A revolution in drilling has emerged from a research project in the quiet, rolling hills of Bavaria. The KTB scientific drilling program has produced a superdeep borehole (9101 meters [29,859 feet]), and spun off innovative drilling technology and a wealth of new data about the earth's crust. Now, at the conclusion of the four-year project, we review the planning and drilling of the unique borehole, and the surprises encountered—some welcome, some not.
Seismic data used to be the lumbering giant of the oilfield. As recently as 1990, the turnaround of a seismic survey—from the first shot fired, to the first interpretable image—took more than a year. Today, the same project can take less than two months. Quick turnaround has become essential—it helps lower finding costs, reduces the number of wells drilled and leads to increased productivity. Doing more in less time is made possible by breakthroughs in seismic data acquisition, processing and communication.
Applying classic petrophysics to a carbonate reservoir is like attacking a Phillips screw with a regular screwdriver--progress is possible, but not without a struggle. Today, with carbonates producing nearly half the world's oil, geoscientists are honing new tools to understand these challenging reservoirs. We review basics of carbonate petrology and new logging methods that shed light on an old problem.
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