion of oil extracted from low-permeability reservoirs where drilling simple wells with single-stage hydraulic fracturing is becoming increasingly less profitable.

Over 200 well operations were carried out for the industry as a whole in 2012.

Schlumberger Releases New High-Definition Imaging-While-Drilling Service

Monday, September 30th, 2013

MicroScope HD service provides detailed logging-while-drilling images for reservoir description and completions optimization

Schlumberger announced today the release of the MicroScope* HD high-definition imaging-while-drilling service. The MicroScope HD service provides unmatched logging-while-drilling (LWD) imaging for reservoir description to enable detailed fracture characterization and completion optimization in conductive drilling fluids for all well types, including horizontal and highly deviated wells.

“In unconventional and carbonate reservoirs it is critical for geologists to fully understand the fracture networks that may challenge drilling operations and those that will contribute to production,” said Steve Kaufmann, president, Drilling & Measurements, Schlumberger. “This newly developed MicroScope HD technology provides detailed imaging of the formation to help prevent drilling risks, optimize completion design and potentially increase production.”

The MicroScope HD service enables detailed formation structural modeling to identify fracture orientation that contributes to production. An understanding of how formations are deposited is further enhanced with the service through sedimentology analysis. For fracture characterization, the MicroScope HD service delivers dimensions of fractures, which provides geologists a better understanding of the fracture network.

The MicroScope HD service has been field tested extensively in reservoirs in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, as well as unconventional reservoirs in North America. More than 45 job runs have been completed, confirming that high-definition images can be obtained reliably in conductive mud environments while drilling in oil and gas carbonate, sandstone and unconventional reservoirs.

In the Middle East, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) was experiencing heavy mud losses while drilling a well in an onshore carbonate reservoir. The MicroScope HD service provided high-definition images to accurately identify intervals with mud losses, which enabled PDO to isolate the challenging zones and optimize the completion design.

For more information about the MicroScope HD high-definition imaging-while-drilling service, visit

Technology Roundtable: MWD, Measurement While Drilling

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013


How does a MWD system improving drilling efficiencies and formation understanding?

Baker Hughes: First of all, let’s go back to industry adopted classification of telemetry systems – MWD (measuring while drilling) and LWD (logging while drilling) systems: MWD systems provide directional survey data (well path), bottom hole temperature, pressure, drilling dynamic parameters and, in some cases, gamma logging; while LWD systems provide data on formation and formation fluids properties such as water, oil and gas – thus technically giving an opportunity to replace traditional openhole geophysical well logging. With that, LWD systems are always used in combination with MWD system for actual well path monitoring of the well drilled. Thus, MWD systems as a separate service have limited capabilities for formations characterization and understanding: gamma logging serves to measure natural radioactivity of the rock, only allowing for qualitative determination of the geology of the drilled section
(shales-sandstone-carbonates) and the correlation with offset wells. In terms of the drilling efficiency, MWD systems have much greater capabilities. The technology is developing in four major trends:
»    improving survey sensor and processing software for  increased precise well path placement
»    increasing data transfer rates to minimize measurement time to shorten survey measurement and transmitting time while drilling
»    amplification of measured and real-time transmitted data with drilling dynamics parameters and inner tube and annular pressures, for drilling parameters optimization, well cleanout and mud density, minimizing well construction time, decreasing the differential stuck and hydrofracturing risks.
»    Improving reliability of downhole MWD tools to minimize equipment failures related NPT.

GE Oil&Gas: An MWD system can improve the drilling efficiencies by ensuring accurate real-time well placement and providing real-time drilling dynamics information to optimize the drilling parameters and improve ROP or longevity in hole. Real-time formation evaluation from Gamma, resistivity and other LWD measurements allow the operator to adjust the wellpath in real-time to ensure the well remains in the sweet spot in the reservoir.

Halliburton: Measurement-while-Drilling (MWD) surveying technology can be used to determine the well path and its position in three-dimensional space as well as to establish true vertical depth, bottom-hole location and orientation of directional drilling systems.

A range of measurements of the drillstring, BHA and wellbore properties are available to ensure the drilling is occurring according to plan and to identify conditions that could lead to equipment damage or other non-productive time events. By delivering these measurements while drilling, action can be taken to ensure proper wellbore positioning is maintained.

These measurements provide information on:
»    The forces acting on the drillstring and BHA including dynamic behavior and vibration
»    The static and dynamic pressures internally within the drillstring and the annulus
»    The size and shape of the wellbore itself

Logging-while-Drilling (LWD), meaning the wide logging set (PCD, Gamma Ray (PCG, DGR), Resistivity (EWR™, ADR™, AFR™), density (ALD™), neutron (CTN™), sonic (XBAT™) sensors), allows the acquisition of data in real time to help direct high-angle and horizontal drilling and to help ensure efficient use of expensive rig time. Running a downhole tool enables to perform logging in horizontal wells which is not possible with wireline. Logging in real-time also enables to steer the wellbore in the sweet spot of the reservoir.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: First a few words about what an MWD system is. The main aim of a MWD system is to determine directional survey data (zenith angle and magnetic azimuth values) in real time during drilling and transfer this data to the surface with the purpose of identifying the spatial location of the well path. With that, directional survey data is often supplemented with drilling parameters, BH temperature and gamma logging data. Gamma logging enables operators to measure the natural radioactivity of rock, separating the geological section into clay and non-clay constituents, which works especially well for the terrigenous sections of Western Siberia as well as in other conditions. When various LWD systems are used for more detailed reservoir research, MWD systems, amongst other things, acts as a connecting link by sending data to the surface. Today, the use of MWD systems has become an integral part of drilling deviated and horizontal wells. It is nearly impossible to meet the objectives the geologists set to the drilling crews – following the designed well path and hitting geological targets without using MWD systems. As for using MWD to increase drilling efficiency, the purpose here is simple: drilling a well without deviations from the planned well path and without NPTs due to equipment failures. And for Phoenix Technology Services, this is the main goal. The main and only business for Phoenix Technology Services is telemetry and engineering support for directional drilling.

Weatherford: Using Weatherford’s Industry leading TVM2 vibration sensors enables real time monitoring of drill string vibration, enabling mitigation of harmful vibration, whirl and bit bounce. Use of the Comanche system provides real time analysis of torque, WOB and RPM parameters along with the survey information to update models of torque and drag and BHA behaviour analysis enabling optimum drilling parameters to be set which will increase the reliability of all downhole components.

New levels of formation understanding are found using Weatherford’s latest suite of LWD technology. Tools such as the ShockWaveTM sonic, PressureWaveTM formation pressure tester and SineWaveTM microresistivity imager give unparalleled levels of information to the end user including direct pore pressure measurement, detection of fractures and thin laminations, indications of rock strength and formation brittleness along with porosity measurements.

As Russia increases the amount of horizontal wells drilled, is there an increased use of MWD utilization across the region, and how do you see growth in this sector over the coming years?

Baker Hughes: I completely agree with your statement: horizontal drilling activities are steadily growing year on year in Russia. Interesting fact is that horizontal drilling technology is utilized for both brownfields to maintain production, and for greenfields development. The reason is obvious: operational expenditures to drill a horizontal well are not that much different from drilling a vertical or directional well, but the horizontal well provides much greater drainage area and thus, higher flow rates. Moreover, horizontal drilling is used extensively for offshore fields’ development, allowing wider drilling area coverage from just one or few offshore platforms. Given the benefits of horizontal drilling, we believe that horizontal drilling activities and MWD application, combined with LWD systems, will continue to grow in the years to come.

