Rotating liners and casing in abrasive competent geological formations are made easier with PDC cutters embedded in the outer diameter blades of the reamer shoe.
A few relatively new drilling technologies were introduced at this year's Offshore Technology Conference. They include casing drilling technologies from Tesco, a gyro in Well Done Drilling Systems' rotary steerable tool, casing reaming tools from BBL Downhole Tools Ltd., Weatherford's MacDrill motor, and Halliburton's expandable casing technology.
- Tesco Drilling Technology continues to maintain a noticed presence at the front end of new drilling technologies. Its casing drilling technology is becoming well documented with successful case studies becoming more frequent. The addition of Tommy Warren, considered to be a leading expert on drilling systems and specifically rotary steerable systems, gives Tesco a unique advantage in further developing casing drilling technologies. The future development, and integration of casing drilling and rotary steerable technologies, leads one to think about the possibility of a drilling/casing system capable of rotary drilling the casing into place during initial wellbore construction. With this and expandable casing technologies developing further, the industry gets even closer to a "single-bore" design.
- The "holy-grail" of the measurement while drilling business has been achieved, and was on display at the show. A gyro directional measurement has been incorporated into a conventional drilling measurement tool. This achievement is even more interesting, because the gyro measurement is in a rotary steerable drilling tool. DMT Well Done Drilling Services in Lachendorf, Germany developed the Well Directortrademark tool with Phoenix Technology Services Ltd of Calgary operating and servicing the tool. Successful, Canadian land case studies in vertical wells have already been documented. Steps have been taken to improve the tool's operational temperature window. Oilfield durable gyro measurements have been used in electric steering tools for the past decade, but never in a conventional directional drilling bottom hole assembly.
- Weatherford's MacDrill positive displacement motor technology was on display. Boasting a stainless steel stator, as opposed to a rubber elastomer stator, the tool offers directional drillers a unique alternative for HP/HT well environments. Not utilizing an elastomer stator material, it can operate in downhole environments up to 600°F. The technology has been available for the past three years, but not used widely in the oil and gas drilling industry. Geothermal applications and thru-tubing, remedial operations have dominated the motors utilization to date. Larger tool sizes, to 6.75-in. in diameter, are under development to better address larger oil and gas industry hole sizes.
- Casing technologies such as expandable tubulars, casing drilling, and reaming shoes were on display. The expandable casing technology being developed by Halliburton is an innovative approach to another elusive technology - "single-bore" wells. The concept, when mentioned in the past, would have had one declared a heretic. Mentioned today, its almost old news, but exciting nonetheless. BBL (Brit Bit Ltd) displayed its specialty drilling tools. Friction and drag reduction tools, and especially, its casing reamer shoe technology, were on display. The reamer shoe gives more flexibility in liner running operations. Ledges and competent formations can be more readily eliminated with the PDC cutters embedded on the outside diameter of the guide nose. The shoe is fully PDC drillable when well completion operations are finished.
Unique stainless steel stator and short design offer drillers a versatile directional drilling and thru-tubing remedial work tool.
Coiled tubing roundtable increases visibility
The coiled tubing business is alive and well, judging from the number of papers presented at the 2nd annual SPE/ICoTA (International Coiled Tubing Association) Coiled Tubing Roundtable, recently held in Houston, Texas. The event, which attracted 445 delegates from 15 countries, is organized by the Society of Petroleum of Engineers.
Papers presented in the 3-day conference focused primarily on case study examples (38%) and tubing engineering related issues (29%). The remainder of the papers focused on completion and remedial issues, coiled tubing related tools, and training issues for the coiled tubing market.
The viability of the coiled tubing business guarantees availability. This guarantees availability of new technology and techniques for the industry once economic conditions improve and "small hole" well activity picks up. Approximately 27 companies displayed their "small hole" products and services in a trade show exhibition associated with the conference.
Well Done Drilling Service's WellDirector rotary steerable is the first coventional rotary assembly drilling tool with an inertial gyro measurement.
New players in the rotary steerable market
A recent trend in the drilling side of the industry is smaller companies jumping into the rotary steerable tool market. Unique, cost effective tool designs are getting focused attention from operating companies around the world. Numerous providers in Europe and North American companies such as Tesco Drilling Technologies, Well Done Drilling Services mentioned above, Rotary Steerable Tools, and Steering Rotary Tools (A Division of Superior Energy Services) are already marketing tools and services. Coming issues of Offshore will feature case studies on some of these new alternatives to the rotary steerable tool market.