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Electromagnetic (EM) Telemetry Tool for Deep Well Drilling Applications
Project Number

To develop a wireless, electromagnetic (EM) based telemetry system to facilitate efficient deep natural gas drilling at depths beyond 20,000 feet and up to 392˚F (200˚C)


E-Spectrum Technologies, Inc.

San Antonio, Texas 78249


The wireless, EM telemetry system will be designed to facilitate measurement-while-drilling (MWD) operations within a high temperature, deep drilling environment. The key components that will be developed and tested include a new high efficiency power amplifier (PA) and advanced signal processing algorithms. The novel PA architecture will provide greater and more efficient power delivery from the subterranean transmitter through the transmission media. Maximum energy transfer is especially critical downhole, where the transmitter’s principal power source is typically a battery. Increased energy at the receiver antenna equates to increased recoverable signal amplitude; thus, the overall receiver signal-to-noise ratio is improved resulting in deeper operational depth capability.

The data fusion effort will develop and validate a set of algorithms designed to maximize the noise rejection capabilities of the high-sensitivity subterranean communications receiver. Increasing a receiver’s noise rejection capability allows the receiver processing engine to recover and demodulate very small amplitude signals in the presence of large amounts of interfering ambient noise. Specifically, receiver noise rejection enhancement improves the signal-to-noise ratio parametric of a subterranean telemetry receiver, making the receiver capable of recovering the extremely weak signal associated with deep telemetry applications.


The potential impact of this two-way, subsurface to rig-floor communications technology is to make available to industry a tool that can communicate significant information gathered in real-time from near the bit or from measurement-while-drilling (MWD) equipment and seismic-while-drilling (SWD) equipment being developed in other parts of the DOE/NETL Deep Trek program. This communications system is expected to exceed current capabilities of other existing electromagnetic telemetry and mud telemetry systems in both quality and quantity of data. It is also expected to have wider industry application and be significantly less expensive than specialized drill pipe telemetry systems already successfully developed by DOE/NETL, especially for ultra deep wells.

Schematic of the EM Telemetry System
Schematic of the EM Telemetry System


Accomplishments (most recent listed first)

Phase I successfully completed:

  • Demonstrated feasibility of viable signal conditioning algorithms to enhance low-frequency communications
  • Developed of high-efficiency power amplifiers
  • Developed of the EM Communications Module

Shallow well test was completed in September 2003

Developed a new ultra-low frequency electro-magnetic (ULF EM) telemetry receiver:

  • It employs unique data-fusion methodology which uses a set of algorithms to improve signal to noise ratio.
  • The receiver is capable of recovering extremely weak signals at deep depth.

Phase II successfully completed:

  • Demonstration in cooperating industry service company test wells generates interest in early potential for commercialization
Current Status

and Remaining Tasks:
A decision was made by the performer to move towards early commercialization due to industry interest and need for more rapid development and thus forego need for further government assistance

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution


Contact Information

NETL - William Gwilliam (304-285-4401 or
E-Spectrum Technologies – J. Gablemann (210-696-8848 or

Innovative Telemetry System Will Help Tap Hard-to-Reach Natural Gas Resources - NETL news release on the commercialization of the telemetry communications system