Industry Article: Continuous Inclination, Azimuth Measurement Optimizes RSS Control

Continuous automatic hold inclination, azimuth capabilities enhance automated steering, enable continuous directional measurement

powerdrive orbit archer drilling contractor
Publication: Drilling Contractor
Publication Date: 05/01/2014

When they were first introduced in the mid-1990s, rotary steerable systems (RSS) represented a significant step-change in directional drilling, revolutionizing the market to drill otherwise inaccessible fields, improving efficiency and project economics. Over the years, continued advances have expanded the operating window of RSS, with features that deliver greater reliability in increasingly challenging wellbores. Now, as the drilling industry moves toward greater automation, RSS has been further enhanced with the capability for automated steering in tangent sections, including the vertical and lateral sections. 

The new downhole steering and measurement algorithms are taking RSS to the next level in steering capability and downhole survey methods. Field tests in US shale plays, have shown the unique combination translates to improved well construction efficiency, resulting in cost and time savings to operators. 

The automated steering mode is enabled by downhole trajectory-control algorithms that make frequent, small adjustments to the RSS steering parameters, comparing near-bit continuous survey data against the planned well trajectory. The new survey method, using near-bit sensors, improves the inclination and azimuth measurement in near-vertical angles, enhancing the automated vertical drilling feature and providing more accurate kickoff. The continuous measurements allow the trajectory-following algorithm of the RSS to drill lateral sections more precisely. 

The advanced HIA system has been implemented in two new-generation tools in the Schlumberger PowerDrive RSS portfolio, the PowerDrive Archer high build rate hybrid RSS and the PowerDrive Orbitenhanced RSS. The fully-rotational systems expand the operating window for the most challenging drilling conditions.

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