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Tiltmeter provides deep-seated info. (Fortieth Anniversary).

Until the 2001 release of a product developed by Pinnacle Technologies Inc., San Francisco, and Halliburton Energy Services, Houston, there was no way for hydrofractare engineers to account for oil wells that begin to grow in a destructive manner during the drilling. However, the Treatment Well Tiltmeter Instrument, developed by a team from the two companies headed by Eric Davis, allows drillers for the first time to measure the height and width of a well in near real-time.

Hydrofracturing causes adjacent rock structures to move, which is what the Treatment Well Tiltmeter uses to detect the dimensions of a fracture. The tiltmeter works somewhat like a level; using a liquid-filled glass tube with a gas bubble as a sensor, it is attached to electrodes that create a resistive bridge circuit that detects both the positions of the bubble and the excitations in the earth. When movement occurs, the circuit sends a signal to a conductor electric wireline, where the signal is recorded for display and processing. The data from the sensor are used to derive the tilt-vector's magnitude and direction with the maximum tilt resonating from the top and bottom of the well. The tiltmeter also has applications in long-term reservoir monitoring of underground fluid flow, as well as monitoring underground levels of toxic and non-toxic waste.

The method for obtaining dimensions prior to this was boring an offset well, which is troublesome because suitable adjacent wells are available only 20% of the time. A more dependable method was obviously needed as large amounts of money can be squandered on either losing oil from drilling a shallow well, or on spending time hydrofracturing a well to perform test measurements.

To secure the functionality of this vital tool, the developers designed the treatment well tiltmeter with durable electronics, able to withstand an active well flowstream. The instrument's slim 4.29 cm outside diameter allows it to run through even small tubing into casings and even to be inserted permanently. The tiltmeter has magnetic decentralizers that securely fasten the top and bottom of the tool to casing walls. Perhaps the friendliest features to hydrofracturing engineers, though, are the tiltmeter's sensor readings of bottomhole pressure and temperature and its ability to automatically orient readings to any wellbore deviation. Thus the direction of tilt can be detected even in non-vertical wells. Write In 2003

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Publication:R & D
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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