Research Article Open Access

Wellbore Surveying While Drilling Based on Kalman Filtering

Mahmoud ElGizawy1, Aboelmagd Noureldin1, Jacques Georgy1, Umar Iqbal1 and Naser El-Sheimy2
  • 1 Queen’s University, Canada
  • 2 University of Calgary, Canada


Problem statement: Oil and gas are global fuels obtained primarily from drilling wells in underground terrestrial reservoirs. Vertical drilling is preferred because of its simplicity and therefore low cost, but subsurface targets can often be procured only by directing the wellbore along predefined non-vertical trajectories. For instance, directional drilling must be employed to reach locations inaccessible to the drilling rig, to side track an existing well (multilateral drilling), or to drill multiple wells from the same offshore platform (horizontal drilling). Approach: A complete knowledge of the wellbore direction and orientation during the drilling process is essential to guarantee proper directional drilling procedure. Results: Thus, besides the conventional drilling assembly, directional drilling operations require sensors to provide azimuth, inclination and toolface angles of the drill. These sensors are part of the Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) tool, which in current technology is installed several feet behind the drill bit. In such systems, values for inclination and toolface angles are determined from accelerometer measurements at predetermined stationary surveying stations; these values are then incorporated with magnetometer measurements to deliver the azimuth angle. Values for inclination and azimuth angles at the current surveying station are combined with those from the previous station to compute the position of the probe. However, there is no accurate information about the wellbore trajectory between survey stations. Additionally, the magnetic field of the magnetometers has deleterious effect on the overall accuracy of surveying measurements. Conclusion: A method to provide continuous information about the wellbore trajectory has been developed in this study. The module developed integrates a Rotary Steerable System (RSS) and MWD tool into one drilling probe utilizing Inertial Navigation System (INS) technology. This is achieved by designing a reliable real-time low cost MWD surveying system based on MEMS inertial sensors miniaturized inside the RSS housing installed directly behind the drill bit. A continuous borehole surveying module based on MEMS inertial sensors integrated with other drilling measurements was developed using Kalman filtering.

American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Volume 3 No. 2, 2010, 240-259


Submitted On: 22 January 2010 Published On: 30 June 2010

How to Cite: ElGizawy, M., Noureldin, A., Georgy, J., Iqbal, U. & El-Sheimy, N. (2010). Wellbore Surveying While Drilling Based on Kalman Filtering. American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 3(2), 240-259.

  • 18 Citations



  • Wellbore surveying
  • measurement while drilling
  • Rotary steerable system
  • MEMS-based inertial sensors
  • Kalman filter