This paper documents the results of a customer demonstration of a digital network powered from surface deployed on a wired drillpipe system downhole. The objectives of the trial were to:

  • demonstrate the ability of the system to power multiple tools from surface without the need for batteries or power generation turbines downhole

  • concurrently, provide high speed bi-directional telemetry between downhole tools and surface without the need for mud pulse, E-Mag signals or repeaters

Over 100 joints of the powered and wired drillpipe were mobilized to a land test rig. Two runs were planned for the customer demonstration well: the first with a service company's bottom hole assembly equipment, the second utilizing a Measurement-Whilst-Drilling (MWD) tool replacement specifically designed to make use of the full potential of the high speed telemetry and electrical power available.

In setting up the system, the rig was fitted with a top drive adapter, allowing data and power to be transmitted from surface to the drillpipe and downhole tools. During the trial, typical operations were conducted to validate system handling times, operational aspects and to demonstrate overall power/network uptime and reliability. Handling, racking and tripping operations were conducted, showing that the wired pipe string could be manipulated in the same way as regular drillpipe. Make/break and slips to slips timings showed similar periods to regular drillpipe handling on the same rig. No damage was observed and no special handling or thread doping techniques were required.

A total of 96 pipe joints [3058ft] were run in hole on two successive runs, drilling a granite formation whilst circulating with a water based fluid. Run #1 demonstrated the ability of the system to interface to and supply power to a service company's drilling mechanics BHA without the need for lithium batteries downhole. Tools were pre-assembled, torqued and pre-programmed before arrival at the rigsite and could be run directly into the wellbore.

Run #2 demonstrated power delivery to and high speed real-time telemetry with a custom designed MWD tool providing continuous directional surveys, tool-face, annular and internal pressures, shock and vibration and gamma ray measurements at >61,000bps data rate.

During the runs, power and real-time measurements were monitored whilst circulating, drilling on bottom and tripping. Both runs included a distributed in-string sub to measure annular pressure, temperature and string vibrations, communicating and taking power from the string concurrently with the other downhole tools.

189hrs of operations were recorded during the demonstration, witnessed by customers at the rigsite, and streamed globally to those remote. 100% uptime was recorded for both the power and telemetry transmission over the digital network. Overall, the trial results demonstrated the ability of the system to be handled in a similar way to a regular drillstring. Power was supplied to downhole tools thus eliminating the need for downhole batteries and turbines. A high speed, reliable digital network was deployed allowing multiple tools and sensors to communicate on the same transmission path as the power without the need for in string signal repeaters.

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