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Top Three Benefits of MEMS Technology for Gyro-Surveying-While-Drilling

Gyro surveying remains an essential part of drilling, as it delivers accurate direction and inclination data when regular measurements-while-drilling (MWD) tools cannot achieve that goal. However, the tools that conduct these gyroscopic surveys have seen little technological advancement in the last 20 years.

Most conventional gyro-while-drilling systems continue to depend on mechanical gyroscopes that can have a negative impact on the efficiency of drilling operations, such as waiting for surveys after connections. They are also susceptible to the ordinary shock and vibration of drilling activities and hampered by high power requirements that limit their autonomy downhole.

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology is changing gyro surveying for the better. Adapted from the same systems used in robotics, spacecraft and mobile devices, this technology works off the Coriolis effect, which means the sensor uses a vibrating structure to determine the rate of planetary rotation. From that rate, the sensor pinpoints its inclination, azimuth, and the toolface orientation.

So, what makes MEMS sensor technology better than its non-MEMS counterparts when it comes to gyro-surveying-while-drilling?

Gyro-surveying efficiency. MEMS gyro-surveying-while-drilling measurements are taken during connections and the data is available right after the pumps are back on, rather than having to wait for up to 30 minutes after, as is the case with mechanical gyros. This represents a significant time saving for operators routinely using gyro-while-drilling survey to drill top hole sections in congested areas.

Tool durability. Unlike the mechanical sensors used in conventional gyro survey technologies, the solid-state sensor withstands challenging downhole conditions, including severe shock and vibration. Consequently, there is no recalibration needed between runs, and these sensors have low power requirements that eliminate the need to spin up and stabilize. More surveys are completed in less time and for longer runs and laterals without changing batteries.

Data accuracy. Runs to date continuously demonstrate that MEMS gyro-while-drilling surveys sustain the accuracy needed for today's complex drilling environment. When combined with MWD surveys, gyro surveys reduce the ellipse of uncertainty by up to 45%, which is beneficial in extended-reach sections or when drilling smaller targets.

Learn more about MEMS technology for gyro-surveying-while-drilling. Speak to a gyro-while-drilling expert at

The new GyroSphere* MEMS gyro-while-drilling service from Schlumberger delivers all three benefits to operators. Unlike any other gyro-surveying-while-drilling offer in the oilfield today, the service delivers more transparent gyro-surveying data that increases drilling operation efficiency and tool reliability while improving access to small-target reservoirs.

Validated through extensive testing and field trials in the North Sea, Ecuador, Africa, and Far East Asia, the service has produced more than 20,000 successful surveys with zero failures.

In a dense well cluster offshore Angola, the GyroSphere service:

  • reduced gyro-survey time from 20 to 0 min.
  • eliminated the need for drop gyros at section TD
  • reduced rig time by two hours and delivered more gyro surveys, providing better anticollision data.

Want to speak with a GyroSphere expert? E-mail your questions to

*Mark of Schlumberger

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