Hi-Tech Spotlight: What’s New in Downhole Geology

What’s new in downhole geology, you ask?

According to the advertising and press releases that are sent throughout the media, there’s a lot that’s new – more, in fact, than we could ever cover.

But since this is our annual Downhole Geology issue, we thought we’d take a look at some of the latest advancements in drilling, well-logging and other downhole innovations rolled out in recent months by a few industry heavy-hitters.

Weatherford

This development might be familiar to anyone who attended AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston early this year: Weatherford Petroleum Consultants AS announced the launch of its “Reveal 360” imaging technique.

They announced the new tech at ACE, but it’s only been commercially available since August.

Weatherford boasts that the new technique removes the blind spots from wireline wellbore images using what they call “Morphological Component Analysis” and “Sparse Representation,” which, company representatives said, is superior to the statistical-based approach used by competitors.

The process begins by decomposing the measured sections of the borehole wall into sparse representations of their morphological components using dictionaries of multi-scale, multi-orientation transforms – that’s the Morphological Component Analysis stage. Then, the representations are reconstructed using information from the dictionaries to fill in the gaps.

“Gaps between the pads of wireline tools provide images in which 30 to 50 percent of the wellbore data is missing,” explained AAPG member Peter Elkington, Weatherford Geoscience Development’s chief geoscientist. “With Reveal 360, our processing technique environmentally normalizes the image and then removes the gaps between pads, providing a complete view of your wellbore.”

LMKR

LMKR earlier this year introduced its Well Planning and GeoGraphix Pro software systems, which were exhibited at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists International Exposition and Annual Meeting in Denver recently.

LMKR GeoGraphix Pro is a new upgrade option to the company’s GeoGraphix 2014 geophysical and geological software.

The GeoGraphix 2014 includes several new bells and whistles over the previous version, including enhancements in velocity modeling, new 3-D visualization of fence diagrams, a larger user defined equation code window, multi-user concurrent access to external models, and unlimited attribute extraction.

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What’s new in downhole geology, you ask?

According to the advertising and press releases that are sent throughout the media, there’s a lot that’s new – more, in fact, than we could ever cover.

But since this is our annual Downhole Geology issue, we thought we’d take a look at some of the latest advancements in drilling, well-logging and other downhole innovations rolled out in recent months by a few industry heavy-hitters.

Weatherford

This development might be familiar to anyone who attended AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston early this year: Weatherford Petroleum Consultants AS announced the launch of its “Reveal 360” imaging technique.

They announced the new tech at ACE, but it’s only been commercially available since August.

Weatherford boasts that the new technique removes the blind spots from wireline wellbore images using what they call “Morphological Component Analysis” and “Sparse Representation,” which, company representatives said, is superior to the statistical-based approach used by competitors.

The process begins by decomposing the measured sections of the borehole wall into sparse representations of their morphological components using dictionaries of multi-scale, multi-orientation transforms – that’s the Morphological Component Analysis stage. Then, the representations are reconstructed using information from the dictionaries to fill in the gaps.

“Gaps between the pads of wireline tools provide images in which 30 to 50 percent of the wellbore data is missing,” explained AAPG member Peter Elkington, Weatherford Geoscience Development’s chief geoscientist. “With Reveal 360, our processing technique environmentally normalizes the image and then removes the gaps between pads, providing a complete view of your wellbore.”

LMKR

LMKR earlier this year introduced its Well Planning and GeoGraphix Pro software systems, which were exhibited at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists International Exposition and Annual Meeting in Denver recently.

LMKR GeoGraphix Pro is a new upgrade option to the company’s GeoGraphix 2014 geophysical and geological software.

The GeoGraphix 2014 includes several new bells and whistles over the previous version, including enhancements in velocity modeling, new 3-D visualization of fence diagrams, a larger user defined equation code window, multi-user concurrent access to external models, and unlimited attribute extraction.

The GeoGraphix Pro is an add-on (requiring a separate license purchase) that offers advanced 3-D visualization and high-resolution 3-D log templates, along with enhanced field planning capabilities designed for horizontal well plans.

LMKR also rolled out its new Well Planning software, which can be used in combination with GeoGraphix Pro to more easily create and edit directional surveys for individual wells or entire scenarios.

The company’s Well Planning software is designed to enable the creation of multiple well plans by streamlining and integrating data for “an easy day-to-day well planning workflow,” according to a company description.

Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes recently introduced a slew of new technologies and applications, including the commercial release of its “MultiNode” all-electric intelligent well system, which allows operators to remotely monitor and control a greater number of production zones in both cased and openhole completions.

Company representatives said the MultiNode system improves initial production rates and ultimate recovery by combating early water and gas breakthrough and actively balancing flow in production zones.

Primary components of the MultiNode system include active flow control device (AFCD) downhole valves, tubing-encased conductor (TEC) cable, and a surface control unit (SCU). Up to 27 AFCD valves can be run downhole, connected by a single TEC cable and controlled from the surface.

The MultiNode system can be adjusted after the well goes on production, unlike passive inflow-control devices, so the system can remain effective as fluid properties and reservoir conditions change. If water or gas breakthrough is detected in one part of the well, the AFCD in that zone can be choked back or closed completely to lock out water and gas via a single control line while the well is producing.

