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Curvature Method

S.J. Sawaryn, SPE, and J.L. Thorogood, SPE, BP plc

The minimum curvature method has emerged as the accepted in- Over the years, various algorithms based on the minimum curva-

dustry standard for the calculation of 3D directional surveys. Using ture method have been published for the construction of increas-

this model, the wells trajectory is represented by a series of cir- ingly complex trajectories and tasks, such as interpolation. Be-

cular arcs and straight lines. Collections of other points, lines, and cause these algorithms have emerged piecemeal, they have tended

planes can be used to represent features such as adjacent wells, to use different nomenclatures and mathematical techniques for

lease lines, geological targets, and faults. The relationships be- their solution. The result of this piecemeal development is dupli-

tween these objects have simple geometrical interpretations, mak- cated and inefficient computer code and a poor understanding of

ing them amenable to mathematical treatment. The calculations are the engineering integrity of the systems.

now used extensively in 3D imaging and directional collision

scans, making them critical for both business and safety. However, Safety and Business Criticality. An undetected fault in the cod-

references for the calculations are incomplete, scattered in the ing or use of directional-surveying and collision-scanning software

literature, and have no systematic mathematical treatment. These has been classified as having the potential to cause property dam-

features make programming a consistent and reliable set of algo- age, environmental damage, personal injury, or loss of reputation.5

rithms more difficult. Increased standardization is needed. The integrity of these business- and safety-critical drilling systems

Investigation shows that iterative schemes have been used in is, therefore, a concern. Modern 3D imaging and directional-scanning

situations in which explicit solutions are possible. Explicit calcu- packages execute thousands of calculations for each task. Increased

lations are preferred because they confer numerical predictability automation of the workflows associated with these tasks means that

and stability. Though vector methods were frequently adopted in

most calculations must be taken for granted and will pass un-

the early stages of the published derivations, opportunities for

checked. Sawaryn et al.6 have described a process for managing

simplification were missed because of premature translation to

these systems, and identified a number of requirements related to

Cartesian coordinates.

the equations they use. Specifically, equations must be traceable

This paper contains a compendium of algorithms based on the

minimum curvature method (includes coordinate reference frames, back to the source documentation, which must clearly explain their

toolface, interpolation, intersection with a target plane, minimum purpose, limitations, and use. The general characteristics of the

and maximum true vertical depth (TVD) in a horizontal section, published algorithms can be assessed against these requirements.

point closest to a circular arc, survey station to a target position Angular Change. Like other survey calculation methods, the

with and without the direction defined, nudges, and steering runs). minimum curvature algorithm was originally developed to calcu-

Consistent vector methods have been used throughout with im- late a wells position from directional surveys. The spacing be-

provements in mathematical efficiency, stability, and predictability tween the survey stations was normally 30 to 500 ft. At that time,

of behavior. The resulting algorithms are also simpler and more with typical build rates, the total-angle change over a 100-ft course

cost effective to code and test. This paper describes the practical length would rarely be allowed to exceed 5 and the final inclina-

context in which each of the algorithms is applied and enumerates tion of most of these early wells was below 90. When creating

some key tests that need to be performed. directional well plans, the total-angle change between adjacent

stations in the plan may be considerably larger. These days, in

designer wells, the angular change between two adjacent points on

Introduction a well plan may exceed 90, and the final inclination often exceeds

The first reference to the minimum curvature method is credited to 90. One well7 is recorded as having reached 164.7 inclination.

Mason and Taylor1 in 1971. In the same year, Zaremba2 submitted Many of the published algorithms do not contain an explicit defi-

an identical algorithm that he termed the circular arc method. In nition of the maximum permitted angle change. The multiple so-

the minimum curvature method, two adjacent survey points are lutions arising from periodicity of the trigonometric equations in-

assumed to lie on a circular arc. The arc is located in a plane, the volved makes this a serious concern.

orientation of which is defined by the known inclination and di- Mathematical Behavior. The possibility of multiple solutions

rection angles at the ends. By 1985, the minimum curvature means the results of the calculations may not always be as in-

method was recognized by the industry as one of the most accurate tended, unless great care has been paid to their implementation.

methods, but was regarded as cumbersome for hand calculation.3,4 Some algorithms employ iterative schemes so that even if the

The emergence of well-trajectory planning packages to help man- scheme converges, there is no guarantee that it converges to the

age directional work in dense well clusters increased its popularity. correct solution. Ideally, iterative schemes should be accompanied

It was natural to use the same model for both the surveys and the by proof of convergence. At the very least, they should be thor-

segments of the well-plan trajectories. Today, with the widespread oughly tested over some specified range of variables. Additionally,

use of computers, computational power is no longer an issue, and there are cases for which no solution exists and extra code is

the method has emerged as the accepted industry standard. needed to trap this condition. Explicit expressions are more pre-

dictable and usually confer advantages in speed and maintainabil-

ity of the computer code.

For certain values (for example, in geometrically straight hole),

Copyright 2005 Society of Petroleum Engineers

expressions may be indeterminate. One solution, adopted by Za-

This paper (SPE 84246) was first presented at the 2003 SPE Annual Technical Conference remba,2 is to define a suitably small number at which the expres-

and Exhibition, Denver, 58 October, and revised for publication. Original manuscript re-

ceived for review 27 January 2004. Revised manuscript received 15 January 2005. Paper

sion jumps abruptly to the asymptotic value. However, this can

peer approved 29 January 2005. give rise to random differences between software packages.6 A

better method is to develop series expressions that enable a smooth vertical coordinates that comprise a right-handed set, as shown in

transition to be maintained. Fig. 1. A point N,E,V can be represented by the vector p in Eq. 2.

Common Constructs. The absence of consistent mathematical

methods and nomenclature may hide common constructs and po- N

tential simplifications in the coding of the algorithms. For ex- p= E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2)

ample, an equation in the form CA sin()+B cos() appears in V

many of the geometric constructions associated with the minimum

curvature method. This equation can be solved explicitly for , and A unit direction vector t can be represented in terms of the local

several mathematically equivalent forms exist. Zaremba2 proposed inclination and azimuth , as shown in Eq. 3. The inclination and

the form (see Eq. 1) that is used throughout this paper: azimuth values can be calculated from the vectors components

using the expressions in Eqs. 4 and 5.