GE Oil&Gas: As operators increase the amount of horizontal wells being drilled so does the dependence on a highly efficient and accurate MWD systems to accurately place these wells with minimal NPT. The steep production decline curves associated with many unconventional developments require a continuous drilling program to replace production.

Halliburton: The increase in horizontal well activity has resulted in a corresponding increase in demand for real-time logging. The targeting of thinner reservoirs drives the need for more precise wellbore placement to ensure maximum reservoir exposure. Additionally, the challenges of wireline logging in horizontal sections and the reluctance of local operators to use pipe-conveyed logging methods will increase the utilization of MWD.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: As I already mentioned, using MWD systems is a necessary condition for drilling horizontal wells. Accordingly, as the number of such wells increases, the corresponding growth in MWD systems usage is inevitable.

Weatherford: Growth in the sector will likely be consistent over the coming years but the utilization of LWD services will increase at a greater rate than MWD as more extended reach production wells will be drilled along with an increase in the proportion of exploration wells in more remote locations. This will mean that more real time information while drilling is required due to the complexities and added cost of running wireline in these situations. This tied in with the potential growth of unconventional developments will increase the demand for more LWD systems in the region.

When should an operator look to deploy an MWD tool?

Baker Hughes: The principal objective of MWD systems is to drill a well path along with the planned trajectory to hit predetermined geological targets. In order to achieve this objective, operator shall select fit-for-purpose tools, based on equipment specifications, and then application within operational specifications and limitations.

GE Oil&Gas: An operator should consider the deploying of an MWD tool when the need to deviate away of vertical or when the deviation exceeds five degrees from vertical. Also, when the need to use gamma ray measurements to assist in the geological search for the formations being drilled is required. Certain areas have regulatory demands that operators provide gamma ray logs to the governing body.

Halliburton: MWD offers advantages in highly deviated wells where wireline logging is difficult and time-consuming; or in high-cost environments (such as deep water), where the use of MWD/LWD can save considerable time and cost, relative to running wireline.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: MWD systems are a must for drilling any deviated or horizontal wells. The type of MWD system to be used has to be selected at the stage of planning the drilling operations dependant on performance specifications and equipment limitations, geological section and the objectives at hand.

Weatherford: When the Wellplan necessitates deviation in a particular direction to target or avoid particular formations or stay within a lease boundary. It is also necessary to include MWD when there is a high risk of unintentional sidetracking in unconsolidated formations.


With a large range of MWD tools available, how does an operator ensure they are selecting the correct tool?

Baker Hughes: In most cases Key Performance Indicators and statistical data are recorded and analyzed during drilling operations, so the operators clearly understand distinguishing features, advantages and disadvantages of equipment provided by different service companies. Ultimately, apart from design and specifications of the MWD system itself, the operations efficiency of greatly depends on qualification of service company’s field personnel and the level of service in repair and maintenance centers; thus I would recommend that selecting MWD system, the operators should also assess the qualification of the service company personnel, budget spend on personnel training and development, repair and maintenance bases capabilities, availability of Quality Control Systems in place and rigorous following policies and procedures.

GE Oil&Gas: When an operator is making the decision to purchase MWD tools a number of factors and operational requirements should be considered. The operator will need to understand the expected operating conditions where the equipment will be deployed and ensure equipment is specified to meet those requirements.
Critical parameters that impact the choice of MWD equipment include: Maximum temperature & pressure; Drilling fluid properties; Planned well trajectories & hole sizes; Drilling hazards such as loss circulation zones; H2S concentration and geological resistivity profile.

These questions will aide in making the correct decision between Mud Pulse MWD and Electromagnetic MWD telemetry and to determine whether a retrievable or fixed mount MWD system is best suited to the application. Compatibility with other BHA components such as Rotary Steerable Systems and capability to expand the MWD platform to provide additional LWD measurements should also be considered before selecting an MWD system.

Halliburton: Approximately one third of the hard-to-recover reserves are in the carbonate reservoirs. Sonic tools like Halliburton’s new XBAT Azimuthal Sonic and Ultrasonic services and the AFR (Azimuthal Focused Resistivity Sensor) are recommended.

Formations with complex geology and high lateral and vertical variability can benefit from the use of near-bit gamma inclination (GABI™) sensors. It is critical that the engineer work closely with the customer to ensure the correct sensors are selected to deliver the most efficient and effective solution.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: First of all, it should be a reliable system that allows the operator to meet the established objectives: precise measurements and reliable data transfer to surface. Such as, for example, Phoenix Technology Services’ P-360 MWD system – simple and reliable, with a guaranteed run time of at least 350 hours.

At the same time, apart from downhole equipment properties, level and quality of services for directional drilling provided by one or another company, have to be assessed. The level and quality of service is largely determined by the company’s approach to business organization and production on the whole. This includes personnel qualifications, quality equipment maintenance, resource base availability and many other things.

Weatherford: Open discussion with service providers about the project will enable those providers to select the optimum suite of tools. After this, a decision needs to be made on what quantity of information is required and whether the addition of more LWD is necessary and cost effective. What sensors do you need to stay in the formation you want and avoid those you do not? What sensors will give you the information you need to complete the well and meet/exceed the objectives? What is the potential gain from extra information? What is the potential risk if you do not take a pressure measurement in the overburden? These are all questions which must be asked and answered by the operator with the technical assistance offered by the service company.


Some of the most demanding oilfields on earth are found in Russia – are there any limitations to deploying MWD and to the environments in which they are able to operate?

Baker Hughes: Certainly there are limitations: any equipment has its specifications, operational application restrictions and specific requirements for drilling rig equipment. The drilling conditions for most Russian oil and gas fields are rather adequate for standard MWD equipment, however there are fields featuring high temperatures and high pressures, and aggressive environments: such conditions require application of special MWD equipment. Besides, in recent years we see increase in ERD (Extended Reach Drilling) wells drilling activities: these applications are also setting higher requirements for MWD equipment used.

GE Oil&Gas: One area of concern is the high level of H2S that is common in Russia. With this high level of H2S tool components will require more frequent replacement in order to maintain the high MTBF. Other known environmental concerns pose no problem to the GE tool suite as long as routine maintenance is performed.

Halliburton: Harsh environments, such as high temperature downhole conditions can be challenging for some M/LWD tools. Halliburton is able to offer several MWD services that can operate in environments up to 175C such as gamma ray, EWR-Phase 4™ Resistivity, PWD and BAT™/QBAT™ sonic tools. Additionally, Halliburton offers directional, gamma ray, PWD and DDSr™ sensors that can operate in environments up to 200C, opening up areas that were previously undrillable or had to be drilled “blind”.

On the other end of the spectrum, in Russia, we also have to contend with low ambient temperatures that can impede tool initialization during BHA pick up on the rotary table. Additionally, wells with high sand content, over 2%, can also create challenges for MWD systems.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: Generally, there are no limitations related to the complexity of the field. Naturally, there are limitations related to the capabilities of the technical equipment. The MWD system has to be selected to match the type of geological section and the complexity of the task at hand. So in some cases, MWD systems with electromagnetic data transfer can be used, and in other cases mud pulse MWD system may be the only solution. When working with high BT temperatures or other aggressive environments, specialized downhole equipment has to be used.

