Exploration and Production Technologies

Microhole Coiled Tubing Bottomhole Assemblies


The project goal is to combine existing technologies for measurement-while-drilling (MWD) and logging-while-drilling (LWD) into an integrated measurement system to facilitate low-cost drilling of small (3½-inch diameter), shallow (less than 5,000 foot depth) boreholes using coiled tubing drilling (CTD) technology. The project will deliver two prototypes ready for field testing.

Ultima Labs, Sugar Land, TX

As the technology required to drill microhole wells develops, tools to conduct downhole measurements in these smaller holes will be needed as well. This project is developing an integrated tool to improve drilling efficiency and reduce cost. In addition, the increased information about the formations encountered and the downhole environment will allow more accurate reserves estimates and development planning.

The project combines existing, proven technologies for MWD and LWD into an integrated, cost-effective downhole measurement system. Drillers will use the MWD measurements to optimize drilling performance. Geologists will use the LWD measurements to optimize wellbore placement and completion and to maximize production rates and more accurately estimate resources in place. The equipment developed by this project will be offered for sale to multiple service providers around the world, enabling the more rapid expansion of both coiled tubing drilling and conventional small diameter drilling.

Widespread adoption of microhole technology will enable low-risk infill development that could potentially tap billions of barrels of bypassed hydrocarbons at shallow depths in mature fields. Exploration efforts in search of new reserves will benefit from the anticipated cost and environmental benefits. DOE estimates remaining U.S. shallow resources at 218 billion barrels. Recovery of just 10 percent of the targeted resource would yield a volume equivalent to 10 years of OPEC imports at current rates.

Mature producing areas worldwide also will benefit from the technology. Development of technology that expands global sources of hydrocarbons ensures a diversity of supplies and maintains the United States as the leading global supplier of oilfield technology.

All work under this effort has been completed accomplishments of the activity include:

  • Design development and completion of an integrated 3 1/8” diameter Measurement While Drilling (MWD) and Logging While Drilling (LWD) system for drilling small boreholes using coiled tubing drilling
  • Development of two prototype systems that have been assembled and tested in the lab
  • Successful field test of one of the systems downhole in a conventional rotary drilling environment
  • Development of the 3 1/8” system under this project has also lead to development and commercialization of a slightly larger 3.5” diameter system that is now commercially available (with orders already occurring)
  • Continuing toward commercialization of the specific 3 1/8” system developed under this project.
  • The equipment developed by this project will be offered for sale to multiple service providers around the world, enabling the more rapid expansion of both coiled tubing drilling and conventional small diameter drilling.

Current Status (April 2008) 
All work under this effort is complete and the project final report is available within the additional information section below. It should be noted that while field testing of the prototype systems was not included as a part of this project , it was accomplished anyway and is reported as a part of this project’s final report (available from the Additional Information Section below) .

Project Start: February 1, 2005 
Project End: June 30, 2008

Anticipated DOE Contribution: $759,515 
Performer Contribution: $189,879

Contact Information
NETL - Richard Baker (richard.baker@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-4714)
Ultima - Don Macune (dmacune@ultimalabs.com or 713-640-1111)

Additional Information: 
Final Report [PDF-10.56MB]

2007 Annual Report - period ending 1-31-2008 [PDF-2.04MB] - April 2008

Bottomhole assembly cross-section, side view.

Bottomhole assembly cross-section, top view.

Ultima Labs' integrated LWD/MWD measurement system in coiled tubing drilling bottomhole assembly.

Ultima Labs' final assembly area: 6.75-inch, 4.75-inch resistivity collars in process.

Get Social With Us:

flikr logo instagram logo facebook logo twitter logo linkedIn logo rss icon youtube logo