Historically, the hardest and most abrasive rock formations in Oman have been drilled using either diamond-protected, roller-cone insert bits or impregnated bits in combination with high-speed drives. Polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits have been successfuly used to drill soft and non-abrasive formations to depths of approximately 2, 500 m. Within this region, all previous attempts to drill deeper into the hard and abrasive intervals have resulted in rapid bit wear, poor rate of penetration (ROP), and repetitive trips for bit change. A new PDC cutter technology combined with a novel multi-level cutting structure force balancing has extended the PDC bit footprint, setting new records for drilling the longest intervals of hard and abrasive sandstone formation in Oman. This new technology is the result of a program committed to two years of research, which focused on the improvement of PDC cutter wear and impact resistance, as well as addressing bit vibration and wear distribution issues. As a result, Halliburton DBS PDC bits have become the standard for drilling hard and abrasive rock in the Middle East, providing significant improvement with respect to distances drilled and ROP. In rotary mode, or in combination with low-cost drives, this new technology has drastically reduced the operational cost per foot drilled in Oman.

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