Depth Calculations

In the oil and gas industry, depth in a well is the measurement, for any point in that well, of the distance between a reference point or elevation, and that point. It is the most common method of reference for locations in the well, and therefore, in oil industry speech, “depth” also refers to the location itself.

Because wells are not always drilled vertically, there may be two “depths” for every given point in a wellbore: the measured depth (MD) measured along the path of the borehole, and the true vertical depth (TVD), the absolute vertical distance between the datum and the point in the wellbore. In perfectly vertical wells, the TVD equals the MD; otherwise, the TVD is less than the MD measured from the same datum. Common datums used are ground level (GL), drilling rig floor (DF), rotary table (RT), kelly bushing (KB) and mean sea level (MSL). [1]

Terms and Abbreviations:

The common references used in operations include:

  • Kelly Bushing Height (KB): The height of the drilling floor above the ground level. Many wellbore depth measurements are taken from the Kelly Bushing. The Kelly bushing elevation is calculated by adding the ground level to the Kelly bushing height.
  • Rotary Table (RT): e.g. MDBRT or TVDBRT. MDBRT stands for Measured Depth Below Rotary Table (MDBRT),
  • Rig Floor (RF),
  • Driller’s Depth below rotary table (DDbrt): The depth of a well or features within the wellbore as measured while drilling. The measured length of each joint of drillpipe or tubing is added to provide a total depth or measurement to the point of interest. Drillers depth is the first depth measurement of a wellbore and is taken from the rotary table level on the rig floor. In most cases, subsequent depth measurements, such as those made during the well completion phase, are corrected to the wellhead datum that is based on drillers depth (reference: Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary).
  • Ground Level (GL),
  • Casing Bowl Flange (CBF),
  • Tubing Hanger Flange (THF),
  • Mean Sea Level (MSL),
  • Subsea Level (SS),
  • Sea Bottom (SB),
  • Measured Depth (MD),
  • True Vertical Depth (TVD).

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What is Cement Bond Log (CBL)?

The Cement Bond Logging tools have become the standard method of evaluating cement jobs. They indicate how good the cement bond is. A cement bond log (CBL) documents an evaluation of the integrity of cement job performed on an oil well. It is basically a sonic tool which is run on wireline. Similar to a ringing bell, when no cement is bonded to the casing, pipe  is free to vibrate (loud sound). When the casing is bonded to hard cement, casing vibrations are attenuated proportionally to bonded surface.

CBL Measurement Principle:

The basic tool configuration of CBL-VDL log is composed by One Transmitter and Two Receivers: the first Receiver is located 3 ft. from the Transmitter and is used for CBL Measurement. The second Receiver is located 5 ft. from the Transmitter and is used for Variable Density Log (VDL).

NB: CBL-VDL logging tools MUST be centralized.

The following video explains the basics of Cement Bond Log:

NB: API 10TR-1 is an API standard for Cement Sheath Evaluation.

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