A survey program is designed for every well drilled to meet the well objective of penetrating the target reservoir and avoiding a collision with nearby offset wells. The selection of the wellbore survey tools within the survey program is limited in number and accuracy by the current surveying technologies available in the industry. This article demonstrates how a higher level of accuracy can be achieved to meet challenging well objectives when the accuracy of the most accurate wellbore surveying tools and technologies taken individually is insufficient.

This high level of wellbore positioning accuracy is achieved by combining two independent wellbore positions of the same wellbore trajectory. The first wellbore position is calculated using the latest technology of magnetic measurement-while-drilling (MWD) definitive dynamic surveys (DDS). The accuracy of the MWD DDS can be further improved by minimizing error sources such as misalignment of the survey package from the borehole, drillstring magnetic interference, the use of localized geomagnetic reference, using high-accuracy accelerometer sensors, and a high-accuracy gravity reference. Furthermore, the MWD DDS inclination accuracy is improved using an independent inclination measurement from the rotary steerable system. A first wellbore position is calculated from the magnetic MWD DDS after applying in-field referencing (IFR), multistation analysis (MSA), bottomhole assembly (BHA), sag correction (SAG), and dual-inclination (DI) corrections to improve both azimuth and inclination accuracy. A second wellbore position is calculated using gyro-MWD (GWD) technology.

The results and comparisons of multiple combined survey runs are presented. The highest accuracy of wellbore positioning had been proved in this successful case study by penetrating a very small reservoir target on an extended-reach well that was unfeasible using either the most accurate enhanced MWD DDS or GWD technology individually. The presented case study shows how the wellbore objectives of penetrating a very small reservoir target had been confirmed by logging-while-drilling images and the reservoir mapping interpretation of the client subsurface team. This gave a high-accuracy wellbore position during drilling and provided higher confidence in wellbore placement to maximize reservoir production without colliding with nearby offset wells.

Wellbore survey accuracy limits a borehole’s lateral and true vertical depth (TVD) spacing, constraining reservoir production in those sections. In the top and intermediate sections, wellbore survey accuracy limits how close the wellbore can be drilled to other offset wells due to collision concerns. This directly impacts the complexity of the directional work and the cost per section. Combining independent wellbore surveys unlocks the potential to improve the wellbore positioning accuracy significantly. It demonstrates the highest wellbore positioning accuracy that can be achieved to date compared with the latest magnetic MWD surveys after correcting all known errors or compared with GWD.

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