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Drilling Optimization Utilizing Surface Instrumentation for Downhole Event Recognition
Project Number

This projects aims to optimize the rate of drilling penetration and maximize bottom-hole assembly component life.


Maurer Technologies, Inc.
Noble E&D
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Houston, Texas 77018-7098

  • Improved accessibility and ease of repair.
  • Improved accuracy through the direct measurement of variables as opposed to indirect measurements.
  • Ability to gather measurements typically not taken or recorded.
  • Measurement of downhole conditions represented by vibrations in the drill string.
  • Ability to supply this data to a computer for recording, analysis and use in computer aided operations. These data will then allow optimized drilling, increased penetration rate, extend bottom hole assembly (BHA) life, improved rig and well safety, and better rig management.

If this project is successful, these factors will result in improved well economics, low overall costs, and widespread use of the equipment because of its low cost and ease of use.


Through a series of side-by-side laboratory and field calibration tests with downhole subs, special algorithms will be developed that allow an instrumented surface sub to process critical drilling parameters to detect and recognize downhole events. The field tests shall be structured to maximize the range of drilling conditions. Drilling depth, hole size and inclination, drilling targets, and a variety of rock strengths shall be varied between the test sites. Data from both subs shall be time tagged and synchronized for post analysis. Numerical analysis and digital filtering will be applied to the surface recorded data for all observed events to determine what can be detected at the surface (i.e., signature of the event) and how it differs (level of attenuation, signal modification) from data recorded on bottom. The data will then be analyzed to determine the feasibility of using surface measurements for drilling optimization and event recognition based on the fidelity of the surface measurements and the uniqueness/ease of detecting the event 


  • Controller board and prototype radio have been completed and tested.
  • Design of the sub’s new sealed outer sleeve to contain inert gas (to insure rig floor safety), electronics and battery holder is completed.
  • Preliminary field tests at Catoosa showed need for modifications to prototype design.
  • Lab testing/calibration of all modified components are ongoing.
  • Second Catoosa Field test in has been conducted and indicates that the tool works successfully.
  • Discussions with a potential industry commercialization partner are underway.
  • The final report for this project has been submitted to DOE.
Instrumented Surface Sub
Instrumented Surface Sub


Current Status

and Remaining Tasks:
The diagnostic prototype surface sub owned by Maurer/Noble was refurbished and upgraded by Sandia National Laboratory.

During Phase II of the project, event recognition software and drilling optimization routines were developed and enhanced and improvements to and proper sizing of the subs based on field tests and lessons learned in Phase 1 were conducted. A series of increasingly more difficult drilling tests were conducted to first define which of these elements have commercial viability and then optimized in terms of performance. Following agreement with DOE/NETL, Phase III was not initiated and a final report was submitted for review and acceptance.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

Phase I - $384,066; Phase II - $388,473

Performer Contribution

Phase I - $121,672; Phase II - $388,473

Contact Information

NETL - William Gwilliam (304-285-4401 or
Maurer Technologies, Inc. - John H. Cohen (281-276-6714 or

Additional Information