Weatherford: Weatherford has successfully run equipment at temperatures >190°C in the North Sea and Thailand and GOM. Operations have been completed in several record TVD wells in the GOM operating at pressures >28,000 psi. Weatherford is considered by its clients to be the market leader for HPHT MLWD operations.
Weatherford’s Rotary Steerable Tool (RSS) provides a means to drill in demanding environments. The tool is purely battery powered and requires no mud flow to operate which makes it ideally suited to underbalanced drilling operations or when low flow rates are required due to an overbalanced mud system.


How does your MWD tool transmit the data to the surface and how do you ensure the quality of the data?

Baker Hughes: These days there are only four data transfer (telemetry) technologies utilized in the industry:
»    cable (outdated technology),
»    electromagnetic telemetry,
»    mud pulse data telemetry,
»    a relatively new “wired pipe” technology, where the data is transmitted through special drilling pipe, equipped with electronic connections and cabling.

Each of the listed above methods has its advantages and disadvantages, as well as applications areas. Actually, the Quality Assurance of obtained and transmitted data is a whole separate field. Briefly, the data quality begins with quality and precision of magnetometers and accelerometers installed in MWD systems, along with the quality of electronic boards and components, tools manufacturing and assembling quality, level of repair and maintenance, including sensors calibrations and verifications in special non-magnetic rooms, and installing required number of nonmagnetic drill pipes in BHA. Then, all necessary adjustments for wells geographic location and magnetic fields strengths are calculated and entered into the surface system’s acquisition computer. In addition, during the drilling operations, the real time directional survey data is software processed for data quality verifications or rejection; the down hole tool also runs self-diagnostic tests and transmits it to surface at given time intervals.

GE Oil&Gas: Data is transmitted from the tool to surface by mud pulse telemetry using a robust, lost circulation material tolerant bottom mounted pulser. Mud pulse telemetry remains the most common industry standard for transmission of data from downhole. GE continually review the options for improving data transmission methods and data rate, such as data compression and electromagnetic (EM) telemetry. GE also uses Electromagnetic Telemetry in our EM-MWD tool. From power and efficiency to reliability, every element of the Electro-Trac EM system is optimized to minimize non-productive time and improve noise immunity. The Electro-Trac EM-MWD tool uses patented Data Fusion Technology for a revolutionary approach to underground wireless telemetry.

Halliburton: In Halliburton Sperry Drilling there are two types of data transmission from MWD tools to the surface: electromagnetic and mud pulse. The mud pulse method is the most popular as it is able to operate at greater depths and is not affected by the surrounding formation properties.

The quality of the data received from MWD tools is constantly analyzed in real time and the analysis of the read data is then analyzed by LQC Department. Tools are calibrated and verified before and after each job to help ensure that they are operating within specified limits, and the data they produce is checked thoroughly, both in real time and post-run, to ensure that it conforms to predetermined standards. The standards vary from tool to tool and are published in a log reference guide, which is available to field engineers, log analysts and customers.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: Phoenix Technology Services offers MWD systems with mud pulse and electromagnetic data transfer. The Russian division uses mainly P-360 telemetric systems with positive pulse data transfer technology which we produce ourselves in Canada and which has a proven track record.
The principle of the operation is simple. Electromagnetic MWD system use electric current and conductive properties of rock. MWD systems with mud pulse data transfer use drilling mud to transfer data to surface: the pulser generates a momentary limitation in drilling mud feed thus creating a series of pulsing pressure sequences on the surface. These pulses are registered with surface meters and are converted into useful signals. The data from MWD system (every measurement made) goes through an automated check, which is additionally controlled and re-checked by a MWD engineer. The measurements from gravimeters and magnetic meters of the MWD system are then compared against actual available local Earth’s gravity and magnetic field data.

Weatherford: There are 3 methods of data transmission. EM Telemetry, Positive Pulse and Intelligent wired drill pipe. EM transmission is particularly useful in underbalanced drilling applications where positive pulse telemetry is compromised due to the compressibility of the mud system. Positive pulse telemetry provides a high speed cost effective system of transferring data from downhole to surface with speeds up to 11 bits/sec. Weatherford LWD is also compatible with NOV’s Intellipipe services via the WIS sub and can provide extreme data rates that enable large amounts of data to be transmitted to surface. This enables the end user to view memory quality Density, Caliper, PE, Gamma, Resistivity, Microresistivity and Semblance images all in real time. This is in addition to all other drilling curves such as vibration, pressures, temperatures and instant surveys at the touch of a button.

If or when Russia starts to develop its unconventional plays, how would MWD aid in the in developing these challenging fields?

Baker Hughes: The traditional technology for development of uncongenial reserves is drilling horizontal wells with subsequent hydrofracturing. So MWD technology, in combination with LWD tools, will serve as the key element in unconventional fields’ development.

GE Oil&Gas: The Electro-Trac EM-MWD tool would greatly assist in developing the unconventional plays in the region. With no moving parts and a high tolerance to LCM equipment reliability is significantly increased, Operational efficiency can be improved by transmitting off-line surveys in less than 30 seconds and finally the operating range is extended due to the ability to detect less than 1 µV signals at great depth. The Electro-Trac tool can be used in variety of hole sizes ranging from 4” to 9 ½”.

Halliburton: The main challenge in unconventional shale reservoirs is to determine the organic carbon content and mechanical properties of the rock. Rocks with high organic carbon content are likely to contain producible reserves, while rocks which are brittle will fracture more readily during the completion phase of the well. Typically, the carbon-rick zones can be identified using gamma ray or spectral gamma ray tools, and sometimes resistivity measurements. Rock mechanical properties can be determined primarily using sonic measurements. All of these measurements are available on an M/LWD platform, allowing the well to be geosteered based on both the content and mechanical properties of the surrounding rock.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: Without any doubt, when Russia begins developing unconventional hydrocarbon reserves such as shale gas/oil, MWD systems will be an integral part of this process. The technology of developing such reservoirs itself envisages extensive horizontal drilling, which is physically impossible without MWD systems. By the way, today Phoenix Technology Services is taking an active part in such extensive drilling on shale oil and gas developments in North America.

Weatherford: Weatherford Drilling Services is ideally placed to provide the optimum technical solutions for shale gas/shale oil drilling. The use of the LWD Spectral Azimuthal Gamma Ray (SpectralWaveTM) tool provides realtime 16 bin images along with Total Gamma, K, Ur and Th curves. The Uranium response can be directly associated with TOC in shales and enables geosteering in the sweet spot of these reservoirs. The addition of the CrossWaveTM sonic tool provides 16 bin sonic images with ratio of shear anisotropy.

What specific benefits can your tool offer the client over other MWD tools in the market? What regional success stories can you tell us about?

Baker Hughes: This question certainly opens vast opportunities for advertisement and marketing of Baker Hughes equipment and services, which doesn’t really suit the format of this article and also wouldn’t be quite ethical from my point of view, so I’ll try not to take the advantage of this opportunity and won’t refer to tools trademarks, well numbers, fields’ names and customers.

I hope that Baker Hughes’ rapid MWD and LWD business growth in the Region, that outruns the annular market rate growth, speaks for itself. I should emphasize that the company’s R&D centers and manufacturing facilities are located in Europe and USA what ensures equipment manufacturing in accordance with the highest industry standards. The Region repair and maintenance centers are equipped with state-of-the art equipment; all technical, field and engineering personnel are subject to mandatory and individual training programs, to qualifications assessments and advanced training in both Russia and abroad. The compliance all technical, technological and business processes with company’s procedures and policies are ensured by implementation of Global BHOS system (Baker Hughes Operating System). The company’s reputation of one of industry leaders have allowed us to participate in drilling of some of the most difficult wells in the region, including multilaterals, Extended Reach ultra-deep wells, placing horizontal wells path within a meter corridor, HT/HP wells.

