Due to lack of parity for azimuthal hold technology available in the country, trajectory control was an area of concern for UCR drilling operations in Vaca Muerta. To improve directional performance efficiency, an individual Business Partner recommended the piloting of a new firmware to best estimate the near bit rotating azimuth as a mechanism to enhance the steering head guidance capabilities. A series of tests were performed in different levels of Vaca Muerta to gather the data that could help to evaluate the effect of the azimuthal hold efficiency on performance. The process involved Business Partner azimuth hold firmware evolution and modifications to the drilling system design in order to enhance the directional control efficiency

The successful evolution of the azimuth hold firmware plus the changes in the drilling system design made possible to reduce accumulated tortuosity and increase ROP in more than 32% in Vaca Muerta laterals in the Loma Campana field. This made possible to reduce cycle time of the production section saving +40 hrs in drilling time and increasing tripping out and casing running speed by 6-10 hrs due to diminished tortuosity effect

Improvement of azimuth hold efficiency is paramount for the improvement of performance in the lateral sections in UCR plays. As the steering unit enhances its capabilities of directional control, ROP can be optimized because of lesser control drill to maintain trajectory. The benefits of improved trajectory control will result in a reduction of wellbore tortuosity, which will lead to benefits on decrease of wellbore placement uncertainty and improved reservoir navigation. The decrease in wellbore tortuosity through the minimization of micro-DLS also brings advantages on the optimization of future completion activity as there will be less wellbore friction that affects wireline and coiled tubing operations

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