The surface controls can be accessed using a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) interface to remotely monitor and control production zones from virtually anywhere, and can continuously optimize production over a large number of zones without incurring unnecessary intervention costs.

Baker Hughes also recently announced the commercial release of its “AutoTrak eXact” high-build rotary steerable system, which was designed to improve directional control and borehole quality to help operators drill complex 3-D wells.

According to the company’s description, the system “combines high buildup rate capability with advanced logging-while-drilling (LWD) services, enabling optimized completions, improving drilling efficiency, and maximizing production potential.”

It’s their proprietary closed-loop steering control that makes the big difference in the precision of wellbore placement, enabling shorter curve sections up to 12 degrees per 100 feet.

Lastly, Baker Hughes in October announced the commercial release of its “SeismicTrak” seismic-while-drilling service, which provides precise measurements for reducing formation uncertainty and enables operators to hit their reservoir targets with greater accuracy.

The service delivers real-time seismic and waveform data that enables operators to adjust their well trajectory as necessary to avoid potential drilling hazards, the company said.

CGG and Baker Hughes

OK, almost lastly for Baker Hughes – the company also collaborated with CGG to develop a joint petrophysics software called “PowerLog Frac,” which CGG exhibited this fall at the Society of Petroleum Engineer’s Annual Technical Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The software offers “a streamlined set of tools and workflows that allow engineers to rapidly analyze parameters such as water saturation, permeability and porosity,” according to CGG’s description.

The technology is intended to replace manual calculations and spreadsheets, which can reduce to hours what would otherwise be days of petrophysical analysis to model multiple fracturing scenarios.

Baker Hughes will use PowerLog Frac in its pressure pumping operations to generate scenarios immediately and directly drive its fracture simulation design software.

CGG

Along with PowerLog, CGG also offers its “Statmin” geo-software for determining areas most prone to fracture stimulation.

What PowerLog is to petrophysics, Statmin is to statistical mineralogy.

“Statmin’s complete mineralogical model correlates with other petrophysical properties such as hydrocarbon volume and porosity,” reads a company description.

“Results are then used to compute an estimated fracability or brittleness curve for each well even if it lacks sonics of any kind, using only triple combo logs which consist of gamma ray, SP, resistivity log, density, neutron and photo electric factor.

“After brittleness estimation, engineers have petrophysics, mineral volumes, estimates of permeability and fracability in all of the project wells, built on estimation of those wells with core data. The final step is to use the mineral model with porosity and fluid volumes to construct a rock physics model calibrated to wells with dipole sonic logs. This rock physics model is then applied to surrounding wells without sonics to help design the best frac job for each well.”

Schlumberger

Schlumberger recently announced the release of its “Invizion Evaluation” well integrity service, which helps operators evaluate zonal isolation by using integrated drilling, cementing and well logging data.

“One key component in achieving zonal isolation is cementing, which can impact productivity, help prevent sustained casing pressure and annular flow, and mitigate loss of well control issues,” said Amerino Gatti, president of Schlumberger’s well services division. “The Invizion Evaluation service combines all available data from open hole, cementing placement and acoustic logs for cement evaluation in an integrated workflow.

“This service supports customer decision-making during the well construction and completion phases,” he added, “to help ensure a robust cement barrier.”

The Invizion Evaluation service uses real-time and post-job data to help identify zonal isolation issues that could impact well integrity, he added. To perform well, pad or field analysis, petrotechnical experts can evaluate drilling surface parameters, formation rock properties, cement barrier placement and cased hole cement evaluation logs.

Gatti also said it was field-tested in a range of locations, including offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska and in unconventional wells in the Eagle Ford formation and in Colorado.

Along with enabling customers to confirm that cement placement was achieved as planned, the Invizion Evaluation services also allowed them to identify zonal isolation issues, understand the short and long-term reasons the issues existed, and to minimize any potential impact on well integrity.

Halliburton

Halliburton’s Wireline and Perforating division rolled out its “CoreVault” system in recent months.

The system is intended to provide a more accurate volumetric picture of the amount of oil and gas trapped in unconventional reservoir rocks, allowing operators to contain and bring the reservoir fluids within rock samples to the surface, allowing in-place volume measurement of hydrocarbons.

“Prior to the development of the CoreVault system, when traditional coring tools were used to bring samples to the surface, they allowed 50 to 70 percent of the hydrocarbons to escape from the rock as the samples depressurized,” explained David Topping, vice president of Wireline and Perforating.

“Building a model of the volume of oil and gas in a reservoir thus required operators to estimate this fluid loss rather than measure the fluids in place, and estimates were often inaccurate,” he said. “By preserving 100 percent of the fluids within the core sample, the CoreVault system allows for an improved understanding of potential production within the reservoir.”

The system builds on the Halliburton Hostile Rotary Sidewall Coring Tool (HRSCT-B) that recovers 1.5-inch-OD cores at temperatures up to 400 F (204 C) and pressures up to 25,000 psi.

When combined with the HRSCT-B tool, CoreVault allows up to 10 cores to be sealed at reservoir conditions in a single wireline run, saving time over full-hole coring and allowing more targeted samples to be taken.

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