GE Oil&Gas: GE has supported the Russian market with Geolink MWD product line for many years and following the recent obsolescence of that product line GE has recently entered into a number of contracts to introduce the retrievable Tensor Centerfire resistivity LWD platform into the Russian Market.

We believe the GE Tensor MWD system will continue to grow in utilization in Russia as the Tensor MWD system is the preferred MWD system for many operators developing the unconventional resources in N America and as unconventional plays expand in Russia so will the need for a cost effective, easy to maintain reliable MWD platform such as Tensor MWD.

The success of the Electro-Trac EM-MWD tool in N America, where the expanded operating range to greater than 4000m TVD has enabled operators to improve drilling efficiency be reducing NPT and survey time will also bring benefits of EM-MWD technology to deeper developments in Russia.

Halliburton: Halliburton is experienced in providing measurements in challenging high-pressure and high temperature environments, and can deliver directional and formation evaluation in wells too hot for our competitors to run in. Our MWD and LWD services support our drilling optimization (ADT) team in ensuring well control and accurate well placement, and our reservoir solutions (Geosteering) team in helping customers understand and realize maximum value from their reservoirs.

Recently, while drilling in the challenging environments of the Vikulovskaya suite in Nyagan project, where the thickness of the target reservoir is from 1 to 2 meters and is complicated by low-amplitude faults (from 2 to 3 meters by TVD), the Halliburton real-time logging set with state-of-the-art azimuthal induction and lithodensity logging tools allowed us to achieve 85% of the efficient hole length in 1000m horizontal.

Phoenix Technology Services Russia: Highly reliable and precise Phoenix Technology Services MWD systems ensure quality drilling for any complex section wells, which enables us to offer our customers world class services for telemetric and engineering support of the drilling operations. As for the success stories, our operational track record speaks for itself. Initially a Canadian company, we drilled our first well in Russia in December 2011 and since then the amount of wells drilled with our participation in Russia exceeds three hundred. In this relatively short time, less than two years, the Russian division of Phoenix Technology Services has earned recognition and trust among its customers. Unlike of many companies, we specialize only in telemetric and engineering support of deviated drilling operations. Being an obvious leader for deviated drilling in Canada, Phoenix Technology Services in Russia also earned a reputation as a reliable partner who provides high quality service able to compete successfully with the world’s leading oilfield service companies.

Weatherford: All Weatherford LWD tools are built to a minimum specification of 150°C and 30,000 psi. The engineering of the electronics for HPHT applications provides exponential increases in reliability at the lower temperatures. The HEL suite of tools are all battery powered and do not need flow in order to operate enabling pumps off measurements to be made such as annular pressure for static mud density. Weatherford’s unique MotarySteerableTM system offers an economic alternative to rotary steerable systems that are currently available for rotary well-trajectory work. It provides full 3D directional control while rotating thus reducing drilling time and mitigating lost in hole risk in troublesome formations.

Vitaly Chubrikov    
Baker Hughes
Vitaly Chubrikov graduated from Gubkinsky Oil & Gas University in Moscow in 1995 and joined Baker Hughes soon after, as a field engineer. Over the years he has held various field and office positions in both domestic and international assignments.

Nikolay Kutsenko    
GE Oil&Gas
Nikolay Kutsenko joined GE Oil&Gas two years ago as a Region Manager for Downhole Technology business. Before he joined GE he was Country Manager of Seismic Micro-Technology of Russia and the CIS region. He opened the Moscow office to cover both sales and technical support operations for the region. Prior to SMT, Mr. Kutsenko worked for Halliburton/Landmark as a senior account manager. Mr. Kutsenko graduated from Moscow State University and has a PhD in mathematics. He is also one of the co-authors of three geophysical patents.

Roman Doronin     
Roman Doronin graduated from Gubkin’s Russian State Petroleum University in Moscow as a Petroleum Engineer and lately continued his studies at the same
University where he recently acquired a PHD in Geological Science. Roman’s professional career started in 2007 as a Production Logging Engineer and from there he progressed to Seismic Engineer. He then moved into the field of M/LWD with Halliburton Sperry in 2010 where he quickly progressed to being a senior M/LWD engineer. After further petrophysical training, he was transferred to the Formation Reservior Solutions group as a Geosteering Specialist working on various projects within Russia including Lukoil Usinsk and TNK Nyagan.

Stanislav Ter-Saakov     
Stanislav has been part of the Halliburton Geosteering team in Russia since 2011.  Previously, he worked as a logging engineer working with density, neutron and resistivity tools.  Stanislav joined Halliburton in 2008 after graduating from The Tyumen State Oil & Gas University.

Ochir Dzhambinov     
Phoenix Technology Services Russia
Ochir Dzhambinov is Business Development Director for Phoenix Technology Services Russia. He graduated from the geology faculty of Lomonosov MSU in 2002, with honors, as an oil geologist. After working for YUKOS as a leading specialist in the Center of Analysis and Forecasting in Moscow, he moved to Schlumberger as a Drilling & Measurements field engineer in 2005. His role was based in both Western Siberia and Qatar. In 2008 he won the Chevening Scholarship, a highly competitive and prestigious scholarship awarded by the Russian Branch of the Foreign Commonwealth Office of the UK, which meant that 100% of his tuition and living fee in UK would be paid. In 2009 he duly achieved an MA in Management from the Durham Business School, University of Durham, UK. From 2009-2013 Ochir was Sales and Business Development manager, Drilling & Measurements, Schlumberger, Russia, before taking up his current position with Phoenix Technology Services in Russia.

Rick Barton     
Rick Barton is currently working for Weatherford Drilling Services as the MLWD Manager for Russia. Rick’s present role involves operational support for the MLWD service line and technical business development. Rick was previously a Technical Sales Manager in the UK and prior to that an LWD Coordinator covering UK and European Operations.


Halliburton to Provide Solutions for Accessing TNK-BP’s Tight Oil Reserves in Russia’s Krasnoleninskoe Field

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Halliburton will apply its technology and expertise in unconventional resources to develop TNK-BP’s assets previously considered uneconomical

TNK-BP has selected Halliburton to provide an integrated services solution to increase production from the complex and challenging tight oil reserves in the Em-Yoga license area of Russia’s Krasnoleninskoe oil and gas field in Nyagan, Western Siberia.

The two-year contract calls for Halliburton to provide project management, well construction and completion services including directional drilling, logging-while drilling, fluids, bits, cementing, completion tools, coiled tubing and multistage fracturing stimulation services for multiple wells in Nyagan. Halliburton will initially mobilize from its Nizhnevartovsk base in Western Siberia; however, as the field is developed further, the Company intends to establish a base and other facilities in the area.

“TNK-BP is pursuing integrated development projects jointly with leading oilfield services companies such as Halliburton in order to bring new technology to the development of tight oil reserves in our difficult fields,” said Oleg Mikhailov, TNK-BP’s vice president, Operations and Asset Management. “The project in the Krasnoleninskoe field is an element of the Challenged Reserves strategy launched by TNK-BP in 2012.”

