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With the current market’s high prices for drilling units and sophisticated directional and formation assessment services, low systems reliability or poor directional performance in the execution of complex wells (ERD, HPHT, Deep Water applications) can spell costly Non Productive Time (NPT) for operators. Over the past two decades, many Bottom Hole Assembly (BHA) models have been developed to address the directional performance issue, but their application in an operational environment has generally failed for lack of strong associated BHA analysis methodologies.

This paper presents a unique automated methodology for Post Analysis of BHA directional behavior. It is based on modern 3D analytical models, combining BHA, BIT and formation effects with highly flexible data management. Implemented in user-friendly BHA management software, it can be used to define a BHA run segmentation and to determine the influence of the BHA settings in particular geological formation blocks. The Post Analysis clearly displays the final results of the BHA (objectives and performances versus prediction window), highlighting any problematic intervals drilled.

Already, the methodology has solved challenging directional performances issues, generating significant savings and optimizing the learning curve process. The field applications referred to in the paper have demonstrated that, without a proper methodology, a model offers little added value. The examples discussed here from Total E&P affiliates deal respectively with Rotary, Rotary Steerable System (RSS) and Steerable Motor (SM) directional BHAs. Case studies have led to BHA and bit design modifications.

The results were well beyond expectations, ensuring good well positioning through the reservoir by improving BHA stability and maneuverability. Efficient drilling (reduced sliding, improved hole quality) was also achieved with a single SM BHA in 17 1/2" applications during kick-off, and successive build-up and slant drilling intervals. The methodology and its associated BHA Management® software have proved an undeniably valuable tool for the drilling community.

The model is also run at the well Pre Engineering stage to check BHA design proposals by making multiple sensitivity analyses and by fine-tuning solutions to the operational context. Finally, in an industry with high personnel turnover, the software’s global data management system ensures good capitalization of know-how and ongoing learning curve benefits.

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