Faulting is one type of structural trap for hydrocarbon reservoirs. With more and more fields moving toward the brownfield or mature operations stage of life, the opportunity to target bypassed or attic oil in the vicinity of bounding fault(s) is becoming more and more attractive to operators.
However, without an effective logging-while-drilling (LWD) tool to locate and map a fault parallel to the well trajectory, it has been challenging and potentially high risk to optimally place a well to drain oil reserves near the fault. Operators often plan these horizontal wells at a significant distance away from the mapped fault position to avoid impacts to the well construction and production of the well. Often, the interpreted fault position, based on seismic data, can have significant lateral uncertainty, and uncertainties attached to standard well survey measurements make it challenging to place the well near the fault. This often results in the wells being placed much farther from the fault than expected, which is not optimal for maximizing recovery. In other cases, due to uncertainty in the location of the fault, the wells would accidentally penetrate the side faults and cause drilling and other issues. Conventional remote boundary detection LWD tools do not assist with locating the fault position, as they only detect formation boundaries above or below the trajectory and not to the side.
In this paper, the authors propose a novel approach for mapping features like a fault parallel to the well trajectory, which was previously impossible to map accurately. This new approach utilizes a new class of deep directional resistivity measurements acquired by a reservoir mapping-while-drilling tool. The deep directional resistivity measurements are input to a newly devised inversion algorithm, resulting in high-resolution reservoir mapping on the transverse plane, which is perpendicular to the well path. These new measurements have a strong sensitivity to resistivity in contrast to the sides of the wellbore, making them suitable for side fault detection. The new inversion in the transverse plane is not limited to detecting a side fault; it can also map any feature on the transverse plane to the well path, which further broadens the application of this technology.
Using the deep directional resistivity data acquired from a horizontal ultra-ERD well recently drilled in the Wandoo Field offshore Western Australia, the authors tested this approach against the well results and existing control wells. Excellent mapping of the main side fault up to 30 m to the side of the well was achieved with the new approach. Furthermore, the inversion reveals other interesting features like lateral formation thickness variations and the casing of a nearby well. In addition, the methodology of utilizing this new approach for guiding geosteering parallel to side fault in real time is elaborated, and the future applications are discussed.