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2019 NOV census shows robust international land rig utilization but softening in North America onshore

Except for harsh-environment semis, global offshore fleet continues to see a very slow recovery, although 69% utilization is the highest it’s been since 2015 By Tony Crawford, Tarjei Myklebust and Aylar Ibrahimoglu, National Oilwell Varco Rig demand in this year’s National Oilwell Varco census has shifted in both areas of geographic activity and in rig type. Late 2017 and 2018 demonstrated promising improvements in global land utilization rates and modest recovery in offshore drilling. 2019 can be characterized by strong international rig utilization and demand for land, steadily improving demand for offshore and weakening demand for land rigs in North America. Offshore rig demand in North America is improving slightly, but it has yet to see the type of growth ...

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New gauge pad design improves PDC bit tracking in horizontal wells

Bit is designed to provide minimal side cutting at low side loads but achieve typical BUR at higher side loads By Reed Spencer, Bradley D. Pierce and Robert E. Grimes, Baker Hughes Thousands of horizontal wells are drilled each year across numerous unconventional reservoirs throughout North America, and the horizontal departures continue to increase to ever-greater lengths. The directional trajectories of these wells are achieved with either conventional bent-motor assemblies or rotary steerable systems (RSS). Polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits are used for the majority of all footage drilled in North America. Directional drillers focus on maintaining the desired wellbore inclination and azimuth, and many wells are intended to track generally straight. Outside forces such as bit walk and formation ...

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Exciting initiatives on the horizon as IADC heads into 80th year

From the President In the pages to follow, we will be sharing a snapshot of IADC’s activities during 2019. I am proud of what our dedicated staff and involved members have been able to accomplish this year, and it is my hope that this snapshot will make clear the value of IADC and the key role the association plays in facilitating the industry’s high standards of safety, environmental stewardship and operational efficiency. The activities of the various groups at IADC – including Government and Industry Affairs, Accreditation and Credentialing, International Development and Communications – along with the contributions of IADC’s many committees, are wide and varied. We have been able to accomplish a lot in what feels like a short ...

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Nabors develops MPD Return Flow Pathways procedure to manage non-well control use of rig chokes

Internal Well Control Committee evaluates BOP stack configurations to prevent deviations from best practices By Richard Grayson & Adam Keith, Nabors Shale formations are common drilling targets and frequently present many challenges. Examples include swelling, sloughing, general wellbore instability and natural fractures, which can mask over/underpressured formations. These can be common in high-pressure, high-temperature wells in formations such as the Tuscaloosa Marine shale and Haynesville shale. Further, rotating control devices (RCDs) are becoming more common. They convert an open-loop system into a closed-loop system, providing an additional barrier for safety, as well as environmental benefits like capturing background gas while drilling wells and ensuring it is properly handled or flared. More importantly, however, they also enable managed pressure drilling (MPD). ...

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Peak in shale’s capital efficiency could help to bring investors back

Analyst: Drilling industry also must show more capital discipline as investors prioritize returns over growth By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Outlooks for the drilling industry have historically hinged on the rise and fall of oil prices. Today, while oil prices still matter, they now wield much less power in terms of their ability to put rigs back to work. “What investors really want is for incremental cash flow to not go to the drill bit,” said Chase Mulvehill, Senior Analyst Oilfield Services for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Research. “They want it to come back to investors. So you will not see a lot of rigs being added, even with a higher oil price.” The reason for that, Mr ...

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Operator spending cuts may lead to 10% fall in 2020 land rig count

US onshore activity likely to suffer as cautious operators rein in budgets, plan to drill and frac fewer wells next year By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher Another tough year is in store for the US land drilling and completions market in 2020. John Spears, President of Spears and Associates, said he expects the Baker Hughes rig count to fall by 10% next year. “That’s a function of the fact that the operators are going to be extremely careful about their capital spending programs. They are going to be mostly focused on trying to improve profitability and returns to shareholders, and not so much in terms of growing production. We think that means activity will move lower in the US ...

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