1

N sin cos

A A2 + B2 C 2 2

= 2 tan1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) t= E = sin sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (3)

B+C

V cos

When presented in this way, it can be seen that no real solutions

1

exist if C2>A2 + B2. This inequality has simple geometric interpreta- N2 + E22

tions and several examples of its use are highlighted in this paper. = tan1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (4)

V

Inconsistent nomenclature also leads to implemenational diffi-

culties. Review shows the nomenclatures used in the literature are

neither consistent with each other, nor consistent with accepted

mathematical practice. One example is the definition of the normal

= tan1

E

N

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (5)

vector that mathematical convention has pointing towards the cen- By using this reference frame, an implicit assumption is made

ter of curvature. This is opposite to the convention used in the that the Earth is flat. For moderate distances from the origin, this

earlier drilling literature. Because of the expansion in directional- assumption holds. For larger distances, such as those encountered

drilling applications, symbols inevitably conflict. The Industry in extended-reach wells, the Earths curvature is important and

Steering Committee on Wellbore Survey Accuracy has proposed corrections to the coordinates must be made. Williamson and

some standards,8 but with limited scope. We assert that the SPE Wilson10 discuss the matter in detail.

documentation standards9 associated with this subject area are no Borehole Reference Frames. Two reference frames are asso-

longer adequate and need revising. ciated with the borehole, see Fig. 2. The first frame is formed by

the highside, rightside, and tangent unit vectors h, r, and t, respec-

Directional Calculations tively. These form a right-handed, mutually orthogonal set. In

curved hole, the second frame comprises the normal, binormal, and

A consistent vector notation is used throughout this paper. This tangent unit vectors b, n, and t, respectively. These also form a

simplifies the development of the 3D equations and improves the right-handed, mutually orthogonal set. The angle between the

clarity and presentation of the results. For convenience, the main highside vector h and normal vector b is the toolface angle, .

vector operations are summarized in the Appendix. In some cases, The highside, rightside, and vertical unit vectors are represented in

series expansions have been used to ensure the smooth transition Eqs. 6, 7, and 8. Expressions for the normal and binormal vectors

of an expression into what would otherwise be an indeterminate b and n can be found in the Appendix (Eqs. A-8 through A-12).

form. The thresholds at which the series approximations should be

used depend on the machine precision. The constants used in this cos cos

paper assume calculations are good to at least nine significant h= cos sin , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (6)

digits. The angle subtending the arc may assume values such that

0<. Throughout, it is also assumed that the start and end sin

points of the arc are not coincident. Until such time as the stan-

dards are officially revised, we have chosen to maintain common-

ality with earlier papers on this subject and use a vector b pointing

r=

sin

cos , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (7)

0

away from the center of the arc. For comparison with mathematical

texts, the normal vector is, therefore, b. 0

Reference Frames. Coordinate Reference Frame. The tradi-

tional reference frame for directional work uses north, east, and v= 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (8)

1

inclination and/or direction of a borehole, see Fig. 3. The change

Fig. 1North, east, and vertical coordinate reference frame. Fig. 2Borehole reference frames, including the toolface angle .

Fig. 4The geometry of the minimum curvature between two

adjacent survey points.

Fig. 3A dogleg defined by the two direction vectors t1 and t2.

sented in Horner13 form to minimize both the number of arithmetic

operations and the propagation of errors:

is usually expressed in degrees per 100 ft of course length in

oilfield units3 and degrees per 30 m in metric units. Dogleg se-

verity is used to determine stress fatigue in drillpipe, casing wear,

and casing design loads. It can also be a limiting factor in casing

f 1 +

2

12

1+

2

10

1+

2

168

1+

18

312

. . . . . . . . . (12)

running and directional-drilling operations. For the minimum cur- There is a second possible solution for Eq. 9, which is equal to

vature method, the expression for the dogleg severity takes the (2). The measured depth between the survey stations must be the

form of (18,000* /)/(D2D1) in oilfield units. The difference in same in both cases, implying the second solution has a greater cur-

measured depths, D2D1, between the points is referred to as the vature, see Fig. 5. When calculating directional surveys, the density of

course length, S12. survey stations, behavior of the bottomhole assemblies, and knowl-

Most expressions found in the literature involve the calculation edge of the toolface settings means this situation is of no practical

of an arc cosine. These have been used even though it is recog- concern. This may not be the case for adjacent points in a well-plan

nized that cosines of small angles are more difficult to handle than trajectory, which may be separated by considerable distances.

sines of small angles. Eq. 9, developed by Lubinski,3 does not

make any assumption about the actual path of the wellbore, yet it Interpolation. This is often required to identify the coordinates of

is mathematically equivalent to the expression traditionally used in a particular point, for example, p* on a trajectory, see Fig. 6. In all

the minimum curvature method. An expression for tan(/2) is cases, the problem reduces to one of interpolation or extrapolation

readily developed from it: on an arc, defined by the positions p1 and p2 and directions t1 and

t 2 of its end points. The algorithms presented here may be used for

1

both functions. The interpolation may be driven by one of several

2 1 2 1 2 parameters, such as measured depth, subtended angle, inclination,

= 2 sin1 sin2 + sin1 sin2 sin2 . azimuth, northing, easting, or vertical ordinate.

2 2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (9) Before discussing each of these cases, it is worth reviewing the

properties of a circular arc. The subtended angle, inclination, and

Because the trigonometrical identity and computational advan- azimuth of a point on a circular arc can be determined solely by the

tages of Eq. 9 were recognized, it is surprising that it has not been attitude of the circle in the coordinate reference frame. Knowledge

adopted sooner. The dogleg severity can be related to both the of the size of the circle enables course lengths to be determined.

radius of curvature and the curvature, , of the arc, by use of the Finally, it is only if a north, east, or vertical ordinate is needed that

relationships (see Eq. 10): the absolute position of the circle in the reference frame must

be defined.

1 * Interpolation on Measured Depth. The association of events

= = = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (10)

R S12 S* or observations, such as formation tops and overpulls with points

on the wellbore, is a common requirement. Interpolations on mea-

Survey Calculation. Accurate determination of wellbore position sured depth determined from the pipe tally are, therefore, the most

is critical to well placement, collision avoidance, reservoir mod- common interpolation mode. If S* is the course length along the

eling, and equity determination. Though the accuracy of the mini-

mum curvature method is acknowledged, Stockhausen and Lesso11

showed that modern drilling practices could introduce systematic

errors, even with survey intervals as frequent as 100 ft.

The position of the next survey point, p2, is calculated from

p1 by use of Eq. 11, see Fig. 4. The shape factor f() equals

tan(/2)/(/2). Details are summarized in the Appendix (Eqs. A-6

through A-17).

p2 = p1 +

S12 f

2 sin1 cos1 + sin2 cos2

sin1 sin1 + sin2 sin2 . . . . . . . . . (11)

cos1 + cos2

Straight-Hole Conditions. When equals 0, the shape factor is

mathematically indeterminate, so for <0.02 radians, the series

expansion (Eq. 12) should be used instead.12 The series is pre- Fig. 5The two possible mathematical solutions.

cos(*). The solution for * is determined using Eq. 1. In this case,

the constants A, B, and C are given by Eqs. 16, 17, and 18, re-

spectively. Choose the smallest root, unless it is less than or equal

to both 1 and 2, in which case, the largest root should be chosen.

A = sin1 cos* 1, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (16)

B = cos1, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (17)

C = cos*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (18)

As the subtended angle was originally determined from an

azimuth on the arc, a solution must exist. Finally, the position p*

is determined using the minimum curvature equation (Eq. 11).

Generally, if C2>A2+B2, the orientation of the arc is too shallow

for the inclination at any point on it to reach the desired value. For

details, see the Appendix (Eqs. A-27 through A-29).

