Active Wireline Heave Compensation for Ocean Drilling
Abstract:The up-and-down heave motion of a ship causes a similar motion on any instruments tethered on wireline cable below it. If the amplitude of this motion is greater than a few tens of cm, significant discrepancy in the depth below the ship is introduced, causing uncertainty in the acquired data. Large and irregular cabled motions also increase the risk of damaging tethered instruments, particularly those with relatively delicate sensors. In 2005, Schlumberger and Deep Down, Inc built an active wireline heave compensator (AHC) system for use onboard the JOIDES Resolution to compensate for heave motion on wireline logging tools deployed in scientific drill holes. The goals for the new AHC system were to (1) design a reliable heave compensation system; and (2) devise a robust and quantitative methodology for routine assessment of compensation efficiency (CE) during wireline operations. Software programs were developed to monitor CE and the dynamics of logging tools in real-time, including system performance under variable parameters such as water depth, sea state, cable length, logging speed and direction.
We present the CE results from the AHC system on the JOIDES Resolution during a 5-year period of recent IODP operations and compare the results to those from previous compensation systems deployed during ODP and IODP. Based on new data under heave conditions of ±0.2–2.0 m and water depths of 300–4,800 m in open holes, the system reduces 65-80% of downhole tool displacement under stationary conditions and 50-60% during normal logging operations. Moreover, down/up tool motion at low speeds (300–600 m/h) reduces the system’s CE values by 15–20%, and logging down at higher speeds (1,000–1,200 m/h) reduces CE values by 55–65%. Furthermore, the system yields slightly lower CE values of 40-50% without tension feedback of the downhole cable while logging. These results indicate that the new system’s compensation efficiency is comparable to or better than previous systems, with additional advantages that include upgradable compensation control software and the capability for continued assessment under varying environmental conditions. Future integration of downhole cable dynamics as an input feedback could further improve CE during logging operations.