The high-volume, land-based drilling markets have become increasingly demanding over recent years. Drilling complex, extended-reach horizontal wellbores through multiple targets with tighter windows is becoming increasingly common. Rotary Steerable System (RSS) technology, originally designed for the offshore drilling market, has proven to be an effective solution to the increasingly difficult challenges in the land-based market, but the cost of these high-end systems are simply not sustainable for many operators in the high-volume markets.

While RSS technology has clear performance-added value, adaptation into low-cost applications has been limited. High operating costs, damage charges, and extremely high Lost-In-Hole (LIH) rates have made it difficult for operators to justify their use, as the benefits simply do not justify the financial risks. Additionally, the harsh drilling environments found in many land applications lead to premature failures of the electronic components of the RSS, which can cause the tool to steer out-of-control, leading to expensive downtime. The high-volume drilling market requires a robust RSS capable of withstanding harsh drilling environments while delivering the proven RSS advantages at a price that is economically viable.

A 100% fully mechanical rotary steerable tool has been developed specifically for the high-volume drilling market, providing full 3D directional control while under full rotation of the drillstring from surface. This rugged and durable push-the-bit RSS has eliminated the costly and sensitive electronics common to most RSS tools and a number of vibration-related failure modes, making it suited for applications where shock and vibration are prevalent and high temperature applications. Utilizing engineered stabilization and proven 3-point geometry to keep the wellbore on target, this tool produces a premium wellbore with an increased Rate of Penetration (ROP) and reduced tortuosity, all at a cost well below that of conventional RSS tools.

This paper provides field data from North American land operations, which show this fully mechanical RSS has produced ROP increases of over 75% compared to laterals drilled with steerable motors. This RSS tool has consistently shown ROP improvements not only in North America but from around the world, all while reducing operating costs and financial risks of LIH by as much as 40% compared to conventional RSS technology.

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