What Is Geosteering?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Geosteering allows technicians to perform real-time adjustments as they drill a wellbore. They use incoming information to adjust the drilling for best results, relying on computer analysis and the skill of engineers with specific training in this field. Some oil and gas companies may maintain their own geosteering teams to handle this aspect of well development. Others contract the work out to firms that specialize in this service and have extensive experience.

Geosteering allows technicians to perform real-time adjustments as they drill a wellbore.
Geosteering allows technicians to perform real-time adjustments as they drill a wellbore.

Before the drilling process begins, geologists conduct a careful series of surveys to collect as much information as possible about the area. This includes imaging studies and seismic testing to develop a profile of underground features and deposits. Test wells can provide additional information about underground conditions. Information from this stage allows the engineering team to form a well plan, describing how and where a well should be placed for optimum drilling performance.

As the technicians start drilling, continuous logging provides feedback. This enriches the available information with data directly from the drilling site, which may change the overall profile and picture. In response, it may be necessary to adapt in real time to steer the drill bit appropriately for optimal results. Geosteering can involve hours on the job, carefully monitoring as the drill moves forward and returns new information to technicians waiting for data. Geologists work with engineers and assistants to continuously update their plans.

Computer programs can provide assistance with geosteering. They crunch data as it comes in and provide plots and other forms of feedback for engineers to quickly read. Some can offer course recommendations to help the drilling team make decisions about how they should proceed. This allows for finely tuned directional drilling to achieve optimal results on a drilling project, ensuring maximum efficiency. Sinking a well can be a costly endeavor, and engineers work very hard to make it pay off for their employers.

Workers need to be on site continuously during geosteering operations to monitor the drilling and make adjustments. This may be done on a tight deadline, as stopping equipment can create costly delays. Firms may have teams of engineers to provide coverage, making it possible for people to take breaks at various stages in the process to prevent fatigue-related mistakes. The teams may be responsible for providing updates to supervisors or a home office, so the company can keep pace with developments at the well site and make plans accordingly.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


How can I enroll for a geosteering training course? I already have a B.Sc in Applied Geophysics and I'm from Nigeria.


In a nutshell, this is a very good description of what the geosteering the process is all about.

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