Measurement While Drilling

MWD stands for Measurement While Drilling in the oil & gas industry. The simplest way to describe MWD is to relate it to the measurements a pilot takes. A pilot needs to know the direction they are flying (North, South, East, or West), the angle they are flying at (up, down, or horizontal), and what type of skies they will be flying through (rough, choppy, cloudy, rainy, etc.). Like a pilot a directional driller needs to know these items about the ground formations that they are drilling through. MWD provides this information. Previous to MWD measurements were taken at various parts of the drilling process, but MWD has allowed these measurements to be sent to the surface continuously while the hole is being drilled. This allows for faster drilling, more accurate drilling, and safer drilling.

Beyond the basic concept MWD is a system developed to perform drilling related measurements downhole that are transmit to the surface while drilling a well. MWD tools are installed as part of the bottom hole assembly (BHA) near the drill bit. The tools are either contained inside a thick walled, drill collar (drill collars are typically used to add weight for drilling) or they are built directly into the collars at a factory prior to arriving on the drilling location.

MWD systems can take several measurements such as Gamma Ray, compass direction (shown as azimuth), tool face (the direction that your bit is pointing), borehole pressure, temperature, vibration, shock, torque, etc. The MWD also provides the means of communication for operating rotary steering tools (RSTs).

The measured results are stored in MWD tools and some of the results can be transmitted digitally to surface using mud pulser telemetry through the mud or other advanced technology such as electromagnetic(EM) frequency communications or wired drill pipe.

Read more about Measurement While Drilling:  Retrievable Tools

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... The division then merged the directional drilling products and services once marketed by the Eastman Christensen division with Teleco's measurement-while-drilling (MWD ... navigation system, combining the Navi-Drill steerable drilling motor and quantitative resistivity MWD measurements near the bit ...

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