Joe Rainey, Halliburton’s Eastern Hemisphere president, said, “This contract validates our commitment to expand our business in Russia and to cooperate with both national and international oil companies to increase their production by employing Halliburton’s proven expertise and latest technology advancements in unconventional resources.” Aligning with the Company’s Russia Area strategy, Halliburton is increasing its presence in the country by working with local and national companies and institutions to discover new ways of developing and producing oil and gas assets.

“I am really pleased that companies like Halliburton with such wide global reachand technical capabilities are coming to the Nyagan area,” said Evgeny Lapshin, TNK-BP Nyagan general director. “We anticipate an increased deployment of
technology to access reserves that were previously uneconomical.”

Konstantin Schilin, Halliburton’s Russia Area vice president, said, “This contract represents a new stage in our relationship with TNK-BP that I am sure will create greater opportunities for both companies to collaborate and grow together.”

Halliburton has had a presence in Russia since 1992 and employs more than 2,000 people there.

ROGTEC Technology Roundtable: LWD

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

How and in which areas does accurate LWD data improve oilfield decision making and planning?

Halliburton: In the drive to move the drilling budgets to a more economical model, many clients are seriously reviewing the use of LWD in both greenfield exploration and mature development projects. This is more so when deviated and horizontal drilling methods are employed. The economic comparison of wireline versus LWD will favour WL in Vertical to 45 degree wells, but as the well inclination begins to increase above 50 degrees, LWD becomes a more suitable data gathering platform for insurance logging. Using LWD in the exploration phase of a development allows “on-the-fly” decisions to be made as the real-time data is streamed into the clients office, allowing the Asset team and stakeholders to alter the drilling program (change drilling targets based on updated geological models, pressure information that may indicate potential hazards, or to conduct unplanned pressure testing in potential payzones for example).

Weatherford: Accurate LWD data allow an operator to make informed decisions while the well is still under construction. By accelerating the information flow from the well, we facilitate real time evaluation of the reservoir, so reducing the drilling time and allowing more knowledgeable decisions to be made.

A further benefit is that initial measurements are made without significant time lapse for borehole exposure effects on the formation to occur: filtrate invasion for example. Formations can be also be re-logged on a time lapse basis and interpretations may be re-evaluated while drilling is ongoing, thus ensuring that the well is kept on target and in reservoir, without the need to trip out of hole. LWD data allows having data on filtration properties of formation prior to final running in for well completion, which ensures maximum efficient operation. Further benefits are in providing the ability to monitor drilling responses during trajectory control based on the encountered geology, rather than modelled, leading to precise wellbore placement and in difficult hole conditions LWD provides the operator with the ability to manage his well to ensure that TD is reached efficiently.

Schlumberger: Logging-while-drilling (LWD) provides accurate formation evaluation, well placement capability, and wellbore geomechanics in real time. If the aim is to place wells accurately, to maximize reservoir contact, and minimize wellbore issues, such as stability and quality, then the best answer today is with LWD technology. The accuracy and resolution of the measurements, available in real time, provide a high confidence level for planning and executing complex projects.

Baker Hughes: Compared to Wireline formation evaluation that is done after the wellbore has been drilled LWD data can be a big help in mitigating drilling hazards and problems as well as steering the wellbore in the most productive zone. At Baker Hughes we routinely use our SoundTrak, LWD acoustic system, to predict pore pressure ahead of the bit. With this information the driller can take action to reduce of likelihood of kicks or formation damage while drilling. Additionally, we use our SeismicTrak, LWD seismic system, to identify and determine the proximity of over-pressured zones below the bit. These LWD services provide answers in real-time that enable drillers to mitigate some of the drilling risks and eliminate the NPT or loss of wellbore associated with them. Another measurement we make while drilling is borehole pressure and we use it to monitor the Equivalent Circulating Density, ECD, of the mud. This identifies situations where cuttings are building up downhole so that corrective action can be taken to avoid a pack-off or stuck pipe situation. Our imaging services are used to monitor the borehole condition and identify when break-out is occurring, again enabling corrective action to be taken in real-time and avoiding the problems and NPT associated with them. All these sensors are combinable together in one run and as well with the AutoTrak Rotary Stearable System (RSS).

GE Oil&Gas: Accurate LWD data can help reduce the risks associated with drilling by aiding casing point selection, through the use of real-time formation evaluation data to provide pore pressure prediction and through images to identify wellbore stability issues.

LWD data can also be used to optimize the placement of the wellbore through the use of geosteering techniques and technology.

Formation evaluation data logged while drilling provides a quick-look evaluation of the reservoir which in turn can either eliminate the need for wireline technology, or can help to optimize the use of the GE open hole wireline suite.

LWD tools can be an expensive to employ. Would you recommend LWD tools be deployed in every well or are they suited to specific wells?

Halliburton: LWD is definitely not viable for every well type or location. The price point is the differentiator when LWD vs WL is done on a land operation within a mature development area where there are good access roads year round. For remote locations, or offshore rigs, LWD very quickly becomes the platform of choice to our customers. As the rig cost increases, LWD and its array of current measurements can fully cover 95% of all the data acquisition that is required in the industry. Some specialist WL tools may still have to be run (e.g. sidewall core), but LWD covers the majority of the needs. Sometimes, the best solution is a combined WL/LWD solution, which Halliburton Sperry Drilling and WPS do on a regular basis globally.

Weatherford: When evaluating the requirement of LWD tools, a “holistic” approach needs to be used, taking account of more than just the comparative cost of LWD against other measurement methods. You also need to factor in the actual cost of logging in terms of time to the overall operation and the reduction in HSE risk by using LWD (handling the BHA being a more natural rig operation that running wireline or coil tubing). Additional factors to be considered are the potential early production due to the reduced decision making time and the security that early data enables. In effect, by having real time data, the completion can be tailored very specifically to the formation properties measured as encountered whilst drilling. This time window prior to TD of the well is not available using traditional after drilling logging techniques.

When choosing candidate wells to run LWD on it is important to understand in advance how the reservoir is to be navigated. If it is a simple vertical penetration through a substantial accumulation then wireline may be the best option dependant on the spectra of information required. But if you have a complex geometry downhole where steering to stay within the most productive zone is required, use of LWD is essential.

Schlumberger: There are LWD tools suitable for almost any well environment. The customer objectives, risks, and economics need to be factored in to define the fit for purpose workflow and tool combination. Certainly, not every well is a candidate for a full deployment of our Scope family of LWD technologies; however, LWD technology can significantly reduce rig time and drilling risk, which must be factored into the overall project economics. LWD has proven to be a very cost effective solution to acquire data in almost any project.

Baker Hughes: The operator and the service company should evaluate the types of data needed and determine the most cost efficient means to acquire the data while at the same time assessing the risk associated with the logging operations. For example, it is often cost effective to use LWD in offshore environments because of the high cost of rig time for the rig to not drill for a few days to accommodate wireline logging. This is not true for most onshore wells in the mature areas of Russia and wireline logs are often the more economical. In these cases a simple MWD can be run to monitor well-path and GR correlation. Additionally, there is a risk of hole problems when the hole is left open to run wireline logs. However, there are certain technologies that are available on wireline, but not yet available via LWD. Therefore the decision to use wireline or LWD should be based on the right balance of cost, risk and data requirements.

GE Oil&Gas: No – each well needs an FE program tailored to its specific needs. The decision to use LWD tools, and the determination of which ones to use should be based on the cost and benefit of doing so for each specific well. If it is believed that the reservoir characteristics are such that LWD can be used to enhance well placement through geosteering, or aid in the selection of coring or casing point then an LWD program may be beneficial. If it is determined that formation evaluation data cannot be safely or economically obtained through post-drilling wireline, due to long lateral sections or complex high-angle well profiles, then it can be economically beneficial to employ a selection of LWD tools. It is always important to select the correct tools for the specific deployment.

