Current directional drilling technology in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin has been limited to utilizing steerable mud motor assemblies and MWD systems. Phoenix Technology Services (Phoenix) has recently introduced a Rotary Steerable Tool called the Well Director ® Automatic Directional Drilling System to this industry. This technology greatly enhances the efficiency of directional and horizontal drilling. Benefits attributable to this technology include enhanced rate of penetration, improved hole cleaning, ability to drill extended reach wells and ultimately a time cost savings for operators.

The extended abstract will focus on why Phoenix introduced this technology and where this technology has come from including a discussion of the mechanical workings of the tools. Case histories will be discussed from data collected from the initial wells Phoenix has run the tools on. The presentation will conclude with the future development of this technology and a discussion as to where we feel the directional/horizontal market is going with respect to technical advancements in drilling.


Directional drilling continues to be an essential aspect of the oil and gas drilling market. Wells drilled either directionally or horizontally in Canada continue to represent a significant percentage of total wells drilled.

Percentage of Hz/Dir Wells vs. Total Wells Drilled in Western Canada (Available in full paper)

An ever increasing number of issues face operators that result in directional and or horizontal wells being the only option used to drill a well. Environmental issues, depleted production zones, landowner conflicts etc will only increase therefore leading to the need to drill directionally or horizontally.

Steerable mud motors have been the preferred method used to drill horizontal and directional wells. Although this method has been proven on thousands of wells it has also shown inefficiencies. For example we can expect to see upwards of a 50% decrease in the rate of penetration (ROP) while sliding1 as opposed to rotary drilling. A relatively new technology has been developed to improve upon the inefficiencies associated with steerable mud motor drilling. Rotary steerable tool technology is quickly becoming an economically viable and technologically superior alternative to steerable mud motor drilling. Rotary steerable tool technology is the process of continually rotating the drill string while at the same time steering the bit toward a pre-determined target. This technology has been designed to replace steerable mud motors in a bottom hole assembly.


Phoenix Technology Services Ltd. (Phoenix) has entered into an agreement to market and service a Rotary Steerable Tool called the Well Director? Automatic Directional Drilling System. This tool has been operated in over one hundred wells for the mining industry in Europe over the past fifteen years. Recent technical advancements have allowed this tool to become commercially viable for the oil and gas directional market. The Well Director consists of two main components, refer to fig 1. The first being the rotating mandrel, this runs through the center of the tool and is in constant rotation when the tool is operating.

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