With so many MWD equipment platforms available, it’s quite difficult for newcomers to find the best technology platform for their needs. Often we’re asked by clients if there is a single MWD platform that fits all use-cases. The answer is YES (with a catch!) You can use a multi-purpose MWD equipment technology platform on just about any kind of well within a defined geographic area or basin…there’s always a catch right? Simply put, having the right technology can make a huge difference in your drilling performance and a huge difference in how happy your client is and ultimately, that’s what the directional drilling game is all about.
Our focus with this article is to highlight the best and most popular MWD/LWD platforms on the market today (in no particular order!) We will look at niche-specific Measurement While Drilling Technology as well as top multi-purpose MWD systems in this list. (Keep in mind that we are not ranking these systems.)
Depending on your use case, you can get a good idea of an mwd tool system suppliers that best suit your needs. There are plenty of mwd tools for sale on both the new and the surplus marketplace so let’s get started!
Weatherford is easily recognizable as one of the leaders in the Oil & Gas Services sector and they are no stranger to the Directional Drilling space. They have five distinct offerings to choose from.
- Standalone tools—drift measurement tool (DMT), azimuth measurement system (AMS) and standalone azimuth measurement system (SAM)—reduce survey time and expense while enabling operators to continually monitor the wellbore remotely.
- HEL™ hostile-environment-logging MWD system is the industry’s most robust hostile environment positive mud-pulse telemetry system, with 356°F (180°C) temperature and 30,000-psi (207-MPa) pressure ratings.
- HyperPulse™ positive mud-pulse telemetry systems provide directional surveying, formation gamma ray and temperature measurements in all routine drilling environments and in heavy-mud and highlost-circulation-material (LCM) conditions.
- EMpulse™ electromagnetic telemetry systems perform in mud-pulse environments and in borehole environments where mud-pulse systems cannot perform. When fully integrated with their Weatherford® LWD (logging-while-drilling) and Revolution® rotary-steerable systems, the EMpulse MWD system helps pinpoint well placement in complex wellbores.
- TwinWells™ active-magnetic ranging systems ensure accurate placement of steam-assisted gravity-drainage (SAGD) well pairs in heavy-oil environments.
Halliburton’s Sperry Drilling has coined their offering the QuickPulse™ Automated Directional Gamma Service. The website says that the their mwd tool delivers quick and reliable downhole information which helps the client make sound decisions and drill longer laterals quicker. They also say that Its small-footprint design allows for up to 70 percent faster rig-up time and reduces well time and health, safety, and environmental (HSE) exposure.
Beyond their regular positive pulse mwd system, Halliburton’s Quasar Trio® measurement-while-drilling/logging-while-drilling M/LWD triple-combo service, gives exceptional insight into previously inaccessible reserves located in the harshest drilling environments. Their system is outfitted with three rugged sensors to capture resistivity, azimuthal density, and neutron porosity measurements in real-time, which helps enhance reservoir understanding.
Their website boasts that they surpass the capabilities of conventional LWD systems with the Quasar Trio service delivering accurate data in extreme high-temperature 200°C (392°F) and high-pressure to 172MPa (25,000 psi) reservoirs, helping to maximize asset value.
Nabors has thrown their hat into the ring with a collar-based system designed for the unconventional market, called AccuSteer® MWD which provides all the latest and greatest key measurements such as:
- Continuous inclination
- Shock and vibration
- Azimuthal gamma
- Downhole pressure
- Drilling dynamics
All of which help to optimize drilling and help stay “in zone” for enhanced wellbore placement.
Their marketing material also boasts that their tools are delivered fully assembled for increased reliability and faster utilization (as it should be in my opinion. High tech tools being built in the sand, dust snow, wind, rain, etc are destined to fail.)
Here is an unexpected bonus, due to its unique design, the AccuSteer® Suite offers its resistivity logging service without adding additional BHA components or moving other sensors excessive distances from the bit. That is pretty cool.
4. Baker Hughes
For years the NaviTrak™ MWD service from Baker Hughes has provided an extremely reliable solution to accurately drill wells while minimizing non-productive time (NPT) and drilling costs.
NaviTrak MWD service is a probe-based technology that provides both directional and drilling dynamics measurements in applications ranging from conventional directional drilling and horizontal drilling to short-radius, slimhole re-entry and underbalanced drilling.