With so many LWD tools on the market, each claiming to maximize data collection and reservoir knowledge – how does an operator select which tools to run in order to gain the best well bore data whilst ensuring value for money?

Halliburton: The LWD market globally has separated in to the Big 3 and the smaller local independent DD/MWD/LWD companies, who instead of investing in large R&D budgets to develop their technologies, will purchase off the shelf systems which can provide some answers. For the companies like Halliburton Sperry Drilling that invests heavily in our R&D, we have not only a much wider range of sensors but also that operate in much harsher environments than the smaller companies. The acceleration of LWD technology has created 2 tiers of competition where the integrated service companies can invest large sums to advance their sensor and quality of measurements in order to support the likes of the Deepwater, Artic circle, or HP/HT (or UHT) markets.

In order to select the preferred supplier of LWD, clients will obviously tender their work, but many conduct pre-qualifications, site inspections, and rig visits to observe how the services are executed at the jobsite. On a higher level, some clients will have their technical experts/scientists be part of the qualification phase of a new measurement and will certify that it has met their requirements, and communicate this within their global internal community.

The issue many forget is that it is not only data accuracy/repeatability, but the reliability of the LWD system and BHA that the sensor is a part of. Halliburton Sperry Drilling are very focussed in ensuring the service quality of the whole system is optimised, and this is a large differentiator when it comes to selecting an LWD or Directional Drilling provider.

Weatherford: The client needs to sit with clarity of purpose and frame the information required from the well as this will identify the spectra of measurements required in isolation from specific vendor technology claims. This is as opposed to getting distracted by the sometimes bewildering array of perceived benefits, claims and counter claims that exist in the LWD market today. Measurements need to be ranked based on a “must have” through to “nice to have” and “luxury” basis and, in combination with factors such as environmental suitability (e.g. HPHT) reliability, quality of service and HSE three budget scenario’s can be arrived at. On this basis, the financial decision can be optimized to the information needs and not to the vendors marketing campaigns.

Schlumberger: The LWD service portfolio is diverse and comprehensive. The key to a good data acquisition service is the quality of the measurement (accuracy and repeatability) and the answers produced from the data, not just the data. It is essential that any LWD service is supported by a technical domain team who can support the data by providing answers and interpretation of the measurements.

Appropriate technology selection is best done with the LWD service providers technical domain team working in conjunction with the operators sub-surface team to ensure everyone understands the challenges and how the objectives are best met with the available measurements.

Baker Hughes: Many of the basic LWD services, such as the triple-combo (GR/Resistivity/Density/neutron porosity), offer similar levels of measurement quality between the service companies. The differentiators between the major service providers are usually found in the more advanced LWD measurements, such as NMR and electrical borehole imaging. For example, Baker Hughes MagTrak, LWD NMR system, is the only NMR LWD system that has proven to be rugged enough for the drilling environment. NMR measurements are motion sensitive and some of the service providers have problems with measurement quality in the drilling environment and can’t guarantee they will get reliable data. With regards to electrical imaging, image resolution is the key specification to look for. It varies significantly between the service companies. Our Baker Hughes StarTrak, LWD Imaging system, offers 0.25in. x 0.25in (6.4mm x 6.4mm) resolution, which is the finest resolution available in the industry today. The finer the resolution, the more detail the operator will be able to see in the image and thus gain a better understanding of the reservoir. The key thing to evaluate are the measurement specifications for each tool and ask questions of the service company when choosing which advanced LWD systems to deploy.

GE Oil&Gas: We offer an LWD string that provides gamma and multiple propagation wave resistivity measurements in addition to the directional measurements. Our tool string is designed to operate in a broad range of drilling environments. It is always critical for the operator to evaluate the benefits of running LWD or wireline, or both. Our LWD system features a directional package and mud pulse assembly that is retrievable, which helps to reduce some of the cost associated with the bottom hole assembly getting stuck in hole.

How does your tool ensure accurate data is collected on logging runs?

Halliburton: Each of our sensors has a specific maintenance and calibration regime, which is set globally, but is tailored to the local conditions and customer requirements. Each facility has the capability to fully maintain and calibrate the specific sensor set for the area of operations. Robust pre/post job calibrations are carried out to ensure full data accuracy and repeatability, including the rig site verifications and the quality control of the plots.

All test, measurement and assembly equipment is registered and routinely calibrated by 3rd parties or OEM inspectors.

Weatherford: Prior to sending tools to a job and on return to the service base, the tools are calibrated or verified as appropriate to ensure that they operate to the required standard. In addition, all Weatherford LWD tools have a series of on-board quality checks, the data from which can be transmitted to the surface, if required, to ensure the tool is operating correctly. The operators are trained to review the data and by comparing this to known offset and to other transmitted data streams the individual sensors can be compared one to another to ensure data validity.

Schlumberger: Schlumberger tools incorporate the latest technical advances to deliver unmatched measurement quality. Our tools are rigorously tested to ensure reliability of service and repeatability of measurements. Schlumberger has the most advanced calibration and testing facilities in the oilfield industry to ensure repeatability and accuracy.

Baker Hughes: All of Baker Hughes LWD tools are verified to be working within specification by performing wellsite tool verifications prior to going downhole. After the tool is returned to surface the same series of verifications are run on each of the sensors to check if it is still performing within specification. While drilling each of our LWD tools takes measurements to monitor the internal system performance as the data is being collected. Any indications of tool not performing within specification are observed by the Field Service Engineer and the decision is made on how to best address the issue. At the completion of each run the Field Service Engineer and the LWD Coordinator are responsible for reviewing the log data and completing a “Log Quality Control Procedure” to ensure the log responses are as expected and the information in log header and calibration/verification sections is complete and accurate. Additionally, on return to the workshop after the job the tools are run through their prescribed maintenance program. The maintenance program includes various checks of the sensors to ensure they are performing within specification. The tools are also calibrated during the maintenance cycle and prepared for the next job.

GE Oil&Gas: The resistivity tool features a transmitter and receiver antennae layout which provides a total of 8 borehole compensated resistivity values. The dual sensor spacing and dual frequency measurements provide a wide range of diameter of investigations enabling invasion profiling. The resistivity tool’s measurement accuracy has been verified against multiple wireline logging data sets. Measurement accuracy is verified during tool production as well as through pre-deployment and post-well analysis.

What system does your tool use to transfer data to the surface and how does this compare to industry standards?

Halliburton: Halliburton Sperry Drilling has multiple transmission methods and systems, dependant on the location and well types. Our systems employ Mud Pulse (Positive and Negative Pulse), EM telemetry, as well as interfacing to Intellipipe. With these, or a combination of 2 methods, we are able to transmit in all phases of the well, and under all fluid phase conditions including underbalanced or managed pressure drilling applications.

Each service provider has their own methods of encoding and transmitting data, and can make claims on how fast data is transferred to surface, but each method has its’ own positives and deltas. The main advantage that Sperry Drilling has is that our data is uncorrected and so enabling a higher degree of accuracy than filtered or smoothed data that is transmitted by some other suppliers. Also to our advantage is the ability to fine-tune the transmission criteria at the rigsite, in specific cases, where changes are made to the drilling parameters or to the BHA configuration.

