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Drill bit innovations target major barriers to ROP, durability

BHGE’s Dynamus drill bit was designed to extend the life of the bit, as well as the BHA, by reducing vibration. It incorporates two technologies that had been developed but not yet deployed: the StayTrue diamond elements and StayCool 2.0 cutters. Since its launch in summer 2017, the Dynamus bit has been run in the Permian, Eagle Ford, SCOOP, STACK, Bakken, Niobrara, Marcellus, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Canada and Oman, as well as in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Although a drill bit is but one component of a large and complex drilling system, it can have an outsized impact on the efficiency of a drilling operation. “While the amount of money spent on drill bits may be less than 1% of the total cost of the well, it can really be argued that no single component contributes more to the overall drilling performance,” said Wiley Long, Bits and Drilling Tools Product Champion at Smith Bits, a Schlumberger company...

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Digital solutions guide path to better accuracy in directional drilling

Schlumberger’s abbl drilling operations advisor service leverages real-time downhole and surface data to recommend steering instructions to guide the bit along the well plan. It also provides objective slide feedback, such as direction, length, toolface control, motor output and rotary tendencies, while steering operations are executed. Photo Courtesy of Schlumberger.

The global directional drilling services market has taken a big hit during this downturn. In terms of market value, directional drilling fell from $16.55 billion in 2014 to $10.95 billion in 2015, then shrank further in 2016 to just $6.71 billion. Most of these reductions were brought about by project cancellations in the low oil price environment, according to Rajashekar Lokam, Research Analyst at Mordor Intelligence...

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Workforce outlook: Industry must consider new strategies to attract, retain next-generation employees

Comparing the perceptions of oil and gas executives with those of young people, it can be seen that there are some disconnects. On-the-job happiness, for example, was cited by 37% of young people to be among their top three job considerations, but only 18% of executives think young people prioritize it. Graphics Courtesy of EY.

The oil and gas workforce has shrunken considerably as a result of the global downturn. An April 2017 Rystad Energy report found that the top 50 oilfield service companies, including drilling contractors, had eliminated 300,000 upstream jobs worldwide since 2014. This represented a devastating 35% of the total workforce at these 50 companies...

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Global land rig demand recovers, offshore still seeking inflection point

Figure 6: The active rig count in Canada rose to 155 in 2017, up from last year’s 91. Utilization improved to 24%.

One year after setting record lows for utilization, the land rig markets in North America have seen a remarkable recovery. In the US, onshore rig demand surged by 105% to 976 active units, compared with 476 in the previous year. In Canada, there were 155 active land rigs during the census period, an increase of 65% over last year’s 94 units. Nevertheless, fleet utilization in both countries remain below normal at 46% (US) and 24% (Canada). Many lower-spec rigs are expected to exit the available fleet next year, as operators continue to give preference to higher-specification pad-capable rigs for development of onshore unconventional resources...

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No quick recovery in the cards for 2018

US land is likely to remain one of very few bright spots among the world’s drilling markets in 2018. Photo Courtesy of Hess Corp.

Most forecasts call for oil prices to stay within the $45-$55 range next year as global oil production stays high despite OPEC’s agreed cuts By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor Stability, not a quick recovery, may be where the drilling industry has to turn for comfort in 2018. Oil prices, which will likely average around $50 this year, are mostly forecast to stay within the $45 to $55 range next year. It isn’t until at least the second half of 2018 or perhaps 2019 that some upward price pressures may enter the market. Oil inventories, global energy consumption and OPEC’s decision on whether to extend its production cuts beyond March 2018 are all being closely watched. For the drilling sector specifically, ...

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In Brazil, it’s two steps forward, one step back

Queiroz Galvão (QGEP) workers lower a wet X-tree into the post-salt Atlanta field, the current prospect on Block BS-4 in Brazil’s Santos Basin. The operator and its partners Barra Energia and OGX have drilled two horizontal wells so far and plan to drill a third in 2018. The consortium is now awaiting the arrival of an FPSO in January. First oil is expected soon thereafter. Photo courtesy of QGeP.

Even as progress is made in opening the presalt and reducing local content requirements, new corruption charges embroil the president, threatening to slow ongoing reforms related to taxes, environmental licensing By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor The near-term outlook for the Brazilian drilling market is bleak. As of August, there were only 29 offshore drilling rigs contracted to Petrobras – currently still the only operator with active offshore rigs in the country. That number compares with 36 offshore rigs last year, 52 in 2015 and 67 in 2014, said Liz Tysall, Senior Offshore Rig Analyst for consulting firm Rystad Energy. The near-term outlook for the Brazilian drilling market is bleak. As of August, there were only 29 offshore drilling rigs contracted ...

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Small signs hint at possible recovery in still-sluggish North Sea

The ENSCO 120 jackup is scheduled to begin a three-year drilling program in the North Sea in July. It was the first rig equipped with Ensco’s Canti-Leverage Advantage system, which enhances the rig’s hoisting capacity at the farthest reaches of the cantilever when the rig is fully skidded out, leading to fewer rig moves on multiwell programs.

Although the North Sea drilling market is still quite a ways from what one might call healthy, small signs of recovery are starting to sprout. Several operators, for example, have publicly touted significant reductions in their breakeven costs for offshore projects – from Maersk Oil’s $40-45 range for pre-FID projects to Statoil’s $27 for pre-FID Norwegian Shelf projects...

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