Crossing the Technology Chasm: Seismic While Drilling
- Steve Jacobs (Decision Strategies) | John Donnelly (JPT Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 30 - 36
- 2011. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a multipart series examining key upstream technology challenges facing the oil and gas industry and the reasons for the lack of accelerated acceptance of technologies needed to exploit increasingly challenging drilling and production environments.
Like managed pressure drilling (MPD) covered in the first installment in this series (see February JPT), seismic while drilling (SWD) is an emerging drilling evaluation technology that many believe provide considerable value to the industry. While not on the market as long as MPD, SWD services are currently offered by several technology providers. As part of this joint analysis of new technology acceptance by Decision Strategies and JPT, an e-mail survey was conducted among approximately 250 SPE members located around the world. The vast majority of these respondents were operators and technology providers, with a good representation of drilling contractors, consultants, and academics also included.
SWD Value Proposition Analysis
Similar to the MPD market analysis, the survey started with the following question: “What are the main value propositions you see for seismic while drilling services?” As shown in Fig. 1, three value propositions were named with equal frequency:
- SWD utilizes geosteering capabilities to optimally place the wellbore
- The service allows the operator to correlate SWD data with other seismic
- The technology provides real-time look-ahead of the bit imaging.
There were no significant differences found between technology providers and operators as to the importance of the three value propositions. As stated by one respondent: “(SWD) will hugely increase the probability of cap rock as we can check the profile periodically and make changes with the help of directional drilling and other relative measures.” These value propositions were further addressed in an interview with Nils Edwards, product manager for Baker Hughes Seismic While Drilling Services. “Over 95% of all wells drilled are based on surface seismic, which has quite large uncertainties, especially in the high-risk subsalt markets,” he said. “By providing check shot and reflective information in real time, the operator can update their surface seismic even while drilling to lessen these uncertainties as the well is approaching the targeted zone. Adjustments can be made to hit the target in the optimal position.”
Other service companies interviewed also explained the significant potential value of SWD. “The emergence of deepwater drilling is adding more complexity in unknown fields,” said Jean-Marie Degrange, acoustic product champion of Schlumberger Drilling & Measurements. “Indeed, deepwater wells are also much more expensive while facing increasingly complex challenges. Our seismic while drilling technology provides bore-hole seismic data while the well is being drilled, which enables accurate time-to-depth conversion of surface seismic data without uncertainty on formation velocity down to the drill bit location. Measurements acquired using this technology offer a unique look-ahead capability without disrupting operations, which provides indications of the structures of reflecting horizons ahead of the bit to support drilling and well construction decisions.”
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