Monitoring of Under-Reamer Function Status to Confirm In-Gauge Hole, Technology Validated by Open Hole Calliper: Case Study

Huggett, Tom (National Oilwell Varco) | Hunter, Craig (National Oilwell Varco) | Alahmad, Mohammad (Total) | Eatough, Oliver (Total)



Challenging conditions in a HP/HT well in the UK Central North Sea, led to the deployment of a contingent expandable liner. Under-reaming tools were needed to facilitate running of the contingent liner. Under-reaming operations are associated with a degree of uncertainty on the final hole diameter. A technology was deployed to monitor cutter position, wear and vibrations. With the aim of removing the above uncertainty. An open-hole calliper run was performed to validate the technology.

The monitoring system utilizes an arrangement of sensors to measure variables that are critical to under-reaming operations. The sensors are housed within the expandable cutting structure of the under-reamer and comprises of a cutter block position indicator and a PDC cutting structure wear sensor. The monitoring system can also record downhole dynamics at the under-reamer. The system can therefore determine, via memory data, the actual under-reamer extension size at any point during the run, therefore allowing the minimum hole diameter to be derived. Providing immediate feedback at the rig site once the tool is at surface.

The first run globally of the 12 ¼" × 14" size is presented, the monitoring system recorded 187 hrs of data. The cutter blocks position sensor showed the cutting structure was fully expanded as required whilst pumping at drilling flow rate once the tool was activated. The wear sensors were fully active and showed no wear for the duration of the systems battery life. A combination of the positional and wear sensors indicated full gauge hole to the recorded depth. Due to the type of contingent liner the delivery of gauge hole was critical. As such, the data was validated using a dedicated open-hole calliper run on wireline. The calliper confirmed the open-hole diameter calculated based on data provided by the wear and position sensors. Based on this result the requirement for an open-hole calliper run can be reconsidered. In addition, the acceleration recorded was well correlated with the MWD recorded vibration data and allowed parameter recommendations to be generated.

The ability to monitor the position and status of the under-reamer cutting structure eliminates uncertainty on the final hole size following under-reaming operations and identifies any problem areas and their probable causes prior to running casing/liner. In turn this has the potential to eliminate the need for wireline runs and therefore reduce the open-hole time in a potentially unstable formation.