Wellbore surveying is critical while drilling in order to assure the drilled well is following the plan and is penetrating the geological target. Additionally, wellbore surveying is the key to allowing a well to be drilled safely, avoiding other wells drilled in the same field, and optimizing reservoir production. Standard wellbore surveying accuracy is increasingly inadequate for optimizing the well placement in real time to maximize the reservoir recovery due to maturity of the field. The other disadvantage of the standard wellbore surveying often requires running an additional wellbore surveying tool to improve the accuracy in order to manage the collision avoidance with nearby wells in the same field, introducing unwanted time and costs. Hence, this article presents the advanced wellbore surveying technology that is successfully implemented in offshore fields of Abu Dhabi to overcome the limitations of the standard surveying accuracy without compromising rig time.

Magnetic measurement while drilling (MWD) surveys are common standard and utilized in every directional well in this operation. To overcome the standard accuracy limitation, advanced survey correction to the magnetic MWD surveys is introduced. This includes in-field referencing to provide a higher resolution magnetic reference to calculate a more accurate well direction, correction to the effect of the steel components in the bottom hole assembly on the magnetic MWD surveys, correction to the errors associated with survey sensors calibration, and correction to any misalignment between the survey tool and the wellbore.

Correcting the surveys in real-time while drilling is the key to placing the well accurately and to avoid offset wells in the close proximity. The details of the corrections methodology are discussed. Advanced magnetic survey correction procedures in real-time are outlined and mapped out. Finally, results of improving the magnetic surveys while drilling in placing the wells and minimizing the collision risk of offset wells are presented. This advanced survey technology allows drilling previously un-drillable wells in these offshore fields, and the allowance for increased density of wells in the reservoir gives the operator opportunity to maximize production recovery and extend the life of reservoir.

Higher accuracy of wellbore surveys is an increasing requirement in mature fields to safely allow more accurately placed wellbores with the required production rates. This allows for improved well placement along the trajectory facilitating adjustment at control points and landing points to maximize the hydrocarbon production. In addition, it allows controlling the probability of collision with any nearby wells. The enhanced wellbore surveying accuracy is achieved by advanced magnetic survey corrections in real time. This is controlled by a stringent novel process and communication protocol in order to meet the accuracy objectives.

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