Both Saudi Aramco and Total Indonesia found benefits in selecting 4 in. drill pipe with streamlined double shoulder connections for the drilling of wells, for which the 3 ½ in. drill pipe was unsuitable. Although dealing with different environments and applications, these benefits can be summarized in "successfully drilling longer slim holes with a drill string having enhanced torsional, tensile and hydraulic characteristics at a lower overall cost".
For the Saudi Aramco QTF field, Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) was required with the objective to deliver pay zones located at measured depths of 18,000 ft (for the 1,500 HP rigs) and 25,000 ft (for the 2,000 HP rigs). These depths correspond to step outs ranging from 13,000 ft to 20,000 ft respectively from the drill site.
For its Kalimantan field, Total was in a need of higher torsional capacity and also an improvement of the hydraulic characteristics of the drill string. Selecting a larger size of pipe was the retained option against an upgrade of the rig pump installation. The casing and drilling program remained unchanged with the drilling of a 6 in. hole after setting the 7 in. casing, adding a constraint for fishability of the string.
In both cases, fishability and torque objectives made the selection of the appropriate connection essential. The selected double shouldered connection maintained a tool joint outside diameter similar to standard 3 ½ in. drill pipe tool joints, that maintains fishing ability of the 4 in. pipe, in casing and open hole, despite the pipe size increase. The streamline connection design provides 22,000 ft-lb working torque, an outside diameter of 4-7/8 in. and an oversized internal bore that promotes hydraulic efficiency.
Other important improvements include considerable gain in pipe resistance under buckling loads, increased available pressure at the bit, better telemetry for the MWD and LWD tools and improved hole cleaning and rate of penetration.