Straight-Hole Conditions. Azimuth varies linearly with mea-

sured depth in near-straight-hole conditions. For angle <104

radians, Eq. 19 should be used to determine the corresponding

Fig. 6Interpolation at a point p* on a circular arc. measured depth. If the azimuth values in either the numerator or

denominator straddle north, the minimum angular difference

arc at which the properties are required, the relationships * should be used. The remaining properties can be determined by

(S*/S12) and (*)(1S*/S12) can be used to reduce the interpolating on this depth:

interpolation on measured depth to the interpolation on subtended

angle (see Eq. 13).

Interpolation on Subtended Angle. Eq. 13 enables the direc-

S* S12 * 1

2 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (19)

tion vector, t*, at a point p* on an arc to be determined solely from Interpolation on Inclination. The determination of measured

the direction vectors of its start and end points and the angle depths corresponding to some inclination range appears in the

subtended from the first point p1 to the point of interest. Refer to automation of calculations for hole cleaning and rock mechanics.

the Appendix (Eqs. A-18 through A-26). First, check that both points 1 and 2 are not equal to /2. In this

condition, the arc would lie in the horizontal plane and no solutions

sin * sin*

t* = t1 + t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (13) are possible. In the Appendix (Eq. A-30), it is shown that the

sin sin 2 subtended angle * can be calculated with Eq. 1. In this case, the

Many of the algorithms presented in this paper involve the constants A, B, and C are given by Eqs. 20 through 22:

determination of the subtended angle * as a first step. The rela- A = cos2 cos cos1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (20)

tionship in Eq. 13 provides a convenient means of determining the

other parameters at the point, once the subtended angle has been B = sin cos1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (21)

found. For example, once t* is known, the corresponding point p*

C = sin cos* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (22)

can be calculated using the minimum curvature equation (Eq. 11).

Straight-Hole Conditions. When the subtended angle, , equals If C2 > A2 + B2, then the orientation of the plane containing the

zero, both terms in Eq. 13 are indeterminate. For <0.02 radians, arc is too close to the horizontal plane to enable the desired incli-

these terms that contain factors of the form sin(c)/sin may be nation to be reached; no solutions exist. The corresponding azi-

expanded14 in another Horner series (see Eq. 14): muth value can be determined from Eq. 23:

sinc

sin

1 c2

c + 2 c

6 6

+ 2 c

7

360

+ c2

1 c2

+

36 120

* = tan1 sin1 sin1 sin * + sin2 sin2 sin*

sin1 cos1 sin * + sin2 cos2 sin*

.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (23)

31 7 1 c2

+ 2 c + c2 + c2 Straight-Hole Conditions. Inclination varies linearly with mea-

15,120 2,160 720 5,040 sured depth in near-straight-hole conditions. For the subtended

+ c2 127

604,800

+ c2

31

90,720

+ c2

7

43,200 angle, < 104 radians, Eq. 24 should be used to determine the

course length. The remaining properties can be determined by

interpolating on this depth:

+ c2 1

+

c2

30,240 362,880

. . . . . . . . . . . . . (14) S* S12 * 1

2 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (24)

It should be noted that this interpolation mode is impossible Interpolation at a Plane. A plane can be used to represent

when the subtended angle is identically 0, unless the constant, c, many geological features, such as formation horizons and faults. In

can be defined in some other way, such as by use of the ratio of the 3D visualization tools, collections of interlocking planes are used

course lengths. to represent complex geological features. Imaginary planes can be

Interpolation on Azimuth. Occasionally, it is necessary to used to represent lease boundaries, or the north, east, and vertical

truncate a well-plan trajectory at a depth so that it is lined up with limits, on directional plots. The point p* at which the well meets

a specified direction. First, check the condition sin1 sin2 sin(2 or crosses these features, is of great practical interest, see Fig. 7.

1)0 to determine that the arc does not lie in the vertical plane The plane is uniquely defined by its normal vector m and any point

and that a solution exists. The subtended angle is then determined px on it.

by use of Eq. 15: There are five possible relationships between the arc and

sin* 2sin2 + sin1 *sin1 cos .

the plane:

An infinite number of intersectionswhen the plane contain-

ing the arc and the target plane are parallel. This condition should

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15)

be tested first by establishing if both (mt1) and (mt2) are equal

The Appendix shows that Eq. A-28, used to calculate the in- to 0.

clination * from * and *, is of the form CA sin(*)+B Two intersectionswhen the arc completely cuts the plane.

Fig. 7The intersection (extrapolation) of a circular arc and a

plane at a point p*.

Turning Point. In horizontal wells, the trajectory is steered to

remain in the reservoir section, successively building and dropping

One intersectionwhen the arc just touches the plane. inclination to avoid breaching the bottom or top of the pay zone.

No intersectionswhen the curvature of the arc is too large. The calculation of the turning points, at which the well becomes

If curvature is very small, then, for practical purposes, the prob- horizontal, is of interest from a reservoir perspective (see Fig. 8).

lem is reduced to the intersection of a straight line with a plane. Because these points represent the maximum and minimum verti-

The Appendix (Eqs. A-31 to A-35) shows that the subtended cal depths, they are also needed to determine the numerical range

angle, *, to the plane can be calculated with Eq. 1. In this case, of axes in well plots.

the constants A, B, and C are given by Eqs. 25 through 27: This case is equivalent to interpolating on an inclination. In this

A = m t1sin, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (25) special case, direct determination of the azimuth * at the turning

point is possible according to Eq. 31:

B = m t1cos m t2, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (26)

C=

m px p1 sin

S12

+ m t1cos m t2. . . . . . . . . . (27)

* = tan1 cos1 sin2 sin2 cos2 sin1 sin1

cos1 sin2 cos2 cos2 sin1 cos1

. . . . . . . (31)

If C2>A2+B2, the curvature of the arc is too large to intersect the a minimum inclination. Should 1>2, then the inclination is a

plane and no solutions exist. If C2A2+B2, then the arc just maximum. In this case, the direction of t* will change by , and

touches the plane and there is only one solution. For C2<A2+B2, the azimuth becomes (*+). The course length S* to the turning

there are two intersections and, in this case, the subtended angles point can then be calculated from the relationship S*S12*/.

to both of them may be less than . The two solutions correspond Finally, its position, vector p*, can be calculated using the t1 and

to the plus and minus signs in Eq. 1. This situation may be en- t* vectors with the minimum curvature equation (Eq. 11); refer to

countered when landing in a pay zone and the assembly is not the Appendix (Eqs. A-44 through A-46).

building at the desired rate. Using this interpolation mode, it is

possible to determine if and at what point the bottom of the zone Position at Target Defined. Hogg and Thorogood15 described

will be breached and the point at which the well is expected to expressions for the minimum curvature and minimum distance

re-enter. The lost-production interval can then be calculated directly. from a point p1 on a wellbore, with direction t1 to a target p3 (see

Straight-Hole Conditions. When the subtended angle equals Fig. 9).

