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Directional well profile: reservoir penetration section

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The penetration of the reservoir is the realization of the whole purpose of drilling the well, whether a producer or an exploration well. Therefore, correct placement of the well within the target zone is of utmost importance. Designing the penetration is clearly a major multidisciplinary task involving not only the drilling team but also geologists and reservoir engineers.

Penetration path

For some wells, a simple straight-line penetration may suffice to provide an economical flow. Sometimes the path should be brought back to vertical to assist in stimulation operations or to keep the well within a fault block. Increasingly, though, target penetrations can be very complex undertakings in operations that are:

  • High-cost
  • Arctic
  • Onshore extended-reach
  • Offshore-platform

At its most basic is the horizontal well; at the other extreme is the designer well.

There are two important aspects of reservoir penetration.

  1. Allowing for the effects of a wellbore position error on defining the target location.
  2. Placing the wellbore within the formation for maximum production efficiency.

Survey errors

The surveys used to calculate the well position always contain some errors. These errors result in a difference between the apparent location of the well, as derived from the survey data, and the actual location, which, by definition, is never known. The likely size of these errors can be quantified for different well locations, surveying methods, and wellbore shapes. These errors must be taken into account when defining the boundaries, or tolerances, around the target location. In extreme cases, such as extended-reach wells in the Arctic, the errors can be much greater than the size of the target unless special surveying techniques are employed. Under these conditions and even though the apparent position of the well is within the target, the actual location may be outside. When undetected, this misleading information can have a significant impact on understanding the geological model and can result in substantial losses of reserves. If detected, there may be the need to undertake a costly sidetracking operation to place the well correctly.


Noteworthy papers in OnePetro

Noteworthy books

"Mitchell, R. F., & Miska, S. (Eds.). (2011). Fundamentals of Drilling Engineering. Richardson, TX: Society of Petroleum Engineers. SPEBookstore and WorldCat

Fundamentals of Drilling Engineering"

External links

See also

Directional well profiles

Directional survey