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Directional Drilling – Technology,
Developments and Achievements
Martin Cox CEng FIMMM
Aberdeen Drilling Management (ADM)
...
Outline
• Early oil industry drilling (1885 – 1930’s)
• Early Survey practice
• Oil & gas drilling/surveying developments ...
Early Oil Industry Drilling
• Small scale shallow drilling water/salt/oil
recorded for centuries.
• Oil from seepages – ma...
Oil drilling expansion into
20th
Century
• Spindletop, Beaumont, Texas strikes
oil 10th
January 1901.
• Identified as an a...
Early Oil Industry drilling
• Early drilling in areas with history of seepage
• Percussive drilling initially utilised (e....
Route to Directional Drilling - Surveying
1920’s to 70’s
• Several lawsuits allege wells may not all be vertical – deliber...
Route to Directional Drilling
1920’s to 70’s
• Rotary drilling establishes principles for equipment configuration of Botto...
Directional Drilling Developments
1980’s & 1990’s
Drivers
• Need to increase recovery efficiency
Increase exposed section ...
• Straight Hole
Applications, e.g.
Freeze Hole Drilling
e.g. Selby project
To drill holes to tighter
tolerance
Directional...
1970’s Directional Drilling BHA
Two modes of operation:
•Sliding (steering) -
Drillstring is non-rotating
and bend is orie...
1980’s Directional Drilling BHA
80’s Directional Assembly:
Bent housing motor – changeout at surface
Major advancement - C...
1990’s DD BHA
• Bent Sub adjustable at surface (AKO).
• Can drill in rotary or sliding to change angle.
• Continuous MWD s...
Directional well design & surveying
Directional Survey
• Measured Depth (MD)
• Angle (from vertical)
• Azimuth
• True Vert...
Ellipse of Uncertainty
Potential location of the
wellbore when the
Accuracy of the survey
methods are applied
To the well ...
Brent Field
1970’s
4 platforms
NEIMME - Tyneside
NEIMME – N-U-T CS
1980’s field development
Directional Drilling enables greater reservoir access
Extending the reach
BP Wytch Farm – South Coast UK (Dorset)
1990’s Towards ERD
• Wytch farm near to shore development of 200mm bbl field
• World record well set late 90’s at 10.1km (...
ERD and on to Ultra Extended reach Drilling
Rotary Steerable – Push the Bit
Rotary Steerable – Point the Bit
Directional Drilling in the 21st
Century – Rotary
Steerable Systems
• Directional Drilling while rotating the pipe
• More ...
How far can we go?
Reach limited by
• Torque – limited by
strength of tubulars and
tool joints and is directly
related to ...
Martin Cox - Directional Drilling - technology, development and achievements 8th december 2016
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Martin Cox - Directional Drilling - technology, development and achievements 8th december 2016

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Presented to the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (8 Dec 2016).

At the end of the 19th Century oil well drilling was a slow process, based on a variety of mining based innovations, combined and adapted to access simple, close to surface reserves. The Spindletop discovery, Beaumont Texas 1901, utilised the rotary drilling process to access a reservoir at +/- 1,000ft, and the Texas Oil Boom soon made the USA the world's leading oil producer.

As the demand for oil and gas increased, the industry faced increasing challenges, the drilling process has required major advances to meet demand and keep the industry competitive. The development of directional drilling technology has had a major impact on the industry’s ability to access smaller, more complex reserves with increasing environmental constraint. Accessing unconventional reserves such as geothermal energy and carbon capture developments will require its use.

Martin Cox began in 1979 as an NCB Student Apprentice in the South Nottinghamshire Area. Graduating in Mining Engineering he joined the offshore oil industry. His 30 years in well engineering activities, overseas & the UK, includes commercialisation and development of directional drilling & related technologies in use today. Now with Aberdeen Drilling Management (ADM) engaged in investment, application of
expertise and technology, with a view to future energy requirements and environmental challenges. Martin is President elect for the Institute IOM3 2017/18.