0, the above solution is indeterminate. For <104 radians, a series Their algorithms were iterative and depended on the explicit

expansion (see Eq. 29) is used to determine the measured depth; determination of the center of the curvature of the arc, which

see the Appendix (Eqs. A-36 through A-43). No solution is pos- causes problems for small angle changes. The Appendix (Eqs.

sible if the line is parallel to the plane when (mt1) equals 0: A-47 through A-64) shows how the minimum curvature and mini-

m px p1m t2 m t1 mum distance can be determined explicitly, without reference to

= , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (28) the center of the curvature. For a fixed radius of curvature, there

S12m t12

S*

m px p1

m t1

1 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (29)

2

Orientation of the Target Plane. The normal vector m, defining

the orientation of the target plane, can be constructed in terms

of the dip angle, , and dip azimuth, , of the plane according to

Eq. 30:

m= sin cos

sin sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (30)

cos

North, East, and Vertical Interpolation. The interpolations on

north, east, or vertical ordinates are particular cases of the more

general expression. The values of the vectors px and m to use in

each of these are listed in Table 1. For example, if the well is

building and approaching an eastern lease line, use the vectors

listed under the heading East, with E* set equal to the numeric Fig. 8The turning point p* is the point at which the well be-

value of the eastern boundary limit. comes horizontal.

Fig. 10For a fixed radius of curvature, there are two possible

trajectories from p1 to p3.

Fig. 9In general, one curved and one straight section are re- sponding to the minimum distance to the target, are calculated with

quired if only the position p3 of the target is defined.

Eqs. 35 and 36, respectively:

1 1

are two possible trajectories from p1 to p3, shown by the solid and

dashed lines in Fig. 10. All the trajectories lie in a plane. The solid = 2 2R2 222 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (35)

line shows the minimum distance to the target. The other trajec- and

tory, shown by the dashed line, requires an angle change greater

than .

The changes in angle can be categorized according to the po- = 2 tan1 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (36)

sition of the target point p3, relative to the starting point p1 and the 2R 2

2 2

through F in Fig. 11. Targets falling in Region A can be hit with The course length is then calculated as S12R. In straight

angle changes less than /2 (90); B, with angle changes less than hole, and, as long as R is finite, Eq. 35 reduces to the

(180); C, with angle changes less than 3/2 (270); and D, with distance between the points p3 and p1. The straight-hole case,

angle changes less than 2 (360). Areas E and F cannot be hit at therefore, degenerates to a straight line, rather than an arc with an

the prescribed buildup rate. infinitely large radius, conferring stability to the calculation. Fi-

The appropriate region is determined by calculating the dis- nally, t2 is calculated using Eq. 37:

tance, , between the points p1 and p3; the perpendicular distance,

, from p1 in the direction t1; and the distance, , normal to t1, in S12 f

p3 p1 t1

Eqs. 32, 33, and 34, respectively; refer to Fig. 12: 2

t2 = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (37)

2 = p3 p1 2, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (32)

S12 f

2

+

= p3 p1 t1, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (33)

Minimum Curvature to Target. If R22+2, then the target

1 must lie in Region E and the build rate is insufficient to hit it. To

= 2 22. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (34) hit the target, the build rate must be increased to the critical radius

of curvature Rc, given by Eq. 38. The corresponding angle change,

From Fig. 11 it can be seen that if 0 and 2R, then , c, is given by Eq. 39.

which is outside the imposed limit on the angle change. With the

restriction 0<, only targets in areas A, B, and E apply. 2

Minimum Distance to Target. If R2<2+2, then the tangent- Rc = 1

, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (38)

section length, , is greater than 0. Because of the imposed re- 2

2

22

striction 0<, the target must be in Region A or B (see Fig. 11).

The values of the tangent-section length and angle change, corre-

1

2 2 2

c = 2 tan1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (39)

change in angle. Fig. 12Graphical realization of the and variables.

Fig. 13In general, two curved and one straight section are

required if both the position p4 and direction t 4 at the target

are defined.

Fig. 14The iterative scheme used to calculate the trajectory, if

both the position and direction at the target are defined.

The course length can be calculated as S12Rcc. Finally, t2 is

calculated from Eq. 37 with the tangent-section length, , equal

to 0. Four iterations are usually sufficient to reduce the error, ,

below 105 radians. Note that on completing the calculation, the

Position and Direction at Target Defined. Advances in survey- direction vectors of the second build-and-hold trajectory must be

ing and geosteering techniques have enabled multiple targets to be reversed before use.

penetrated as a matter of course. The targets may be at different From a safety-critical-systems perspective, neither the above

geological horizons or different fault blocks in the same horizon. scheme nor that proposed by Liu and Shi16 are completely satis-

In these cases, the wells trajectory must be lined up and its di- factory. In neither case is convergence proved, and no definitive

rection on entry to or exit from the target must be defined, as well statement is made regarding the conditions under which no solu-

as its position. The trajectory can no longer be achieved with a tions exist (e.g., when the radii of curvature are too large to hit the

simple build-and-hold profile. An additional curved section must target). Further work is required.

be added, and in general, the trajectory is 3D (see Fig. 13). How-

ever, because the target can be specified so that the trajectory lies Closest Approach. The calculation of the closest distance of a

completely in a plane, this calculation can also be used to design point px to a circular arc (see Fig. 15) is the key to the construction

nudge profiles to increase well separation directly beneath a well of the normal plane collision-avoidance diagram described by

cluster. Liu and Shi16,17 described an iterative scheme using co- Thorogood and Sawaryn.18

ordinate transforms for the solution of the equations. Different The closest approach is reached when the vector (pxp*) is

calculations were used for each of the two arcs. normal to the curve. The subtended angle, *, to this point is

We offer an alternate iterative solution on the basis of the calculated using Eqs. 43 through 45:

geometrical symmetry of the problem and the minimum distance- 1 = px p1 t1, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (43)

to-target scheme described earlier in this paper. The advantage of

this scheme is that only the subtended angles, 1 and 2, of the 2 = px p1 t2, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (44)

arcs need to be determined at each iteration. Inspection of Fig. 13

shows that, in general, each of the two sets of points (p1, p2, p3 and 1 cos 2 S12

* = tan1 1 + . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (45)

p2, p3, p4) are geometrically similar. This suggests applying the sin

minimum distance-to-target algorithm alternately for each of the

sets of points. The corresponding position p* on the arc is determined by

Let p1,j and p4,j be the targets and 1,j and 2,j be the subtended interpolating on the subtended angle *, and then using the mini-

angles at the jth iteration. To start the scheme, the subtended angle mum curvature equation. Finally, the distance is calculated from

1,0 is calculated using the minimum distance-to-target algorithm the magnitude of the vector (pxp*). Mathematical and practical

between the points p1 and p4. This corresponds to Trajectory 1 in difficulties arise when the distance to the point is of the same

Fig. 14. magnitude or exceeds the radius of the curvature of the arc. Further

A new target, p1,1, is calculated with Eq. 40: discussion on this topic may become available in future publications.

p1,j+1 = p1 + R1 tan

1,j

2

t1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (40)

The subtended angle, 2,0, is now calculated for the second arc,

using the points p4 and p1,1. When performing the calculation, the

direction of the borehole at p4 must be set to t4, to calculate the

correct angle. This corresponds to Trajectory 2 in Fig. 14. A

new target, p4,1, is calculated with Eq. 41, which completes the

first iteration:

p4,j+1 = p4 R2 tan

2,j

2

t4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (41)

1,1, using the points p1, and p4,1, and so on. Iteration continues

until the desired precision is achieved. A suitable criterion for

convergence is given by Eq. 42:

1

2

.

