Abstract

This paper describes how petrophysics and geomodeling, integrated with advanced well placement technology, can be used to optimize well trajectory in horizontal well drilling operations. We have simulated a 3D facies model of the Mulichinco Formation within a hydrocarbon field located in the Neuquen Basin (Argentina) by taking into account petrophysical, geological and geophysical data. The integrated approach allows to analysis of possible drilling scenarios and to prepare contingency plans in time for maximizing hydrocarbon production. We have also compared our simulated 3D models with the LWD data of an existing horizontal well in order to optimize well placement in real time and to reduce risks associated with drilling in non-pay zones. The results presented in this paper are complementary to the prior information available in the studied field from other conventional techniques.

Initially we tested the new approach on four existing horizontal wells, targeting shallow marine sandstones within the upper Mulichinco Formation (Valanginian), where an excellent match was observed between the predicted and actual facies encountered. We subsequently applied the technique by taking into account the data from 31 wells in the field. This new approach can be used to optimize well placement in any depositional environment (both onshore and offshore) by highlighting the geosteering hazards and ensuring that the wellbore is drilled inside the "sweet spot" and away from non-productive layers. The new approach and the associated horizontal well data also improve understanding of the distribution of facies and their geometrical configuration.

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