Softrock’s role at the wellsite has always been recognized as more than just mudlogging. Our participation in geosteering wells was an evolution that came from repeated requests from our clients. Office geologists and engineers alike were simply tired of waiting on remote geosteering services to catch up to real-time data streams only to present options rather than decisions. Our clients would then ask our opinions which had a very high degree of accuracy. The cost/benefit analysis was easy and clear, so many of our clients asked Softrock to begin tasking our lead geologists with steering responsibilities.
Geosteering directional wells is something that Softrock geologists have done long before the term was coined. There is, however, a real need for operators to have third party vendor help when it comes to staying in zone. Advancements in rig design and bit technology have increased ROP to rates that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Even though remote communication through cellular and satellite networks have improved dramatically, nothing beats having your geosteering personnel onsite. There are intangibles that occur on every drilling rig that can not be accounted for remotely. Communication networks fail. Directional drillers have technique styles and personalities. Rigs have crew changes. Weather happens. You need someone who can be clear on your mission and goals that can speak for you when you can not. Many office geologists are also taxed with tracking and implementing well plans on many rigs simultaneously. Softrock can take your immediate attention off of the rigs we cover so you can focus on post well reviews and planning future wells.
Softrock uses Horizontal XSection and WellDirect Geosteering software to steer wells while onsite. Softrock takes an approach to steering wells that utilizes the totality of available data. We rely on our local knowledge and years of experience to guide our target recommendations. We use our gamma and mudlog programs as additional tools to confirm our geologic basis for targeting decisions. We utilize geologic principles, chromatography data, rig data, cuttings analysis, feedback from directional drillers, and our software packages to ultimately create a holistic and all encompassing method of geosteering without being myopically focused on a single data stream.
Realistically, there is a very limited number of good geologic markers that allow for target projection based on bulk section thickness. If you project a target based on gamma data every survey, it can be misleading due to individual formation variability and microbedding that is not parallel to overall formation dip. Section thickness and local geologic knowledge is required to know which gamma data are reliable predictors and which need to be filtered to prevent wild target swings. There is always room for improvement to achieve more harmonized communication with the directional team, whose typical feedback is that target changes happen too often and are given in a confusing format. We do a better job, at the wellsite, with 24 hour coverage, at a cheaper price than other geosteering companies. The goal of our total service package is to reduce vendor redundancies, speed up steering decisions, and lower the bottom line AFE drilling costs on projects with 100% in-zone well bore placement so pay is maximized. Our steering along with our final mudlog gives operators a comprehensive record of the well that is the best visual guide used while producing wells and planning future drilling.
There are instances where a remote geosteering third party vendor insisted that our client was “in zone and not to worry…look how clean the gamma is!” Indeed the gamma was clean, but the lithology seamlessly transitioned from a target coal into a channel sand with the exact same API count. Without the geochemistry of the gas data, or the visual cue from the cuttings, or the fundamental understanding of depositional environments, the well could have been steered to TD in a tight sand rather than the target coal. Bottom line…onsite geologists were able to look at all factors and make corrective steering measures to truly get in zone. The well ended up being a prolific producer for many years as opposed to a head-scratcher plug & abandon well. This is only one example of the dangers of remote geosteering. There are plays in which it can be a successful and viable service, but if you are targeting complex geology such as deltaics, shallow marsh-swamp-lake complexes, submarine canyons, or turbidites…you need onsite geologists.