2 2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (42) Fig. 15The closest approach of a point px to a circular arc.

Straight-Hole Conditions. Eq. 45 is indeterminate in straight of these expessions are commonly referred to as the build rate and

hole when equals 0. For <104 radians, small-angle approxi- walk rate, respectively. For further details, see the Appendix (Eqs.

mations are used, and Eq. 46 is used to calculate the course length, A-79 through A-81). These two components satisfy Wilsons19

S*, directly: expression (Eq. 53) for the total curvature :

S*

S121

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (46)

* = cos* , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (51)

1 2 + S12

sin*

The point p* is calculated by interpolating on measured depth, * = , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (52)

sin*

assuming straight-hole conditions. For these very small, subtended

angles, the value of the shape factor f(*) in the minimum curva- and

ture equation equals unity. Again, the distance is calculated from 1

the magnitude of the vector (pxp*).

= *2 + *2 sin2*2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (53)

Toolface Angle. Liu and Shi16 provided useful expressions for the Eqs. 51 and 52 can be used to derive the equivalents (Eqs. 54

toolface at the start and end of the arc, in terms of the inclination and 55) of Liu and Shis16 expressions. The representation of the

and azimuth values at its ends. The Appendix (Eqs. A-66 through azimuthal component is simplified:

A-79) shows how the general vector equation provided by

Thorogood and Sawaryn18 may be expanded in terms of the incli- cos *cos1 cos* cos2

* = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (54)

nation and azimuth values at any intermediate point on the arc, as sin sin*

well as at its ends (Eq. 47):

and

tan * =

sin*sin2 cos* sin2 * + sin1 cos *sin* 1

cos *cos1 cos* cos2

.

* = sin2 cos* sin2 * + sin1 cos *sin* 1

sin sin*

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (47) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (55)

At the ends, this expression reduces to those presented by Liu Straight-Hole Conditions. Again, for <104 radians, small-

and Shi.16 Eqs. 48 and 49 have a small advantage because they are angle approximations to Eqs. 54 and 55 are used, and Eqs. 56 and

not singular when the inclination at either of the ends is zero. 57 are used to calculate the curvatures. If the azimuth values in Eq.

Dividing both numerator and denominator by a factor that can be 57 straddle north, the minimum angular difference should be used:

zero causes the singularity.

* 1 , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (56)

1 2

sin2 sin2 1 *

1 = tan 1

. . . . . . . (48) S* S12

sin2 cos1 cos2 1 sin1 cos2

and

* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (57)

and

1

1 2

sin1 sin2 1 *

2 = tan 1

. . . . . . . (49) S* S12

sin2 cos1 sin1 cos2 cos2 1

Implementation and Testing

Straight-Hole Conditions. For <104 radians, small-angle

The algorithms in this paper are presented in logical order with the

approximation to Eq. 47 is used, giving Eq. 50. The toolface is

later, more-complex cases using results of earlier ones. It is rec-

constant over the arc and is undefined when 0. If the azimuth

ommended that the routines are coded and tested in this order. All

values in Eq. 50 straddle north, the minimum angular difference

the equations required for successful implementation are contained

should be used:

in the body of the paper.

tan* sin1 2 1

2 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (50)

Once coded, a good test procedure is to calculate values in two

different ways. For example, a point can be interpolated using each

of the following: measured depth, inclination, and azimuth deter-

mined from the previous calculation in cyclic order. The results

Curvature. The total curvature, , is a constant 1/R on a circular

should be identical. The four-point trajectory presented in Table 2

arc (see Fig. 16). Liu and Shi16 presented expressions for the

is constructed with both the wellbore position and direction at the

inclination and azimuthal components of the curvature at any point

target defined. This example can be used to test most of the algo-

on an arc, in terms of the toolface angle at its start.

rithms presented here. Station numbers with alphabetical suffixes

Using vector methods, the inclination and azimuthal curvatures

indicate interpolated points. Williamson8 presents other trajecto-

can be shown to be Eqs. 51 and 52, respectively. The signed values

ries that may be used as tests in both oilfield and metric units.

Conclusions

1. Previously unpublished algorithms have been presented for

small-angle approximations associated with a circular arc, the

determination of a turning point, a general expression for tool-

face angle, and the minimum distance to a target with and with-

out the direction at the target defined.

2. Vector methods are useful tools for 3D-directional calculations

and often result in simpler expressions compared to other

means. Their use is recommended.

3. A standard nomenclature is required for all directional work that

is compatible with other related subject areas, such as survey-

instrument design and terrestrial surveying. Consistency with

accepted mathematical conventions in vector calculus should

also be reviewed.

4. The point-to-target algorithm, with both position and direction

Fig. 16The principal curve, inclination, and azimuthal components. at the target defined, is the only construction presented in this

paper for which an explicit solution has not been found. Also, Subscripts and Superscripts

the conditions under which no solutions are possible should be c critical value

identified (e.g., when the radii of curvature are too large to hit j iteration counter

the target). Further work is needed. x position of a defining point

5. Increasingly complex trajectory plans emerging from work on

1,2,3,4 first, second, third or fourth point, arc, or property

designer wells means segments of the well plan may exceed

180 and the alternative solutions may need to be considered. inclination component

6. The simple representation afforded by the circular-arc construct azimuthal component

allows for a consistent treatment of the associated mathematical * component to be determined

operations. Representation of the wellbore path in a different

form (for example, a spline or polynomial) would necessitate Acknowledgment

rederivation of all the constructs in this paper. This may not be The authors thank BP plc for permission to publish this paper.

a simple task.

References

Nomenclature 1. Mason, C.M. and Taylor, H.L.: A Systematic Approach to Well Sur-

A constant veying Calculations, SPEJ (June 1971).

b negative unit normal vector 2. Zaremba, W.A.: Directional Survey by The Circular-Arc Method,

B constant SPEJ (February 1973) 5; Trans., AIME, 255.

c a function of the ratio of the course lengths S*/S12 on 3. Bull. D20, Directional Drilling Survey Calculation Methods and Ter-

an arc minology, first edition, API, Dallas (December 1985).

C constant 4. Walstrom, J.E., Harvey R.P., and Eddy H.D.: A Comparison of Vari-

ous Directional Survey Models and an Approach To Model Error

D measured depth, L, ft

Analysis, JPT (August 1972) 935.

