Look Ahead of the Bit While Drilling: Potential Impacts and Challenges of Acoustic Seismic While Drilling in the McMurray Formation
- Siavash Nejadi (University of Calgary) | Nasser Kazemi (University of Calgary) | Jordan A. Curkan (University of Calgary) | Jean Auriol (Université Paris-Saclay) | Paul R. Durkin (University of Manitoba) | Stephen M. Hubbard (University of Calgary) | Kristopher A. Innanen (University of Calgary) | Roman J. Shor (University of Calgary) | Ian Donald Gates (University of Calgary)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- October 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 2,194 - 2,205
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- blind deconvolution, seismic while drilling, well placement, McMurray Formation, steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD)
- 20 in the last 30 days
- 42 since 2007
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The oil and gas industry, operating and service companies, and academia are actively searching for ways to look ahead of the drill bit while drilling to reduce the risks and costs of the operation and improve the well-placement process. Optimal drilling in challenging and highly heterogeneous reservoirs, where geological data cannot adequately constrain high-frequency variations in rock properties, requires reliable subsurface information from around and ahead of the drill bit. To provide this, we have developed a seismic-while-drilling (SWD) imaging algorithm using signal processing, drillstring modeling, and prestack wave-equation migration.
To extend the visibility ahead of the bit, we use the drill bit as a seismic source and image the changes in acoustic properties of rocks both around and ahead of the drill bit. The common practice is to build reverse vertical seismic profile (R-VSP) gathers. Here, we use a blind deconvolution algorithm to estimate the drill-bit source signature from the data directly. Alternatively, we can estimate such a signature through drillstring modeling and surface measurements (i.e., hookload and hook speed). The drillstring dynamics are modeled and analyzed using Riemann’s invariants and a backstepping approach in a field-verified model. Next, we enter the estimated source signature into the prestack wave-equation depth-imaging workflow. Our simulations show that providing the drill-bit source signature to the prestack wave-equation depth migration consistently delivers reliable subsurface images around and ahead of the drill bit.
The output of our workflow is a high-resolution subsurface image, which is then applied to provide vital information in oil-sands reservoirs for placement of steam-assisted-gravity-drainage (SAGD) well pairs. Compared with conventional practices, the proposed methodology images around and ahead of the drill bit enable interactive decision making and optimal well placement. The key feature of the presented methodology is that instead of cross correlating the SWD data with the pilot trace and building R-VSP gathers, we use the estimated drill-bit source signature and deliver high-resolution prestack depth-migrated images.
Through numerical modeling, we tested the potential impacts, validity, and challenges of the proposed methodology in drilling horizontal wells in SAGD settings with an emphasis on the McMurray Formation. We further compared the results with the conventional drilling practice. In contrast to existing tools that have limited depth of penetration, interpreting SWD data in real time confidently maps key target features ahead of the drill bit. This imaging workflow provides sufficient time to precisely control the borehole trajectory and stay within the desired reservoir zone. Accordingly, it mitigates the risk of intersecting mudstone-filled channels and lean zones.
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