In directional drilling, MWD technology is applied to transmit directional and petrophysical data from downhole. In combination with modern directional drilling tools such as rotary steerable systems, MWD technology has enabled the drilling of complex 3D well profiles precisely placed in the reservoir. However, even on these high-tech wells the drilling process itself is still controlled mainly using traditional surface acquired data such as hook load, ROP, RPM etc.

The transmission and utilization of downhole drilling process data in addition to the surface logging data offer a not yet fully explored potential for drilling process optimization, since modern data acquisition technology close to the bit can provide not only more accurate data but also important additional parameters not available at the surface. Examples of value-adding downhole drilling process data are annulus pressure, weight-on-bit, drillstring bending, RPM, bit torque and dynamics diagnostics. Additional drilling process information on drilling hydraulics or drillstring friction can be obtained by feeding drilling engineering algorithms with downhole and surface acquired data.

The paper provides an overview of the available downhole drilling process data and demonstrates with numerous case studies the value that these parameters add. Furthermore, the paper discusses factors constraining the use of the technology and gives an outlook on future developments in drilling process optimization utilizing real-time downhole data.

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