E easting, L, ft

5. Sawaryn, S.J., Sanstrom, W., and McColpin, G.: The Management of

f geometrical shape factor Drilling Engineering and Well Services Software as Safety Critical

h unit highside vector Systems, paper SPE 73893 presented at the 2002 SPE International

m unit vector normal to a plane Conference on Health, Safety, and Environment in Oil and Gas Explo-

n unit binormal vector ration and Production, Kuala Lumpur, 2022 March.

N northing, L, ft 6. Sawaryn, S.J. et al.: Safety Critical Systems Principles Applied to

p position vector in N,E,V coordinates, L, ft Drilling Engineering and Well Services Software, paper SPE 84152

r unit rightside vector presented at the 2003 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibi-

R radius of curvature, L, ft tion, Denver, 58 October.

S course length, L, ft 7. Delivery UpdateAutotrack Milestones, Baker Hughes Inteq,

Tananger, Norway (2002) 18.

t unit direction vector

8. Williamson, H.S.: Accuracy Prediction for Directional Measurement

v unit vertical vector in N,E,V coordinates, L, ft While Drilling, SPEDC (December 2000) 221.

V vertical, L, ft 9. SPE Letter and Computer Symbols Standard, SPE, Richardson,

z dummy angle, radians Texas (1993).

subtended angle, radians 10. Williamson, H.S. and Wilson, H.F.: Directional Drilling and Earth

length of the tangent section, L, ft Curvature, SPEDC (March 2000).

angle between the binormal and vertical vectors, 11. Stockhausen, E.J. and Lesso, W.G.: Continuous Direction and Incli-

radians nation Measurements Lead to an Improvement in Wellbore Position-

angular-error tolerance, radians ing, paper SPE/IADC 79917 presented at the 2003 SPE/IADC Drilling

substituted variable Conference, Amsterdam, 1921 February.

substitution for a dot product, L, ft 12. Thorogood, J.L.: Well Surveying Data, World Oil Magazine (April

inclination angle, radians 1986) 100.

13. Knuth, D.E.: The Art of Computer Programming Volume 2: Seminu-

curvature, radians/L, radians/ft

merical Algorithm, third edition, Addison Wesley (1997) 485488.

substitution for a dot product, L, ft

14. Wolfram Research, Mathematica 4 Standard Add-On Packages, Wol-

toolface angle, radians fram Media Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1999) 34.

azimuth angle, radians 15. Hogg, T.W. and Thorogood, J.L.: Performance Optimization of Steer-

substitution for a dot product, L, ft able Systems, ASME Energy Resources Technology Conference,

a difference in a parameter New Orleans (January 1990) 4958.

dip angle, radians 16. Liu, X. and Shi, Z.: Improved Method Makes a Soft Landing of Well

dip azimuth, radians Path, Oil & Gas J. (October 2001) 48.

17. Liu, X. and Jun, G.: Description and Calculation of the Well Path with Finally, recalling the trigonometric identity tan(/2)(1

Spatial Arc Model, Natural Gas Industry, Beijing (2000) 20, No. 5, cos)/sin, and that S12R, we obtain the now familiar expres-

4447. sion for the minimum curvature equation:

18. Thorogood, J.L. and Sawaryn, S.J.: The Travelling-Cylinder Diagram:

S12

A Practical Tool for Collision Avoidance, SPEDE (March 1991) 31. p2 = p1 + tan t + t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-15)

19. Wilson, G.J.: An Improved Method for Computing Directional Sur- 2 1 2

veys, JPT (August 1968) 871. Straight-Hole Conditions. For small angles, tan(z) can be ex-

20. Weatherburn, C.E.: Elementary Vector Analysis, G. Bell and Sons, panded in a Taylor series,21 Eq. A-16. Using the first five terms of

London (1967). the expansion, the factor tan(/2)/(/2) can be put into Horner12,13

21. Abramowitz and Stegun: Handbook of Mathematical Functions, Dover, form, giving Eq. 12 in the body of the paper:

New York City (1972) 75.

z3 2z5 17z7 62z9

Appendix tanz = z + + + + + . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-16)

3 15 315 2835

Summary of Vector Methods. Weatherburn20 presents details of

all vector methods used in this paper. The key constructions are the For small angles, the shape factor can be treated as unity and

dot, or scalar, product () and vector cross product (). Let a1, a2, Eq. A-15 reduces to Eq. A-17, which is recognized as the balanced

a3; b1, b2, b3; and c1, c2, c3 be the N,E,V components of vectors a, tangential-survey calculation method3:

b, and c, respectively. Let be the angle between the a and b S12

vectors, and n be a unit vector normal to both a and b. The dot and p2 p1 + t + t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-17)

2 1 2

cross products are then described by Eqs. A-1 through A-3:

a b = a1b1 + a2b2 + a3b3, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-1) Interpolation. Referring to Fig. 6, interpolation involves deter-

mining the position p* at some point on the arc, given a criterion.

a b = a b cos, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-2) The corresponding direction vector at the point is t* (Eq. A-18):

a b = a b sin n, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-3)

a b c = a cb a bc, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-4)

a b c = a1b2c3 b3c2 + a2b3c1 b1c3 + a3b1c2 b2c1.

t* = sin* cos*

sin* sin* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-18)

cos*

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-5) The binormal vector, n12, can also be written in terms of the

direction vectors at the start point and the point at which the

Minimum Curvature. Zaremba2 presented the following deri- interpolation is to take place:

vation (refer to Fig. 4, the direction vectors t1 and t2 at the arcs t1 t*

ends are given by Eqs. A-6 and A-7, respectively): n12 = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-19)

sin*

sin1 cos1

Equating Eqs. A-8 and A-19, and taking the cross product of

t1 = sin1 sin1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-6) both sides of the equality with t1, gives Eq. A-20:

cos1

t1 t1 t* t1 t1 t2

= . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-20)

and sin* sin

t2 = sin2 cos2

cos2

sin2 sin2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-7)

Using Eq. A-4 to expand the triple-cross products, and rear-

ranging for t*, gives Eq. A-21:

t* = t1 cos*

sin*t1 cos t2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-21)

The binormal vector, n12, and vectors b1 and b2 at the arcs sin

ends, are given by the Eqs. A-8, A-9, and A-10, respectively: Multiply the numerator and denominator of the first term in

t1 t2 A-21 by sin and collect terms in t1 and t2. After simplification,

n12 = , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-8) this gives the important relationship in A-22 that is the foundation

sin for all the interpolation formulae:

b1 = t1 n12, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-9) sin * sin*

t* = t1 + t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-22)

and sin sin 2

b2 = t2 n12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-10) Substituting Eqs. A-6, A-7, and A-18 into Eq. A-22 gives

Eq. A-23:

