Geomagnetic referencing uses the Earth’s magnetic field to determine accurate wellbore positioning essential for success in today’s complex drilling programs, either as an alternative or a complement to north-seeking gyroscopic referencing. However, fluctuations in the geomagnetic field, especially at high latitudes, make the application of geomagnetic referencing in those areas more challenging. Precise crustal mapping and the monitoring of real-time variations by nearby magnetic observatories is crucial to achieving the required geomagnetic referencing accuracy. The Deadhorse Magnetic Observatory (DED), located at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, has already played a vital role in the success of several commercial ventures in the area, providing essential, accurate, real-time data to the oilfield drilling industry. Geomagnetic referencing is enhanced with real-time data from DED and other observatories, and has been successfully used for accurate wellbore positioning. The availability of real-time geomagnetic measurements leads to significant cost and time savings in wellbore surveying, improving accuracy and alleviating the need for more expensive surveying techniques. The correct implementation of geomagnetic referencing is particularly critical as we approach the increased activity associated with the upcoming maximum of the 11-year solar cycle. The DED observatory further provides an important service to scientific communities engaged in studies of ionospheric, magnetospheric and space weather phenomena.

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