Weatherford: Weatherford has the ability to provide the correct telemetry for the situation, managing our delivery system to meet and overcome the conditions. Employing three distinct methods of telemetry, we have interface subs allowing all our tools to operate with wired drill pipe. Weatherford also supplies an industry leading Electromagnetic Telemetry system that can be combined with the full suite of LWD and RSS tools. The workhorse of the LWD system is however our positive pulse telemetry. This employs an extremely rugged pulser capable of producing detectable signals in the harshest of conditions, from great depth and in heavy mud weights, holding the world records for both. The pulser is extremely robust with high tolerance to LCM – up to 80 lbs/bbl. Having been designed to operate in these extreme environments, in more benign conditions the system is capable of fast data updates that compete with all other systems on the market.

Schlumberger: The primary method of data transfer for Schlumberger is a mud pulse telemetry system. Pressure pulses of the mud column, both uphole and downhole, are decoded by surface systems to send and receive data in real time. Our telemetry systems are able to deliver real-time data in extended reach wells (over 12-km) and support real-time decision making. The ability to compress data downhole allows us to transmit large data volumes from complex LWD assemblies in real time at extreme depths. The next generation of data transmission is achieved by the use of wired drill pipe.

Baker Hughes: Baker Hughes has different telemetry systems available depending on the application. We offer systems for mud pulse telemetry, MPT, wired pipe telemetry, WP, and electromagnetic telemetry, EM.

The aXcelerate telemetry system provides the platform for our high-end MWD and LWD services offering reliable data transmission in the most-demanding operating environments and under the toughest drilling conditions. This includes challenging extended-reach wells, complex 3D profiles, deepwater exploration, and underbalanced drilling applications. The aXcelerate family includes both high speed MPT and wired pipe. With its superior performance the aXcelerate™ high-speed mud-pulse telemetry service delivers data to provide an accurate picture of the downhole environment enabling our customers to make well-informed decisions in real-time.

Baker Hughes has the highest raw data rate of the industry and the unique capability to downlink information to the downhole tools to optimize performance.

GE Oil&Gas: Data is transmitted from the tool to surface by mud pulse telemetry using a robust, lost circulation material-tolerant bottom mounted pulser. Mud pulse telemetry remains the most common industry standard for transmission of data from downhole. GE continually review the options for improving data transmission methods and data rate, such as data compression and electromagnetic (EM) telemetry.

What are the major benefits that your LWD tools offer? Do you have a regional example of how they have helped an operator maximize formation knowledge?

Halliburton: Halliburton Sperry Drilling LWD systems and sensors have won, in recent years, several Hart Merit awards for introducing new LWD technologies to the industry, but have also taken the lead in the HT (high temperature) and UHT (Ultra high temperature) arenas. Just recently, our Malaysia operations mobilised our 230°C system for an IOC to address their exploration project technical challenges.

Weatherford: The Weatherford tools have been designed to provide the best data possible from the most reliable platform in the industry. In real terms this means the fastest logging speed on individual sensors delivering a better understanding of the reservoir in real time. Sonic logging tool while drilling provides the information on physical and mechanical properties of formation in real time, and Azimuthal LWD techniques update formation structure. Formation tester while drilling allows obtaining the information on formation pressure in real time as well.

Recently in Western Siberia, the LWD tools were used to ensure that the wellbore was placed in the optimum position for maximum economic recovery. It was made possible due to receiving simultaneous recording of technological and geophysical parameters including gamma-ray logging, average well diameter, neutron porosity, bulk density and electromagnetic logging, as well as Azimuthal density logging for geosteering. By logging during the drilling process not only were rapid decisions on wellpath made to ensure efficient geosteering to stay in the most productive zone, but more accurate reservoir characteristics were available due to the availability of the measurements before formation damage occurred, so allowing informed decisions on completion design to be made. In addition, in previous wells, pipe conveyed logging was used and took around 30 hours of additional rig time, so by using LWD an immediate time and cost saving was made.

Schlumberger: Schlumberger LWD tools offer the highest standards of reliability in the industry and a comprehensive suite of formation evaluation measurements including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), sourceless neutron and density, as well as formation pressure and fluid mobility to cover the entire customer workflow.

On Sakhalin, a full suite of LWD tools is run in wells 12-km long and with targets at the bottom of just 4-meters in thickness.

Such accuracy and technical depth is needed by our customers to obtain the maximum recovery factor out of their reservoirs.

Baker Hughes: In our region LWD technology became very popular recently as some clients recognized the value of timely acquired data. Such projects include increasing drilling efficiency (longer wellbores, higher ROPs) through use of LWD tools, maximizing reservoir penetration in complex geological conditions with Reservoir Navigation Service including Azimuthal Resistivity Service (AziTrak), reducing cost through replacement of wireline logging with LWD TripleCombo BHA. We have also had a project in the Yamal area, where high technology LWD tools helped to successfully drill deep exploration wells in harsh conditions. The window between pore-pressure and frac-gradient were very close to each other. Here we used SoundTrak (Compressional and Share velocity acoustic) and TestTrak (Formation Pressure while Drilling) along with resistivity and pipe/annular measurement to calculate the optimul mud-weight and circulating rates in order to control Equivalent Circulating Density.

GE Oil&Gas: The combination of gamma ray and resistivity measurements from multiple diameters of investigation enables our customers to provide solutions for each of the key LWD drivers — risk reduction through enabling casing and coring point selection while drilling, accurate wellbore placement through geosteering using real-time resistivity measurements and comprehensive formation evaluation from wireline-quality memory logs.

GE delivered 89 mm diameter propagation wave resistivity tools and associated gamma and directional MWD systems to an independent service provider in Russia, allowing them to provide LWD services in horizontal wells and sidetracks.

What are the major problems associated with running LWD tools? How can these be minimized?

Halliburton: There are several challenges to successfully operating LWD systems, but the two main that come to mind are the logistics involved in ensuring all the correct competent personnel and differing LWD sensors are at the jobsite, ready to go.

The main equipment that can have an effect on the success of LWD operations is the rig. The rig crews can be trained on the handling of the LWD strings which can help in the pipe handling, but the flow system and especially mud pumps efficiency (noise) can greatly improve the quality of service provided, as this can affect the real-time transmission data acquisition. Solids control is also highly critical if it is not checked regularly. It can reduce the downhole operating life of the system. The transport of the RAS sources are also a factor, with the logistical and HSE issues involved during transportation. Dedicated certified vehicles and drivers are required to ensure the timely delivery of resources to the rig locations countrywide.

Weatherford: The LWD tools have to operate in the harshest of environments, so delivery of a reliable and robust system is a must. Weatherford’s HEL tools have been designed to operate at an actual equipment temperature of 180°C and 30,000 psi and to be resistant to a high level of sustained vibration. These qualifications ensure a very reliable product that delivers data to the client whenever he needs it. This rugged design does not compromise the quality or accuracy of the measurement themselves. The tools themselves allow an insight into downhole conditions and by reacting to the downhole data positively and by ensuring the drilling fluid stays in condition the ability to get quality data can be maximised. Finally in providing the LWD operators with the proper training and competencies, the complexity of the system is minimised as a source of possible problems.

Schlumberger: The major challenge with running LWD tools versus wireline tools is overcoming the drilling environment. LWD tools are extremely sophisticated measurement devices that must operate in a dynamic and often hostile environment with shocks & vibrations (S&V) and pressure & temperature. These issues can be minimized at the tool design stage with years of experience in engineering, manufacturing, and sustaining teams. During the well construction, success is achieved with strong technical support available at the bottomhole assembly design phase, trained wellsite personnel during the drilling, and proper review and feedback during post job analysis.

