Major advances in drilling technology development and utilization have occurred over the past five years. This paper presents an overview of the new drilling technology and how it is being applied in field operations. The major technology development topics that will be discussed are: (1) development of computer tools such as new drilling algorithms; (2) real time drilling and communications; (3) advanced designs in bit technology and mud motors; (4) advances in mud and solids control technology; (5) advances in measurement while drilling (MWD) and other drilling technology.

The future of drilling that is presented in this paper is even more exciting. Centralized control of drilling operations will rapidly expand. Closed mud systems and treatment plants along with new super muds will evolve. New smaller automated drilling rigs will be developed. Directional drilling will be used more and more in the development of both land and offshore fields with much longer horizontal departures. New high speed bits and mud motors will compete with rotary drilling. All this new technology will open up new vistas for exploration drilling, deep drilling, and offshore development.

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