This paper proposes a methodical structure to embody current expertise for
the analysis of drilling data. This structure is based on two aspects: (1) the
review of published literature, representative of present-day efforts to
perform such tasks, and (2) the use of the methodological-pyramid concept, to
illustrate what elements typify a methodology.
The review of published works revealed that several key aspects of the
analysis of drilling data are not clear; for example
- Actual use of drilling data is still unclear and under debate.
- Most of the available engineering tools limit the range of applications to
- The proposed methods of analysis vary, depending upon the needs of
individual organizations or processes using the concept of "method and
- Various sets of concepts and theories, from internal and external sources,
of drilling-engineering knowledge have been used to develop existing methods
and engineering tools.
Under this scenario, it seems that more effort is needed to unify current
approaches to analyze drilling data (i.e., within the scope of an independent
field with common goals, theories, methods, and tools that can support the
decision-making process). For this purpose, the methodological pyramid was
chosen as a convenient model to outline these efforts. By allocating some of
the reviewed approaches within the elements of such a pyramid and contrasting
their different ideas where necessary, a methodology for drilling analysis was
formalized. It is believed that this methodology is a convenient framework for
defining the goals and scope for an area of drilling expertise named
"drilling analysis" and defining the evolving future role of the
Current approaches to analyze drilling data comprise independent efforts
that suit the needs of drilling organizations (Bond et al. 1998; Brett and
Millheim 1986; Adeleye et al. 2004) or processes (Perrin et al. 1997; Oag and
Williams 2000; Kravis et al. 2002; O’Hare and Aigbekaen 2000). All of these
efforts rely on a set of engineering tools, developed to analyze drilling data
from corporate databases (Millheim et al. 1998; Irrgang et al. 2002) or from
operational/visualization centers (Branch et al. 2001; Kaminski et al. 2002).
These two different uses of drilling data orient the requirement and
specifications of such engineering tools, as well as drilling-analysis methods
(Bond et al. 1998; Brett and Millheim 1986; Behm and Brett 2004; Iyoho et al.
2004). To develop these methods, a variety of concepts and theories have been
borrowed within (Millheim et al. 1998; Behm and Brett 2004) and outside (Brett
and Millheim 1986; Peterson et al. 1995) the drilling-engineering knowledge.
The use of these theories and concepts is valuable because they complement and
expand such knowledge. However, this broad scenario of ideas, tools, and
methods still lacks a unified framework for the analysis of drilling data.
Therefore, structuring the current knowledge into a methodology for drilling
analysis is a basic step for fulfilling the needs of the growing specialism
named drilling analysis.
This paper is about specifying what constitutes a methodology for drilling
analysis. For this purpose, the concept of the methodological pyramid (de Hoog
1998) was chosen to illustrate how current knowledge, tools, and systems fit
within its layers. This approach was selected because it represents a
structured view of the whole process. On the other hand, it was noticed that
drilling literature uses the words "method" and "methodology"
as synonymous and uses them indistinctly. The usefulness of the methodological
pyramid is that it provides a graphical body for clarifying frequent confusion
about the use of certain words (de Hoog 1998). In this sense, it contrasts both
method and methodology with their definitions and with one drilling example
before describing the methodology for drilling analysis.
The review of representative current efforts, and allocating them within the
frame of the methodological pyramid, discloses the actual scenario for
drilling-analysis activities. It also permits structuring a convenient
framework for the growth of an independent field within the
drilling-engineering knowledge named drilling analysis, and the evolving role
of the drilling analyst. The needs and challenges of the further use of
drilling data will constantly update the contents of the methodology for
drilling analysis; it requires consensus, time, and support for further
developments and implementations.
© 2008. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- Original manuscript received:
3 November 2004
- Revised manuscript received:
7 December 2007
- Manuscript approved:
13 May 2008
- Version of record:
10 December 2008