In The Netherlands the operator drilling in the Southern North Sea area had to drill through Germanic Trias super group sequences to the reservoir sections in Buntsandstein formations of lower Triassic series at a depth of about 9,800-ft TVD that are highly abrasive and hard sandstone formations. These formations are overlaid by middle and upper Triassic clay stones interbedded with hard dolomite stringers. The compressive strength of these formations ranges from 5,000–15,000 psi in the upper clay stones and from 15,000–30,000 psi in the Buntsandstein group.

Drilling the build and turn wellbore profiles using a directional BHA with roller cone and/or PDC has been challenging. In offsets, these bit types produced slow ROP and short run lengths, requiring multiple bit trips to complete the hole section. In many cases, the bits were pulled in poor dull condition with severe cutting structure damage. In some cases, the operator was forced to use diamond-impregnated bits on turbine to TD the section.

To drill the section in one run and at higher ROP, the provider recommended a new-style conical diamond element bit that uses multiple conical shaped diamond elements (CDEs) positioned from bit center to gauge. The CDE's conical shape penetrates high-compressive-strength rock with a concentrated point loading that fails formation with a plowing mechanism. Design engineers used a finite-element-analysis (FEA)-based modeling system to strategically place the CDEs based on specific drilling parameters and formation characteristics. Recent R&D tests confirm the hybrid PDC bit drills with 25% less torque compared with conventional PDC cutters, providing increased directional control and smoother toolface response. The result is higher build rates that achieve directional objectives in less time. The new 513 design also included a centrally located CDE to enhance bit stability and mitigate shock and vibration.

The bit was run on an RSS BHA and drilled 1,279 ft of difficult claystone and anhydrite/dolomite with silt/sandstone stringers at an average ROP of 31.04 ft/hr, 200% faster compared to the closest offsets in the reservoir sand. The bit also set a new single-run footage benchmark for this section in Block P15. The RSS BHA efficiently delivered all directional wellbore requirements, building inclination from 26° to 39° with a DLS of 3.42°/100 ft and 6.09°/100 ft in Sidetrack 1. As a result, the operator saved one day of rig time and a bit trip for a total savings of approximately USD 635,000.

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