A breakthough in directional drilling data management for large, multiplatform field developments is introduced. The need for accurate directional surveying has been recognized throughout the oil industry and new practices of survey data acquisition and quality control introduced which have resulted in the proliferation of survey and related data. Aspects of this data, namely its safety critical nature, its longevity, its redundancy and its volume, are discussed. The importance of correct management of this information to safe drilling and the avoidance of well collision are stated. Additional justification is made through the examples of planning and execution of the drilling program.

To date operators have attempted to manage directional drilling data through routes including paper files, mainframe and personal computer systems and contracting to directional drilling service companies. The failure modes of each mechanism are outlined.

The concept of a distributed, networked system of high performance personal computers to support directional drilling operations is introduced. Using suitable software the operator stores field, structure and slot geometries together with target details, slot to target allocations and all well plans and directional surveys. This database and all relevant engineering tools, for example survey computation, projection ahead, bottom hole assembly simulations and inter well clearances, are provided both in the office and at the rigsite. The requirement for local data storage to support high performance graphics and the problems of data replication and currency control which this implies are mentioned.

Finally, the utility of extending the rig to office network to provide a data feed to directional drilling contractors and the importance of technical prequalification of contractors in ensuring they can use this data is stated.

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