True vertical depth

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(a) is an imaginary line representing the true vertical depth, while line (b) is the borehole itself, and its length is called the measured depth.

True vertical depth[1] is the measurement of a straight line perpendicularly downwards from a horizontal plane.

In the petroleum industry, true vertical depth, abbreviated as TVD, is the measurement from the surface to the bottom of the borehole (or anywhere along its length) in a straight perpendicular line represented by line (a) in the image.

Line (b) is the actual borehole and its length would be considered the measured depth [2] in oilfield terminology. The TVD is always equal to or less than (≤) the measured depth. If you imagine line (b) were a piece of string and pull it straight down, you would see that it would be longer than line (a). This example oilwell would be considered a directional well because it deviates from a straight vertical line.

See also[edit]

Depth in a well