Developments in ultradeep azimuthal resistivity (UDAR) technology has recently progressed from their application in high-angle and horizontal wells to low-angle and vertical wells. This has presented the opportunity to assess their suitability as derisking tools because of their ability to look ahead of the bit, up to c. 100 ft (c. 30.5 m).

Dominated by a complex interplay of structure, sedimentation, and volcanic activity, the NE Atlantic Margin presents a challenging environment to plan and drill wells safely and within planned budget, with many wells drilled within the Faroe-Shetland Basin (FSB) currently the most expensive to-date within the United Kingdom continental shelf (UKCS). The limited number of wells drilled in the FSB and their geographical sparsity relative to those of other areas of the UKCS, make offset analysis and derisking a challenge. The often-unpredictable distribution of igneous rocks throughout the basin presents significant challenges in the planning and drilling of oil and gas wells. Up to 88% of igneous intrusions within the FSB are estimated to be below seismic resolution, which alongside variation in composition, presents significant issues related to drilling safely, efficiently and successfully.

Within this paper, we investigate the use of UDAR technology and how they could be deployed in areas of complex volcanic geology such as the West of Shetland (WoS). This paper reviews the nature of the drilling experiences within the FSB to date, the impact it has on exploration, and how improvements in drilling technology could help decrease nonproductive time (NPT).

Thematic collection: This article is part of the UKCS Atlantic Margin collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/topic/collections/new-learning-from-exploration-and-development-in-the-ukcs-atlantic-margin

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