Continuous Inclination Measurements and BHA Modeling Help Detect Microdoglegs

Microdoglegs are a natural effect of any vertical or directional well that can explain a wide variety of downhole problems. A trajectory-prediction model able to calculate the inclination and azimuth approximately every 12 in. has been developed to estimate microdoglegs using standard surveys, bottomhole-assembly (BHA) data, and steering parameters. This new methodology combining downhole data measurements with drillstring-modeling analysis highlights the potential for drilling optimization and wellbore placement.

Wellbore Trajectory

Standard Surveys. Surveys are generally taken at an interval of every 95 ft, the length of one stand. While the general recommendation is to decrease the survey interval when building faster than 3°/100 ft, this is often neglected because there is no advantage seen in wellbore-positioning-uncertainty models.

The well path between each survey point typically is calculated using the minimum-curvature approach, which assumes a curve of equal angle along the surface of a sphere with only one radius in a 3D plane. Looking at the well as a whole, this approach appears logical and yields reasonable-looking trajectories; however, when examining more-frequent survey data, it becomes obvious how this method can mislead users to think that the well path is much smoother than it actually is. Continuous-survey measurements have enabled the industry to take a closer look at what is happening between survey points, in highlighting microdoglegs quite often undetected by standard surveys.

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