Substituting n12 from Eq. A-8 into Eqs. A-9 and A-10, and using

Eq. A-4 for the vector triple products, gives Eqs. A-11 and A-12: sin* cos* sin1 cos1

sin *

t1 cos t2 sin* sin* = sin1 sin1

sin

b1 = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-11) cos* cos1

sin

sin2 cos2

and sin*

+ sin2 sin2 . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-23)

t1 t2 cos sin

b2 = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-12) cos2

sin

Interpolation on Measured Depth. Because the radius of the

The position p2 is calculated from p1 using Eq. A-13. Sub- arc is fixed, the ratio of the subtended angles is identical to the ratio

stituting b1 and b2 from Eqs. A-11 and A-12 into Eq. A-13 of the course lengths to the same points, as shown in Eq. A-24:

gives Eq. A-14:

* S*

p2 = p1 + Rb2 b1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-13) = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-24)

S12

1 cos Substituting * from Eq. A-24 into Eq. A-22, gives Eq. A-25

p2 = p1 + R t1 + t2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-14)

sin for t*, in terms of the course lengths:

t* =

sin 1

S*

S12

t1 +

sin

S*

S12

t2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A25)

Eq. A-34 can be used to eliminate p* from Eq. A-33. After

rearranging, the resulting expression Eq. A-35, is of the form CA

sin(*)+B cos(*):

sin sin

m px p1 sin

For small values of , Eq. A-25 can be expanded in a Taylor + m t1cos m t2 = m t1sin sin*

S12

series. Evaluation of the terms is tedious, and computer assis-

tance14 was used to establish Eq. 14, presented in the body of the + m t1cos m t2cos*. . . . . . . (A-35)

paper. For small angles, the following simple expression can be used:

Straight-Hole Conditions. For small angles, equation Eq. A-35

t* 1

S*

t +

S12 1

S*

t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-26)

S12 2

is badly behaved. Small-angle approximations must be used, and

the interpolation must be conducted with respect to measured

depth. The expression Eq. A-17 can be used to calculate the po-

Interpolation on Azimuth. Dividing the easting and northing sition of p* from p1, as shown in Eq. A-36:

components of Eq. A-23 eliminates sin*, giving the expression

S*

Eq. A-27: p* = p1 + t + t*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-36)

2 1

sin* sin1 sin1 sin * + sin2 sin2 sin*

= . Sustituting Eq. A-26 into Eq. A-36 gives Eq. A-37:

cos* sin1 cos1 sin * + sin2 cos2 sin*

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-27) S*2

t t + S*t1 p* p1 = 0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-37)

Next, expand the terms sin(*) in both numerator and the 2S12 2 1

denominator of Eq. A-25 by use of the trigonometric identity: Taking the dot product of Eq. A-37, with the normal vector m

sin(*)sin cos*sin* cos. The terms involving sin* of the plane, and substituting (mpx) for (mp*), as before, gives a

are then collected on the left side of the equals sign, and terms quadratic equation (Eq. A-38) in the course length, S*. Eq. A-38

involving cos* are collected on the right side. The azimuth terms has the solution Eq. A-39:

are then combined by use of the same trigonometric identity to

give Eq. 15 for *, which was used to interpolate on azimuth in the m t2 m t1 2

body of the paper. The traditional form of the dogleg-severity S* + m t1S* m px p1 = 0 . . . (A-38)

2S12

equation3 Eq. A-28 can be used to determine *. This is in the

form of CA sin(*)+B cos(*): and

1

cos* = sin1 cos* 1sin* + cos1 cos*. . . . . . . . (A-28) 2m t2 t1m px p1 2

m t1 m t1 + 2

If the arc lies in the vertical plane, then (vn12) equals 0, and the S12

S* = .

solution is single valued. The vector n12 is given by Eq. A-8. Ex- m t2 t1

panding the scalar triple product using Eq. A-5 gives the expression S12

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-39)

sin1 sin2 sin2 1

= 0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-29) To simplify the manipulation, define a variable, , according to

sin

Eq. A-40. Eq. A-39 can then be written as Eq. A-41:

Interpolation on Inclination. Extracting and rearranging the

vertical component of Eq. A-23 gives Eq. A-30, which is of the m px p1m t2 m t1

= . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-40)

form CA sin(*)+B cos(*). Once * has been found, the azi- S12m t12

muth component is determined from Eq. A-27:

1

sin* cos* = cos2 cos cos1sin* + sin cos1 cos*. m t1 m t11 + 22

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-30) S* = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-41)

m t2 m t1

Interpolation at a Plane. Refering to Fig. 7, Eq. A-14 can be S12

used to calculate the point p* from p1. The radius, R, can be

Because 2 is much smaller than unity, the square root may be

expressed as S12/ to give Eq. A-31:

expanded in a series using the first four terms of the binomial

S121 cos* expansion,21 Eq. A-42, to give Eq. A-43:

p* = p1 + t1 + t*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-31)

sin* 1

z z2 z3 z4

1 + z2 = 1 + + + . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-42)

Now, use Eq. A-21 to substitute for t* in Eq. A-31 to give Eq. A-32: 2 8 16 128

p* = p1 +

S121 cos*

sin*

1 + cos*t1

sin*t1 cos t2

sin

. m t1 m t1 1 + 2 3

+

2 2

S* . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-43)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-32) m t2 m t1

S12

Now, take the dot product of Eq. A-32, with the normal vector

m of the plane, and rearrange slightly: From Eq. A-43, it can be seen that the positive root must be

chosen so that the expression degenerates to the straight-line case

m p* p1 =

S121 cos*

sin*

1 + cos*m t1

when equals 0. Factoring Eq. A-43 gives Eq. 29 in the body of

the paper.

Turning Point. From Fig. 8, the vector t* can be written as Eq.

sin*m t1cos m t2 A-44. The angle between the n12 and v vectors is :

. . . . . . . . (A-33)

sin

n12 v

The equation of the plane20 is given by Eq. A-34, showing t* = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-44)

sin

(mpx)(mp*):

Using A-8 for n12, and expanding the resulting vector triple

m px p* = 0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-34) product, gives Eq. A-45:

v t2t1 + v t1t2 2 2R sin + R2 sin2

t* = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-45) 2 = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-59)

sin sin cos2

Note that (v t2)cos2, (v t1)cos1, and that */2 at The substitution of from Eq. A-52 and 2 from Eq. A-59 into

the turning point. Using these values and Eqs. A-18, A-6, and A-7 Eq. A-53 results in Eq. A-60:

for t*, t1, and t2, respectively, in Eq. A-45 gives Eq. A-46:

2R sin

cos* sin2 cos2 2 = 2R21 cos + R sin

cos1 cos

sin* = sin2 sin2

sin sin 2 2R sin + R2 sin2

0 cos2 + . . . . . . . . (A-60)

cos2

sin1 cos1

cos2 Multiplying by cos2 and rearranging terms, gives Eq. A-61.

sin1 sin1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-46)

sin sin Completing the square on the right side of Eq. A-61 gives

cos1 Eq. A-62:

Dividing the easting by the northing components gives Eq. 31

2 cos2 = 2R sincos 1 + 2 + R21 + cos2

in the body of the paper, for the azimuth * of the turning point.

