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A bit of history: Overcoming early setbacks, PDC bits now drill 90%-plus of worldwide footage

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpted version of an article that appears in a new Drill Bits e-book that will be available through the IADC bookstore and e-bookstore later this year. Since the invention of the carbide-supported polycrystalline diamond cutter (PDC) by General Electric in 1971, this technology has impacted nearly all material removal industries. This article will trace the history and significant milestones of PDC technologies in the oil and gas well drilling industry since their introduction. This article will focus on advances in synthetic diamond cutters, bit design and other factors that have significantly increased drill bit performance and drilling efficiency to a point where PDC bits have taken over most applications once dominated by the venerable rolling cone bit, introduced by the Hughes Tool Co (HTC) in 1909. Over the years, the key bit company customers have insisted on pushing the technology and performance envelope, not allowing the PDC cutter to become a commodity item. As a result, PDC cutters, inserts, wear parts and bearings for oil and gas drilling products are, arguably, the largest segment of the super-abrasives industry. This technology is playing a significant role in changing how and where oil and gas wells are drilled

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Oil & Gas UK report: Offshore safety performance improved over past year

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There have been further improvements in the management of major safety hazards offshore, according to Oil & Gas UK’s Health & Safety 2015 Report published today. Based on incidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive for April 2014 to March 2015 and shared with the trade body; the total number of hydrocarbon releases - oil and gas leaks - has gone down and is at its lowest level ever.

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Shell authorizes go-ahead for Appomattox deepwater development in GOM

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Royal Dutch Shell announced the final investment decision to advance the Appomattox deepwater development in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). This decision authorizes the construction and installation of Shell’s eighth and largest floating platform in the GOM. The Appomattox development will initially produce from the Appomattox and Vicksburg fields, with average peak production estimated to reach approximately 175,000 BOED. The platform and the Appomattox and Vicksburg fields will be owned by Shell (79%) and Nexen Petroleum Offshore U.S.A. (21%), a wholly owned subsidiary of CNOOC.

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