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Martin Cox - Directional Drilling - technology, development and achievements 8th december 2016

  1. 1. Directional Drilling – Technology, Developments and Achievements Martin Cox CEng FIMMM Aberdeen Drilling Management (ADM) 8th December 2016
  2. 2. Outline • Early oil industry drilling (1885 – 1930’s) • Early Survey practice • Oil & gas drilling/surveying developments (up to late 1970’s) • Improvements in drilling/surveying technology • Oil & Gas industry developing deviated drilling (1980’s & 90’s) • Refining deviated drilling technology for he 21st Century: Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) Ultra Extended Reach Drilling/UERD
  3. 3. Early Oil Industry Drilling • Small scale shallow drilling water/salt/oil recorded for centuries. • Oil from seepages – many areas mainly for lamp fuel. • 19th Century whaling industry for lamp fuel. Oil industry competes with and replaces by end 19th century). • Oil industry begins 1859, Titusville, Pennsylvania . USA. •‘Colonel’ Edwin L Drake (former railroad conductor). • Attempts to mine near oil seeps – floods. • Adapts technique for salt drilling using iron ‘drive pipes’ to drive through shale to oil deposit. • Discovers oil at 69 ½ ft – 400 gallons (approx 10 bbls) • Oil boom in Western Pennsylvania – production up to thousands of barrels a day (oil price collapses)
  4. 4. Oil drilling expansion into 20th Century • Spindletop, Beaumont, Texas strikes oil 10th January 1901. • Identified as an area with high oil potential by sulphur springs & bubbling gas • Utilises rotary drilling & use of drilling mud to drill deeper (1,139ft/347m). • 1st well comes in at 100,000 bbl/day (35 Imp gal/bbl 42 us gal/bbl) •Spindletop boom results in 600 companies formed by 1902 with 285 wells in the field (Founding of Amoco, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil, Texaco) • US becomes world major oil producer • Overcapacity in US market - drinking water 5 cents/drink ($1/gal) - Oil 3 cents/bbl (0.1 cents/gal) • Peak production 1927 @ 21 million bbls/day. • Spindletop productive to 1956 and then mined for sulphur to 1975.
  5. 5. Early Oil Industry drilling • Early drilling in areas with history of seepage • Percussive drilling initially utilised (e.g. Titusville 69 ½ ft) • Deeper /more productive wells – rotary drilling establishes its self (to present day) (Spindletop >1,000ft) • Oil often found (in NA) when looking for water for agriculture • Rotary drilling includes use of mud (fluid) in the well at all times. Cutting removal/hole stability/cooling/formation fluid containment • Surveying – Limited to depth (Measured Depth)
  6. 6. Route to Directional Drilling - Surveying 1920’s to 70’s • Several lawsuits allege wells may not all be vertical – deliberate or otherwise crossing lease/reservoir boundary • Small diameter tools developed to survey wells • Survey requires: 3 components measured at a given point: - Depth (Measured Depth) - Inclination - Magnetic Azimuth (problematic due to metal in well) • Azimuth solution from (gyroscopic compass) creates first survey company ‘Sperry Sun’ - Sperry Corporation – aero navigation industry - Sunoil – Involved in several lawsuits ‘Slant Drilling Scandal – East Texas Oilfield’. (Deeper wells >3,000ft) • Surveying - Run during trip, later deployed by cable - Continual innovation 1930 – 70’s (acid etching / pendulum / photographic single and multi shot)
  7. 7. Route to Directional Drilling 1920’s to 70’s • Rotary drilling establishes principles for equipment configuration of Bottom Hole Assembly (BHA) - Prone to dill a crooked hole from the vertical - Prone to bring a crooked hole closer to the vertical • 1934 John Eastman innovation to reliably ‘kick off’ from the vertical using a whipstock. • Combined BHA designs and ability to survey makes directional drilling possible but considered arcane/specialist operation (e.g. Drilling relief well for a blow out) • Industry prefers to find new areas to exploit with vertical/conventional wells - 1950’s Industry exploratory rate 900 bbls/ft drilled where no previous oil/gas production - 1960’s Industry exploratory rate 200 bbls/ft drilled where no previous oil/gas production
