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Geologix -saving money with WITSML

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Drilling data software provider Geologix had a customer which plugged and abandoned a well, which it would have decided to produce, if it had received the right data faster, using WITSML Samit

Sengupta, managing director of Geologix, a UK company making software to manage geological data from the rig site, told a story about a company which ended up plugging and abandoning a well they had just drilled, on the basis of a partner's information, but regretted it later.

He was speaking at the Oct 24th Digital Energy Journal conference in Kuala Lumpur, 'doing more with drilling data'.

There were two companies involved in drilling the well, an operator based in South Asia, and a partner company in Europe. The well was vertical, in West Africa deep water.

After the well had been drilled, the partner company in Europe said that they thought its hydrocarbon zone was too small, and so it was not worth producing, and so it was plugged and abandoned.

But afterwards, the South Asia company got to see the complete well data. Afterwards, 'they said, 'this particular zone should have been tested because the economics stack up. There's sufficient oil for us,'' Mr Sengupta said.

The problem was that the two companies did not have the same idea of how big a hydrocarbon reservoir would make it worth producing.

The South Asia company was happier with a smaller zone than the European company.

'For the [European] partner it was a very small zone,' Mr Sengupta said.

The company in South Asia had received daily geological reports from the well in pdf format, but not live data which it could analyse. It only received the full data later.

A new system

Geologix was asked to implement a system which would provide the operator in South Asia with a live feed of drilling data from the well.

'One of the key components that were missing was the geological information,' Mr Sengupta said. 'They had the log data, but they didn't have the geological information to make their decisions that well.'

Geologix put together a system for geological data to go from the rig to a cloud server, and from there to the South Asia company's head office in WITSML format.
The data could then be sent onto the partner company in Europe by e-mail.

Altogether, the company in South Asia was interested in LWD data, which is the primary subsurface information; drilling parameters, and chromatograph data.

They also wanted geological information, including lithology tops, formation tops and descriptions, so they could make better decisions as the well was being drilled.

Data was being sent from the rig by service companies in WITS format, and converted to WITSML in the cloud server, to be sent onto the company's office, where it could be incorporated into software applications such as Petrel, which could do real time analysis of the data, making calculations such as net pay.

There was also a well site geologist analysing data, who was able to access the service company data from the cloud server as well.

The WITSML 'log object' was used to transfer curve (well log) data and sensor measurements. The WITSML 'mud log object' was used to transfer lithological (rock) information.

In the office, the company could see the data continually, rather than receive a report every morning.

64kbps of data bandwidth was made available for moving the data, including 182 channels of data; but it turned out that only 32 kbps was required, he said.

The system could be described as 'WITSML Lite', in that there was no grand infrastructure, just a fast method of getting the right information from the rig. 'We were aiming to minimize the data movement from the rig was based on what their requirements were,' Mr Sengupta said.

For example, 'the exploration manager just wanted to know the geological information in relation to the curve data that they were getting.'

'A lot of the real time, time based data was excluded, and that's how the bandwidth was kept to minimum.'

There have been many studies showing that by providing more data than you need, you can make decision making worse.

There was no need to send any additional equipment to the rig.

The cost of the system works out at £400 to £500 a day, compared to half a million dollars a day for the rig.

In the office, because all of the data is coming in a single stream using the same standard, developing software applications is much easier, and the data can be added easily to existing subsurface software applications, such as for reservoir modelling and petrophysical analysis, Mr Sengupta said.

The standard makes it easy to move data into different software systems, from different companies.

'One of the biggest benefits to us as a software developer is that we just concentrate on WITSML. The only updates you need to make to the software are when there are periodic changes to WITSML.'



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