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AAPG GEO 2010 Middle East
Geoscience Conference & Exhibition
Innovative Geoscience Solutions – Meeting Hydrocarbon Demand in Changing Times
March 7-10, 2010 – Manama, Bahrain

Next Generation Technologies for Underbalanced Coil Tubing Geo Steering

Anton Kozlov1; Shaker A. Khamees2; Julio C. Guzman Munoz2; Serve Frantzen1

(1) INTEQ, Baker Hughes, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

(2) Saudi Aramco, Udhailiyah, Saudi Arabia.

Technology improvements continue to advance the capabilities of coiled tubing directional drilling (CTDD) worldwide. The recent global increase in CTDD activity and the need for precise wellbore placement and monitoring of downhole parameters in advance underbalanced re-entry applications has led to the development of Bottom Hole Assemblies (BHA’s) with increasing functionalities. Saudi Aramco with its prevailing dedication to expanding the technological envelope has recently successfully completed the pilot phase of its first Underbalanced Coiled Tubing Drilling (UBCTD) project on the Haradh gas field. After the success of the pilot phase and with the project moving in to the next stage, impetus remains to further improve this economical re-entry technique through introduction of new coiled tubing tools and services.

Through the process of miniaturization and innovation, small-diameter rib steering system has been developed for CTDD and UBCTD. The introduction of this novel tool is aimed to help overcome the intrinsic hurdles of conventional CTDD and enhance geosteering capabilities of the CTDD BHAs.

The rib-steering technology has been successfully tested on the North Slope of Alaska and North Texas and was most recently introduced to the UBCTD project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Straighter horizontal laterals and improved steering in openhole sizes as small as 2 3/4-in. ID have consequently allowed improved precision in geosteering within the narrowest of payzone and extended lateral step-out capability.

This paper provides an overview of the Saudi Aramco UBCTD project, the new rib steering technology and the benefits realized on this project and potential benefits to other UBCTD projects. The paper also gives an account of several most recent deployments of the rib steering technology world wide, while focusing on the ongoing UBCTD project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which provides the perfect testing ground for new UBCTD technologies. The advances that can be achieved on this current project, and new UBCTD downhole technologies that can be developed through a close working relationship between the field operator and the service company, will be applicable in other mature gas and oil fields for the economical extraction of additional reserves.