As the depth and horizontal reach of oil and gas wells is extended further each year, the importance of maintaining a truly vertical top section becomes more and more critical. Today, limited solutions are available to manage this challenge, as with all conventional methods either cost or quality must be compromised. A more financially viable solution must be provided for the drilling industry to continue the pursuit of hydrocarbons in these increasingly complex applications.

Curves or kinks created by correcting for the natural drift of the bit create additional points of contact through the well's vertical section, creating tortuosity and drag. To maintain true verticality and a straight borehole, drillers have only limited solutions. Control drilling provides slow and limited performance, while bent housing mud motors effectively correct the deviation, but result in increased tortuosity. Excellent performance is provided by Rotary Steerable Systems (RSS), but they are cost prohibitive both in terms of daily costs and the risk of Lost in Hole (LIH) charges.

New technology has been developed that provides the economics of bent housing motor drilling with the performance and borehole quality of conventional RSS tools. By simplifying the mechanical and electronic designs required for steering and supplying autonomous function in the field, this new tool fills the gap between these two systems. Additionally, the tool incorporates real time verticality measurements at a fraction of the cost of Measurement While Drilling (MWD) tools, providing an economical solution that delivers a high quality vertical wellbore while reducing the cost per foot of the well.

By providing autonomous operation with RSS performance, this technology has assisted operators in the Middle East region significantly reduce their vertical section cost per well. This paper will detail how this new system is being used to deliver economic and in-ground performance that bridges the gap between motors and RSS tools. Performance data and analysis showing the value and advantages provided by this unique drilling system will be included.

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