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An Innovative High-Temperature, High Pressure Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) Tool
Project Number

This project aims to improve the economics of deep well drilling by improving overall rate-of-penetration (ROP) and accurate well placement in deep hostile environments.

Pressure Well Test
Pressure Well Test



Schlumberger Technology Corp., Houston, Texas 77252


This project will design and commercialize a retrievable and reseatable high-temperature, high-pressure measurement-while-drilling (MWD) tool. The MWD tool will have the capability to provide real-time continuous inclination, vibration detection, annular pressure, and gamma ray detection. To accomplish these objectives, specific research is required in the areas of high temperature (390 to 450° F) and high-pressure (> 20 kpsi) sensors, electronics, packaging, materials, and pressure housings.

This project consists of three phases:
Phase I will assess the feasibility, reliability, and economics of developing a high temperature, high pressure MWD tool. The early effort will investigate the maximum tool operating temperature and pressure, optimal production methods, and the overall cost of the tool.

Phase II will develop an experimental prototype, which will be tested in an on-site pressure vessel and test rig. Following in-house testing, suitable wells will be used for additional research, development, and testing.

Phase III will be the development and testing of a full-scale engineering prototype. Testing in the third phase will include in-house testing and extensive testing in high-temperature, high-pressure test wells.

To date, significant progress has been made on multiple tasks. Individual components of the high-temperature tolerant MWD tool have been successfully tested and a prototype high temperature-high pressure (HTHP) MWD tool has been successfully field tested.

Achievement of a real-time, economic measurement-while-drilling tool capable of reliable operation at high temperatures and pressures is one key to the development of an estimated 113 tcf * of undiscovered natural gas resource estimated to exist at depths beyond 15,000 feet. This tool will have continuous inclination, vibration detection, annular pressure, and gamma ray detection capability. These capabilities are critical to increasing rate of penetration and reducing overall well costs in deep natural gas wells. Commercializing an MWD tool with this capability will allow well operators to detect high pressure gas zones earlier and allow greater optimization of rate-of-penetration, fluid balance and improved safety. [* USGS 1995 National Petroleum Assessment]

Phase I and II accomplishments include:

  • Design of a universal test board,
  • Completion of standard component testing of controllers, A-D converters and batteries,
  • Successful testing of the gamma ray crystal detector, photo-multiplier tube and high voltage power supply components to 205° C
  • Successful completion of 200° C thermal cycle qualification test of the standard high temperature lead-based solder
  • Successful field testing of a prototype HTHP MWD Tool at Schlumberger’s “Genesis” well test facility.
Current Status

(July 2007)
The project has been completed and the final report is available below under "Additional Information". However, before the tool can be commercialized, Schllumberger must resolve an issue with the useful service life of the tool's battery. Schlumberger is continuing to pursue various technical venues to address the excessive power consumption and battery insufficiency of the tool. Schlumberger has stated that they are committed to the completion and commercialization of the tool.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution


Contact Information

NETL - Gary Covatch ( or 304-285-4589)
Schlumberger Technology - Vlad Vaynshteyn (281-285-7210 or )

Additional Information

Final Project Report [PDF-1.56MB]