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Innovating While Drilling®

Top drives have transformed drilling: Now, new design targets ultra-deep, ERD

By David Reid, Larry Wells and Jeremy Ogg, National Oilwell Varco In 1982, a radically new drilling system appeared in the oil patch, one that would ultimately allow tremendous advances in the oil and gas industry’s well construction capabilities. The advent of the original Top Drive System (TDS) foreshadowed the development of reservoirs that were otherwise considered to be commercially impractical, and greatly improved the net cost, time-to-market and production of many others. Now, in 2008, a fourth generation of top drives from National Oilwell Varco (NOV) aims to continue extending the horizon of reservoir exploitation possibilities. Initially aimed at reducing the costs and risks associated with ultra-deep offshore development projects, the TDX series of top drives is also being ...

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Geothermal drilling market heats up

by Linda Hsieh, Assistant Managing Editor As oil prices reach unheard-of highs in the $140/bbl range, energy sources that have historically been considered too expensive to produce economically are getting new leases on life. Many such energy sources, like wind and solar, tend to reside far outside the realm of the oil and gas drilling industry. Geothermal energy, however, stands as one resource that holds potential opportunities for drilling contractors, especially as that industry continues to undergo a significant expansion. Geothermal produces energy off of heated fluids that reside deep inside the Earth. Just as wells must be drilled to reach oil or natural gas, geothermal wells must be drilled to reach heated fluids. As it turns out, the rigs ...

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D&C Tech Digest

Innovative method used to create new platform slot Hughes Christensen helped a customer in the Congo accomplish a world-first by utilizing an innovative technique to create an additional slot on a platform in the Foukanda offshore field. The objective was to simultaneously drill and case off over 60 m (197 ft) of shallow formations using casing while drilling (CwD) to enable the drilling of additional wells from the existing platform, which had no further slot availability. A 30-in. diverter conductor pipe was positioned from the platform to the seabed. The pipe was manufactured with a pre-cut window and a 2° deflector inside that would allow drilling to be diverted from the existing eight directional wells, avoiding any collision. The recommended ...

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Geothermal holds potential for new energy – and for new drilling

By Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor Like many renewable energy sources, geothermal carries substantial potential for powering the world in an environmentally friendly way. However, also like many renewable energy sources, geothermal remains unable to evolve into a fully viable alternative to oil or natural gas. The late 1970s and early ’80s saw rapid growth of the US geothermal industry, mostly in western states such as California and Nevada. But by the ’90s, geothermal had hit a wall. Demand went down in the face of strong competition from natural gas – fairly cheap at the time, if you recall. Even after the US government added an investment tax credit for geothermal drilling in 1992, the market continued to stall. Times ...

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Ultra-stable PDC drill bit technology improves performance in Southern Mexico applications

By Dalmo Amorim, ReedHycalog/University of São Paulo; Andrew D Murdock, Carlos Huerta, ReedHycalog; Diogo S Oliveira, Fabiola Diaz, Gustavo A Padron G, Willie Columbine, Schlumberger IPM; Wilson S Iramina, University of São Paulo As worldwide demand for hydrocarbons continues to grow and with shallow reservoirs rapidly depleting, most new discoveries are being made at greater depths (5,000 m or deeper). These wells are increasingly directional, presenting new challenges and facilitating the need for more powerful equipment that decreases the overall drilling cost. In today’s high-cost drilling environment, the durability and steerability of the drill bit are critical to economically drilling harder formations with increasingly demanding directional objectives. Because stability affects both durability and steerability, stable bits are a key to ...

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Tough directional TCIs deliver longer runs with higher ROP in Canadian build sections

By Chad Mason, Caleb Rickabaugh, Eric Olson, Hughes Christensen Certain formations create unique challenges for operators drilling directional applications with roller cone bits. In western Canada, for example, interbedded formations of hard sandstone, siltstone, shale and chert have frustrated operators using conventional tungsten carbide insert (TCI) bits to drill a directional wellbore. In addition to short runs with low ROP because of high cyclic loading failure, damaging hole-wall contact increases gauge and shirttail wear. With WOB preferentially loaded on the roller cone’s heel and adjacent heel area, cutting structure breakdown and seal failures are accelerated. The conventional bits’ non-cutting structure elements rapid breakdown causes excessive trips. Overall, these unique loads, stresses and increased drilling cost called for a new approach ...

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Improved design processes allow bits to fit specific applications, set new drilling records

By Jerry Greenberg, contributing editor Designing a drill bit with the correct configuration and hydraulic performance for a specific application has everything to do with a well’s success. A wrong bit for the application can result in low rate of penetration (ROP), inefficient hole cleaning and expensive wells that sometimes won’t reach the operator’s geological objectives. Today, bit companies use the latest software to model the bit based on lithology from offset wells and from lab tests on rock strength. Once data is input into the software, virtual wells can be drilled, using the resulting data to tweak the design and create the optimum bit for the specific application. Since the introduction of rotary steerable systems (RSS), the industry appears ...

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Casing Drilling improves mature field production, eliminates fluid losses, directionally drills well

By Eric Moellendick, TESCO Corp CASING DRILLING has been used in numerous difficult wells and to drill through troublesome well sections that would not have been possible with conventional drilling techniques. The process eliminates tripping of the drill string and requires only a Range II rig with a single mast. In addition, by reducing or eliminating lost-circulation events, cost savings are realized in the reduced amount of drilling fluid and LCM material required, in turn reducing the environmental impact of the operation. Casing Drilling also has shown to result in significantly better borehole quality and reduced reservoir damage, resulting in improved cement jobs, sometimes with significantly reduced cement volumes and reduced risk of wellbore instability. The plastering effect resulting from ...

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Seismic-while-drilling: Where is it heading?

The concept of seismic-while-drilling (SWD) promises so much, yet still the industry has realized so little of that promise. Drilling Contractor spoke with Robert Radtke, president of Technology International, about where SWD is at, and where it might be headed. Technology International has been working on a joint project with the US Department of Energy to push the current limitations of SWD. Mr Radtke served as chairman of an SPE Emerging Technology Workshop focused solely on SWD in late 2007 and believes the industry is on the verge of a significant SWD breakthrough. DC: Why is SWD still such a niche application? Radtke: Seismic-while-drilling is an emerging technology, and it has been limited because of a lack of a true ...

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Telemetry strings, hardware reliability and trasmission capabilities: update and outlook

By Maximo Hernandez, IntelliServ During recent industry conferences and workshops, reliability figures for the use of telemetry drill strings have been disclosed for the latest wells drilled around the world. These statements of technical performance have had the objective of confirming that the installations of the telemetry network hardware within double shouldered drill strings do not affect the mechanical characteristics of the connections or tubulars. This is directly related to the method of network installation within the drill string. A completely finished double-shouldered drill string manufactured from Grant Prideco is used as the base to install the network. The transmission between joints of pipe is performed by the use of inductive coils connected to a high-strength steel shielded cable that ...

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