Surface monitoring of downhole vibrations, a promising way to improve drilling efficiency, has been the subject of growing recent interest. While the history of vibration monitoring in Russia has been similar to that of Europe, with an initial focus on the effects of lithology, it was subsequently developed into a solution for problems relating to turbodrilling efficiency, the common approach to drilling in Russia. Elf Aquitaine, in France, commenced work for real-time lithological recognition from surface vibrations in the 1960s; drilling optimization evolved as a further application using their Dynametre. ARCO Oil and Gas Company developed a very similar technology to Elf, focussed initially on reducing premature fatigue failures in the drillstring and bit.

All three approaches are now being synergistically combined through cooperation in this area, and contain many identical elements, both in theory and practice, which highlight the basic common physics of these measurements. Field examples of each approach, and practical applications of this technology are presented. A combination of all of the above techniques will improve the contribution made by surface vibration monitoring to drilling optimization.

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