Baker Hughes: The major problems with running the LWD services usually occur as a result of not considering the affects of other BHA components and the drilling environment can have on the LWD measurements. Parameters such as very high drilling dynamics (stick-slip), the mud system make-up, or both can impact the quality of the LWD measurements.

To understand downhole drilling environments and minimize its influence to LWD components Baker Hughes, as a part of integrated pre-well planning process, uses BHA modeling software (BHASys Pro) to evaluate and predict any factors that might influence to LWD tools to ensure a fit-for-purpose solution is achieved for drilling and evaluating the well.

GE Oil&Gas: One of the main challenges with running LWD tools is ensuring the bottom hole assembly is designed so as to deliver the required directional drilling control, while also providing sufficient stabilization to prevent damage to the LWD tool string. In most cases LWD tools are designed to be operated while centralized within the borehole, so it is crucial that sufficient stabilization is taken into consideration while planning the bottom hole assembly. The GE resistivity tool has wear bands throughout the length of the tool to minimize the chances of wear around the antennae.

Another challenge commonly associated with running LWD tools is depth control. In order to ensure the sensor depth remains accurate, the field operator must regularly monitor the bit depth and ensure the correct sensor to bit offset is applied in the logging software. Methods of maintaining depth control include checking the depth at tool joints and when switching between rotary drilling and sliding.

Regional O&G frontier boundaries are being pushed further into harsh environments. How will your LWD tools cope with the challenges of these harsh conditions?

Halliburton: Short Answer – Very Well. Our focus over several years has been to continually expand the operating envelope of our systems to support the deepwater type operations as well as HP/HT. Our temperature range has been expanded to 230°C and our systems regularly operate at 30,000psi. As these new technologies are introduced and adopted by the industry, additional sensors from R&D are advancing through the design and test phases to expand the capabilities of these extreme LWD systems, offering more choice and solutions to our customers.

Weatherford: As we push the boundaries, the associated costs for the operators increase, so it is essential that the LWD tools have the reliability and measurement capability to meet these challenges. As stated above, Weatherford has an LWD system that has a globally proven track record of reliably delivering under the most extreme of conditions. To date, more than four million sensor feet have been drilled at temperatures above 150°C (the accepted lower limit of HT). Weatherford also have the first and still the highest temperature rated Rotary Steerable system at 180°C, which allows for delivery of the LWD system into these challenging wells. However, Weatherford has not stood on our laurels, instead we have continued to improve our understanding of these extreme environments and have a development project ongoing to deliver equipment capable of operating to an equipment temperature of 200°C.

Schlumberger: Schlumberger LWD tools are designed to work in the harshest conditions. Today, we operate in high temperature environments as well as high pressure wells with good success. Our tools are manufactured to the highest standards and then tested rigorously to withstand shocks, temperature and other hostile well conditions.

It is true that reservoirs are being developed with more challenging conditions than before. To meet these challenges, it requires a company prepared to invest significantly in technology and training. Schlumberger today invests more than 1 billion USD in research and development per year, which is more than all our major competitors combined.

Baker Hughes: Baker Hughes LWD tools are already being run in harsh environments around the world. We have worked to ensure we have the highest reliability in the industry. Additionally, most of our LWD tools are already capable of operations to 30kpsi, 2070 bar. The next step is to increase the operating temperature from 150°C to 175°C. We have already done this for our AutoTrakG3™ platform, which includes our AutoTrak™ rotary steerable system and our OnTrak™ fully integrated MWD/LWD tool, which provides real time Directional, Gamma, MPR™ resistivity, downhole pressure and vibration measurements from a single sub. The next tool to be upgraded to 175°C will be our LithoTrak™ LWD porosity system which provides fully compensated and environmentally characterized neutron porosity, compensated density, Pe and acoustic borehole caliper measurements. With AutoTrakG3™ and LithoTrak™ combination, we can offer clients rotary steerable with triple-combo in wells up to 30Kpsi and 175°C.

GE Oil&Gas: The GE MWD and LWD system is rated to 175°C with proven performance under high-temperature conditions. The collar-based resistivity tool is designed and tested to provide accurate resistivity measurements at temperatures up to 175°C, with a survival temperature of 185°C, and to withstand pressures up to 138 MPa. The gamma module features innovative shock and vibration protection techniques, as well as minimizing the number of components in order to improve reliability in harsh drilling conditions.

GE is at the forefront of sensor technology and continues to develop high-temperature sensors to operate within LWD technology.

Mike McKay, Senior Country Manager for Russia Operations, Halliburton 
Mike has been with Halliburton Sperry Drilling for 25 years and has progressed through to his current role as Senior Country Manager for Russia Operations area. He previously held several position in Asia, most recently, as Country Manager of Indonesia, and previously Indochina. Mike has been involved in MWD and LWD operations since 1985, and progressed to become the Global Technical Support manager for the Sperry MWD & LWD product lines.

Sergey Shaikhutdinov, Chief Geophysicist, Weatherford
Sergey Shaikhutdinov graduated from Ural State Mining and Geological Academy in 1997, where he specialized in development of mineral deposits. He started his career as a Metrology Engineer based in Yekaterinburg before joining OJSC “Tatneftegeofizika” as Lead Geophysicist. During this period he was responsible for the interpretation of logging data for many operators, gaining extensive experience operating in the fields of both Western and Eastern Siberia and the Perm Region. Sergey joined Weatherford in 2010 and is currently based in Izhevsk and holds the position of Chief Geophysicist, as part of which he is responsible for LWD data quality and interpretation.

Kevin Wagner, Operations Manager of Russia & Central Asia offshore, Drilling & Measurements, Schlumberger
Kevin Wagner is the operations manager of Russia & Central Asia offshore for Drilling & Measurements, Schlumberger. In his current position, Wagner manages various activities and challenges offshore. He began his career with Schlumberger in 1997 and since then, has worked in many different operating environments including land activities in Canada and United States and offshore deepwater West Africa. Wagner graduated in 1996 from SAIT Polytechnic in Canada with a degree in petroleum engineering.

Atle Løge, Vice President Drilling and Evaluation, Russia Caspian Region, Baker Hughes
Atle Loge has 25 years of experience with Baker Hughes. Mr. Loge has a background in Wireline Operations and have served Baker Hughes in a variety of field and operational management roles throughout Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Prior to joining Baker Hughes Russia Caspian Atle Loge was responsible for Baker Hughes LWD product Line in Houston. He has extensive experience in international operations management, product centre marketing LWD, remote start-up and support, field and maintenance in open and cased hole Wireline services.

Nikolay Kutsenko, Region Manager for Downhole Technology, GE Oil&Gas
Nikolay Kutsenko joined GE Oil&Gas more than a year ago as a Region Manager for Downhole Technology business. During this period he reopened relations with the key customers, updated the sales and sales support team and found a long term strategic opportunities for the business. Before he joined GE he was Country Manager of Seismic Micro-Technology of Russia and the CIS region. He opened the Moscow office to cover both sales and technical support operations for the region. Prior to SMT, Mr. Kutsenko worked for Halliburton/Landmark as a senior account manager. He has over 9 years experience in the oil and gas industry as a technical specialist and in sales. Mr. Kutsenko graduated from Moscow State University and has a PhD in mathematics. He is also one of the co-authors of three geophysical patents.


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