By Joanne Liou, editorial coordinator
Baker Hughes launched the AutoTrak Curve Rotary Steerable System (RSS) this week at the 2012 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference in San Diego, California. The tool targets the fast-growing unconventionals market with a capability to drill vertical, curve and horizontal sections in one run to reduce the number of trips. “By kicking off deeper, starting from vertical, you get into the reservoir earlier,” Mathias Schlecht, vice president of drilling services at Baker Hughes, said at a press preview event in Houston on 24 February. “You have the additional reservoir exposure, and a tighter curve also means you reduce the drilling distance.”
The system achieves build rates of more than 15°/100 ft, and a gamma ray detector is integrated near the bit to allow precise geosteering. The rotary steerable is a closed-loop system that takes commands from the surface to place the wellbore in the desired direction and inclination. It is also tolerant to lost-circulation materials and particles in the mud and does not require pressure drop.
The system is a one-piece tool and does not require additional components, streamlining rig-site handling. “It’s just picking up one piece of equipment and is designed for ease of use,” Mr Schlecht said. Further, bi-directional communication capability allows downlinks to be sent to the tool while drilling.
The system has been through more than 10,000 hrs of field testing in unconventional environments in North America, according to Baker Hughes. “We’ve drilled more than 92 wells in the last year. In that time frame, we estimate that we saved our customers six months of rig time, which equates to about $9.7 million saved for our customers,” Mr Schlecht said. “These savings are just based on the time reduction for drilling, avoiding the trips, increasing rate of penetration.” Additional potential benefits are lie in the ease of casing runs, ease of completion and production rates, he said.
AutoTrak Curve is a trademark of Baker Hughes.