2R2 cos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-61)

Position at Target Defined. In the most general case, the target p3

can be hit with one curved section of radius R and one straight 2 2cos2 = sin R1 cos2. . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-62)

section of length (see Fig. 9). Using Eq. A-15, the position p3 of Taking the square root of Eq. A-62 and rearranging for R

the target can be written as Eq. A-47: results in equation Eq. A-63 in the form of CA sin()+B cos().

p3 = p1 + R tan t + t + t2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-47) the paper:

2 1 2

1

Taking the dot product of A-47 with t1, and also with itself, R = sin + R 2 22cos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-63)

gives A-48 and A-49, respectively:

After substituting the values of the constants A, B, and C, and

p3 p1 t1 = R sin + cos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-48) comparing the result with Eq. A-57, we obtain the important result

and A2+B2C2 2.

Finally, the expression for /2 is given by A-64:

|p3 p1|2 = 2R21 cos + 2R sin + 2. . . . . . . . . . . . (A-49)

Let tan = 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-64)

2

2R 2

22

2 = |p3 p1|2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-50)

Setting 0 and RRc in Eq. A-64, gives Eq. 39 in the body

and of the paper for the subtended angle, c, for the minimum curva-

= p3 p1 t1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-51) ture to target.

Substituting Eq. A-50 into Eq. A-49 and Eq. A-51 into Eq. Toolface Angle. The toolface angle is determined by the dot prod-

A-48 gives Eqs. A-52 and A-53, respectively. The variable is ucts between the b, h, and r vectors (see Fig. 2).

determined using Pythagorass theorem (see Fig. 12).

b* h* = cos* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-65)

= R sin + cos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-52)

and

and

b* r* = sin*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-66)

2 = 2R21 cos + 2R sin + 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-53) Eqs. A-65 and A-66 lead directly to the vector equation Eq.

Multiplying Eq. A-52 by 2R gives Eq. A-53. Rearranging Eq. A-67 for the toolface angle presented by Thorogood and Sawaryn18:

A-54 gives Eq. A-55:

2R sin + 2R cos = 2R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-54)

2

tan* = b* r*

b* h*

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-67)

and The rightside unit vector lies in the horizontal plane, normal to

both the v and t* vectors, as shown in Eq. A-68. Evaluating the

2R sin 2R2 cos = 2 2 2R2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-55) expression gives Eq. 7 in the body of the paper.

Squaring both Eqs. A-54 and A-55, and adding the results, v t*

r* = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-68)

eliminates and results in a quadratic in 2, as shown in Eq. A-56. sin*

Solving the quadratic gives an explicit expression for

The highside unit vector lies in the vertical plane normal to

(Eq. A-57).

both the r* and t* vectors, as shown in Eq. A-69. Combining Eq.

4 222 + 4 4R22 + 4R22 = 0, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-56) A-68 with Eq. A-69, and expanding the triple vector product gives

Eq. A-70. Evaluating the expression gives Eq. 6 in the body of

1 1

the paper.

= 2 2R2 222. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-57)

h* = r* t* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-69)

Inspecting Eq. A-57, the minimum curvature to target will oc-

cur when 0 and the radius equals Rc, as shown in Eq. A-58. t* cos* v

h* = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-70)

The negative root of Eq. A-57 is the correct one: sin*

2 The unit vector, b*, is normal to both the t* and n12 vectors.

Rc = 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-58) Combining Eqs. A-8 and A-18 with Eq. A-71 gives Eq. A-72:

22 22 b* = t* n12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-71)

To find the angle , rearrange Eq. A-52 for and square the cos *t1 cos* t2

b* = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-72)

result to give Eq. A-59: sin

Taking the dot product of Eqs. A-72 and A-70 gives an ex- dt*

pression for (b*h*), as shown in Eq. A-73. Taking the dot prod- = * h* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-80)

dS*

ucts gives Eq. A-74:

1 dt*

and = * r*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-81)

t* t2t1 t* t1t2 t* cos* v sin* dS*

b* h* =

sin sin* Eliminating the differential between Eqs. A-79 and A-80 and

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-73) taking the dot product of both sides with h* gives Eq. 51 for * in

cos* cos2 + cos *cos1 the body of the paper. The use of Eqs. A-65 and A-74 for b*h*

b* h* = . . . . . . . . . (A-74) gives Eq. 54 in the body of the paper.

sin sin* Eliminating the differential between Eqs. A-79 and A-81, and

taking the dot products of both sides with r*, gives Eq. 52 for *

Taking the dot product of Eqs. A-72 and A-68 gives an ex-

in the body of the paper. The use of Eqs. A-66 and A-78 for b*r*

pression for (b*r*), as shown in Eq. A-75:

gives Eq. 55 in the body of the paper.

cos*t2 v t* cos *t1 v t*

b* r* = .

sin sin* SI Metric Conversion Factors

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-75)

ft 3.048* E01 m

By use of Eq. A-5, the scalar triple products in Eq. A-75 are /100 ft 0.984252 E00 /30 m

given by Eqs. A-76 and A-77. Inserting these expressions into *Conversion factor is exact.

Eq. A-75 gives the final form for (b*r*), as shown in Eq. A-78:

t1 v t* = sin1 sin* sin* 1, . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-76) Steve Sawaryn is currently the Wells Team Leader, Engineering,

for BPs Mature Business Unit in Aberdeen and is also the Drilling

t2 v t* = sin2 sin* sin2 *, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-77) and Completions Adviser, specializing in drilling systems. During

the last 26 years, he has held a variety of posts in drilling op-

b* r* = erations and consultancy, as well as in projects in Aberdeen,

sin2 cos* sin2 * + sin1 cos *sin* 1 London, Kuwait, Alaska, and Norway. He is also a chartered

. engineer and fellow of the British Computer Soc. Sawaryn

sin holds an MA degree in chemical engineering from Cambridge

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A78) U. He is currently serving on the SPE Digital Energy Committee.

John Thorogood is Chief Engineer for the BP Sakhalin explora-

The general expression (Eq. 47) given in the body of the paper tion program, based in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia. In addition,

for toolface angle *, is obtained by substituting Eqs. A-74 and he is actively working on the issues associated with the opera-

A-78 into Eq. A-67. tional command and control of drilling operations. He project

managed the BP deepwater exploration operations in the

Curvature. Referring to Fig. 16, Frenets20 formula for total cur- Faroe Islands, U.K. sector, and in Norway from 1996 to 2001. He

vature, , gives Eq. A-79: has 30 years of experience in drilling operations and technol-

ogy, including his participation in the original deepwater wells

dt* west of Shetland in the early 1980s, and is the author of more

= b*. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-79) than 40 papers on directional drilling, surveying, and deepwa-

dS* ter operations. Thorogood holds BA and PhD degrees from

Cambridge U. and is a member of the U.K. Inst. of Mechanical

The definitions for *

and * as the inclination and azimuthal Engineers. He has served on the SPE Board of Directors with

components of the curvature, respectively, give Eqs. A-80 and A-81: special responsibility for Drilling and Completions.

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