Formation Temperature Calculation

Formation temperature is one of the most critical parameters in drilling and workover operation and it varies by true vertical depth of wellbore.

The following formula shows relationship between formation temperature and true vertical depth of well.

Formation temperature = (ambient surface temperature ) + (temperature gradient x  Well TVD)


Formation temperature in F (Fahrenheit)

ambient surface temperature in F (Fahrenheit)

temperature gradient in F/ft (Fahrenheit / ft)

Well TVD in ft

Example: The temperature gradient in a specific area is 0.015 °F/ft of depth and the ambient surface temperature is 90 °F.

Determine the estimated formation temperature at a TVD of 12,000 ft:

Formation Temperature, °F = 90 °F + (0.015 °F/ft x 12,000 ft)

Formation Temperature, °F = 90 °F + 180 °F

Formation Temperature = 270 °F (estimated formation temperature)

Please find the Excel sheet used for estimating formation temperature.

Ref books: Lapeyrouse, N.J., 2002. Formulas and calculations for drilling, production and workover, Boston: Gulf Professional publishing.

Bourgoyne, A.J.T., Chenevert , M.E. & Millheim, K.K., 1986. SPE Textbook Series, Volume 2: Applied Drilling Engineering, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Mitchell, R.F., Miska, S. & Aadny, B.S., 2011. Fundamentals of drilling engineering, Richardson, TX: Society of Petroleum Engineers.