  8. 8. Directional Drilling Developments 1980’s & 1990’s Drivers • Need to increase recovery efficiency Increase exposed section length through reservoir by drilling at angle through the reservoir. • Need to access reservoir/area of reservoir with limited or no vertical access Onshore – access limited by physical or environmental constraint Offshore – platform access to all areas of reservoir or adjacent reservoir • Reduce environmental impact and cost of surface facilities to handle production • Requirements not limited to oil & gas Innovations • Downhole Motor Development of turbo drill concept mud flow moves turbine which rotates bit with drill pipe stationary. (Frank Whittle – 1st Directional well 1950’s Gainsborough). Downhole Motor + Bent Sub enables Slide Drilling. (Ability to change angle without placing whipstock). • MWD (Measurement While Drilling) + Mud Pulse/EM Telemetry. Continuous well survey measurements taken downhole and transmitted to surface.
  9. 9. • Straight Hole Applications, e.g. Freeze Hole Drilling e.g. Selby project To drill holes to tighter tolerance Directional Drilling - Where? Freezing Agent Pumped Down Each Well “Perfect” Vertical Wells Equally Spaced
  10. 10. 1970’s Directional Drilling BHA Two modes of operation: •Sliding (steering) - Drillstring is non-rotating and bend is oriented in plane of directional change Early 1970’s POOH and change out to straight rotary assembly once angle built •Drilling ahead - Drillstring and motor body are rotated by late 70’s •Survey by cable deployed wireline tool. Late 70’s early survey transmission by mud pulse. •Trip out of well for change of bend (angle)
  11. 11. 1980’s Directional Drilling BHA 80’s Directional Assembly: Bent housing motor – changeout at surface Major advancement - Could rotate or slide MWD – for survey measurements Could survey in minutes (Higher data transmission rates – more information) Tools powered by lithium batteries Introduction of Evaluation Tools -Gamma Ray -Resistivity -Early Porosity Tools (Density & Neutron) -Acoustic Calipers
  12. 12. 1990’s DD BHA • Bent Sub adjustable at surface (AKO). • Can drill in rotary or sliding to change angle. • Continuous MWD survey data stream. • Higher accuracy survey measurements Reduced survey ellipse of uncertainty. • Full set of evaluation logs available Multiple Resistivity, Porosity (Density, Neutron, Sonic), Acoustic Caliper, fracture imaging pressures • Ability to Geosteer in reservoir • Continuous data stream to surface Mud pulse or EM telemetry at up to 200 bps (theoretical), usually 30-70 bps range, <10bps @10km • Downhole Positive Displacement Motors/Turbines in BHA Greater reliability • New generation of bit technology for directional drilling activities Design & Materials technology
  13. 13. Directional well design & surveying Directional Survey • Measured Depth (MD) • Angle (from vertical) • Azimuth • True Vertical Depth (TVD) • Vertical Section – displacement from surface location • Trajectory • Directional Terms • Build Rate – how fast angle is increased • Tangent – section of well where angle is constant • Drop Rate – how fast angle is decreased • Walk rate – natural turn in a well path • Dog Leg Severity – measure of rate of change of angle • Rotate Vs. Slide – drilling term • Ellipse of uncertainty
  14. 14. Ellipse of Uncertainty Potential location of the wellbore when the Accuracy of the survey methods are applied To the well path. “Cone” represents range of wellbore locations .If directional survey errors are applied.
  15. 15. Brent Field 1970’s 4 platforms NEIMME - Tyneside NEIMME – N-U-T CS
  16. 16. 1980’s field development Directional Drilling enables greater reservoir access
  17. 17. Extending the reach
  18. 18. BP Wytch Farm – South Coast UK (Dorset)
  19. 19. 1990’s Towards ERD • Wytch farm near to shore development of 200mm bbl field • World record well set late 90’s at 10.1km (now exceeded) • Further development of Direction Drilling Technology • Identification of future industry requirement for ERD/UERD drilling - Field development with less surface disturbance - Cost & environmental impact reduction at acceptable risk level • Oil and gas industry sets out requirement to be able to directionally drill in rotary – The Rotary Steerable System
  20. 20. ERD and on to Ultra Extended reach Drilling
  21. 21. Rotary Steerable – Push the Bit Rotary Steerable – Point the Bit
  22. 22. Directional Drilling in the 21st Century – Rotary Steerable Systems • Directional Drilling while rotating the pipe • More time on bottom making hole • Continuous survey data transmission • Faster ROP / Better hole cleaning along reach • Smoother wellbore (eases completion phase) • Operational Cost $30K - $40K/day • Cost around $3m per assembly • Wells exceeding 15km have been drilled • Wells of up to 18km are planned
  23. 23. How far can we go? Reach limited by • Torque – limited by strength of tubulars and tool joints and is directly related to length of hole. • Power to the bit – deeper depths or longer step outs require more power to pump mud that distance and remove cuttings from the hole. 20km by 2015?

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