As with most others, NaviTrak™ MWD provides continuous inclination and azimuth measurements along with drilling dynamics measurements give you an understanding of the magnitude and type of vibrations encountered by the probe during drilling.
You can also acquire real-time and memory gamma-ray measurements with the NaviTrak MWD service’s optional gamma module.
The service includes three options for telemetry (mud-pulse (MP), electromagnetic (EM), and unified MP and EM) and different pressure services (no pressure, annular pressure, and borehole pressure) to cover most needs
The Tolteq™ iSeries platform from NOV is one of the leading probe-based, mud pulse MWD Specifications product line available to the third-party directional drilling market. As a modular platform based on the legacy Tensor design, the iSeries platform provides directional drillers with significant flexibility to configure and deploy the tools in a wide variety of applications. With more than 600 tools sold and in use in 15 countries (as of January 2020), the Tolteq iSeries MWD platform is a proven and reliable MWD solution for directional drillers globally.
When you think of APS Tech you immediately think of their legendary rotary pulser. Superior engineering and unrivaled customer support has set APS apart from the rest of the pack for a very long time. With a worldwide footprint, APS has developed some of the most reliable drilling technology ever made. Their MWD/LWD kits and equipment and RSS innovations all perform admirably in downhole temperature extremes, hostile and harsh conditions.
Hands down one of the all-time best EM MWD systems ever built. When you cannot drill with mud, this is the system you want to use. The AP250 EM MWD platform is used in applications such as air drilling, underbalanced drilling, high speed drilling, low pressure formations with high lost circulation material (LCM) situations, drilling in difficult areas, and in high temperature drilling applications for oil, gas, and geothermal.
It is a collar mounted mwd tool that features rugged construction, delivering high reliability and accuracy and simple maintenance. Two communication protocols are offered for a wide range of information from downhole to the surface, including roll, inclination, azimuth, vibration, shock, and rotational data. Bonus features include fully programmable electromagnetic downlinking capabilities and a wide range of available peripheral devices such as the AP600 Near Bit Sub or our TV RSS Rotary Steerable Crossover system.
8. Compass MWD
Compass has been in the business for a long time. Since 1996 in fact. Their modular MWD systems are designed and packaged for easy field transportation and assembly. They are fully retrievable in the event of any lost-in-hole (LIH) incident, reducing your financial risk. They also provide a vast array of LWD tools including Gamma Logging and Resistivity Logging, Near Bit Tools and PWD (Pressure While Drilling).
9. Evo One
evoone® is Evolution Engineering’s next generation Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) system for onshore oil and gas drilling. The patented Unified Telemetry® system combines Evolution’s proprietary mud pulse and multi-channel EM telemetry systems unified into a single tool that is under 14 feet in length. With an uptime of over 99% and data transmission rates of up to 18 bits per second, the evo mwd tool is thought to be one of the most reliable mwd tools on the market.
The old workhorse as it is sometimes referred to. Though not as popular as it once was, it is still used in many parts of the world.
The reputation of the Geolink MWD brand was built largely on the simplicity and reliability of the fixed mount negative pulse transmitter which is particularly reliable in high flow conditions. The system has been successful globally is sever drilling environments where other systems have often proven less reliable. (MWD Marketing & Sales manufactures and sells select Geolink MWD pressure housings, click HERE for all the details)
11. Tensor MWD
No article about MWD/LWD kits and tools would be complete without mentioning the famous Tenor brand. Tensor Drilling Technologies was once a GE Oil and Gas company, that has been taken over by new management with a redefined commitment to customer service and continued top tier instrumentation development. Today, the classic durable line of MWD and LWD Tensor measurement technologies continues to deliver the reliability and accuracy the Oil & Gas exploration industry demands in high temperature and high pressure applications.
12. Pilot Plus MWD
Last, but not least, we finish this article with perhaps the most reliable MWD tool that has ever hit the market. First Directional bought the GE Pilot MWD line from GE Oil & Gas and has never looked back. Renowned for it’s ease of use and reliability (did we mention it’s reliable?) it will surely be around for years to come.
That concludes the article and I hope that it did not drag on too much! The MWD/LWD industry is constantly changing and innovating and we will keep the reviews coming!
Author: Jake Cranston