Advances in mud pulse and electromagnetic telemetry have enhanced measurement-while-drilling (MWD) capabilities, enabling operators to continuously measure and transmit increasing amounts of data in real time. However, in an industry where maximizing economics and efficiencies has become the norm, addressing flat times and invisible lost time is now a necessity.

Increase on-bottom drilling time by eliminating survey time 

The new xBolt* accelerated drilling service boosts efficiency and reliability in land wells by incorporating three telemetry configurations–robust mud pulse (up to 4 bps), ultra-fast electromagnetic (up to 16 bps) or a dual telemetry option for both modes in a single tool. The xBolt service increases on-bottom drilling time and delivers wells faster by reducing surveying time while positioning the wellbore accurately within the reservoir.

While survey wait times may only amount to a few minutes per connection, those minutes count, especially in long laterals that can reach a drilling distance of 10,000 ft or more. The xBolt service enables the use of high-speed electromagnetic telemetry, making it possible to conduct surveys while the rig crew is making a connection–eliminating wait times that are necessary when using conventional systems. In areas where complex geologies exist, the mud pulse telemetry mode with quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) protocol improves signal speed and reliability compared to the land drilling standard telemetry, and consistently accelerates surveying times.

To accommodate varying well conditions, operators can use xBolt’s dual-telemetry configuration, switching between modes in less than a minute to avoid costly trips out-of-hole and lost rig time. The value of the xBolt service is also quantifiable for each operator’s specific drilling conditions, by specifying parameters such as drilling depth and rig spread rate, to determine cost-savings and optimize telemetry configuration and well planning.

Improve data transmission & signal reliability to eliminate relogging

In a field in the US Midcontinent region, drilling noise prevented demodulation of data from conventional tools at the surface. To obtain accurate formation evaluation and drilling optimization data, the operator had to relog every stand of drillpipe and retake entire surveys, resulting in hours of non-productive time per well. 

By eliminating the need for relogging and repeat surveys, the operator was able to increase on-bottom drilling time from 62% to 78%. The QPSK mud pulse system achieved a 2 bits-per-second (BPS) transmission rate while drilling compared with 0.5 bps using a standard high-volume, probe-based mud pulse tool, reducing survey time by two minutes at every connection.

Maximize production per foot drilled with enhanced well placement without compromise

Higher transmission speeds with a reliable telemetry medium impacts well placement–where more data is needed in real-time. The xBolt service utilizes total and azimuthal gamma ray images revealing bed crossings and boundaries enabling confident geosteering decisions. Supported by either mud pulse or electromagnetic telemetry, operators can place their wells in the sweet spot without holding back on ROP.

With better imaging quality, supported by high speed telemetry and robust reliability, operators can drill more footage and improve well placement delivering higher lateral exposure to the reservoir. For details, visit the xBolt accelerated drilling service web page.

*Mark of Schlumberger