Do you really know where your well and/or competitor’s wells are located in the subsurface?
Directional survey data is the critical well control information that provides control on the spatial positioning of drilled wells and their 2D/3D wellpaths. Geologists, geophysicists and engineers rely on properly located well paths for their diverse efforts. Very few in these disciplines would recognize the many ways wellpaths can be located incorrectly. As an interpreter, I was clueless about the issues of well path positioning.
There are two main issues adversely affecting those that use well path control. One is the issue on whether the maps or databases being used represent all the drilled wellpaths/wellbores. They almost never are complete – as a matter-of-fact most databases and resultant mapping efforts are missing 15-20% of the drilled wellbores. This clearly can affect interpretation, modeling, and evaluations.
Second, are the wells in the right place? It might be better to say, are they spatially correct, as there is also an important elements of depth and elevation that needs to be considered. Wellpath control is no better than the combination of all the spatial factors controlling that wellpath. If the starting point is wrong, ie at the surface location, the entire well path is wrong. The actual well path is controlled by several important parameters that will be reviewed.
Incorrectly positioned well path control can certainly adversely affect the efforts of geologists, geophysicists and engineers. Care needs to be taken to make sure well path control is complete and spatially correct. Else, they can also cause expensive, multi-millions dollar mistakes, like drilling wells in the wrong place ( sometimes on somebody else leases), decisions to lease the wrong acreage, and drilling wells that did not need to be drilled.
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