If It Is So Easy, Why Dont You Come Do It Yourself? A Response to What I Wish My Geologist Knew About Drilling: A Drilling Engineers View of Geosteering Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2017, Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC). With few exceptions, the justification for drilling a horizontal oil-gas well is rather simple - make a relatively thin, sub-economic reservoir into a much thicker, highly productive one by exposing much more reservoir to the bore hole. A critical element, therefore, is keeping the well bore in the right stratigraphic interval. That is geosteering, more properly called stratigraphic geosteering. Money-disposal wells, frac sand disposal wells, and cement storage facilities require little skill or collaboration, but a successfully geosteered horizontal well is always a collective effort involving pre-drill, while-drill, and post-drill input from geoscience and engineering disciplines. While the team's goal is usually a commercially productive well, the various individuals' goals might really be keeping one's job, receiving bonus pay, earning a raise, and maybe climbing the corporate ladder into a role that does not involve phone calls from a drilling rig at every hour of every day. As noted in this paper's predecessor in 2016 (Noynaert 2016), costly obstacles frequently lurk in the interface between engineering and geology professionals, especially when considering individual-level goals and performance metrics. This paper is intended to simply address what geo-scientists wish their managers and drilling engineering counterparts understood better about real-world geosteering. An honest geoscientist might summarize geosteering challenges this way, Only God can actually see down there, and He's not talking about it! Specifically, we seek to present an overview of pre-drill geologic uncertainty (structural and stratigraphic); while-drill geologic uncertainty of both types; positional uncertainty inherent in directional surveys which drive more geologic uncertainty; MWD - LWD data quality and reliability issues; and organizational challenges of at least three types. Too often there is an expectation that the geosteering professionals' decisions are exact and should have no error. This should not be the case as petroleum engineers, in any operational or managerial role, deal with uncertainty on a daily basis. It is true that this paper, along with Noynaert's paper, is purposely intended to slightly antagonize the geosteering team - geology, engineering, directional companies, surface loggers, or rig crews. But this is not the main goal and is not intended to do so simply to stir the pot. Instead, the real goal is to shed realism on the whole process in hopes of more collaborative, efficient, and economically successful wells. The hoped for result is a genuine discussion that leads to changes in the way the geosteering process works within a given company. As noted in the previous paper, the geosteering process is one is truly requires a team and simply cannot be effective if one part of the team is not functioning. Noynaert illustrated this concept using the fire triangle of geosteering (Fig. 1). One of the authors has spent over a decade training a great many geosteering professionals, and much of what follows will be as unsettling and annoying to some geosteerers as it is to their engineering counterparts, managers, and directional service providers. The authors must be clear that there is no blame to be placed. Instead, there needs to be clear understanding around what is truly limiting and confounding the geosteering process in many of today's operations, both in terms of understanding the issues facing each involved discipline as well as workflows which can be changed for the better.

name of conference

  • Proceedings of the 5th Unconventional Resources Technology Conference

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of the 5th Unconventional Resources Technology Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • Woodward, R., & Noynaert, S.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Woodward, Raymond||Noynaert, Sam

publication date

  • January 2017