Abstract

While rotary steerable systems (RSS) have become the de facto system of choice in offshore drilling applications where day rates can often approach one million $USD, the choice of the most economic downhole drilling system for the land driller, and the future factory driller, is more complex. In the land market, although the RSS has made considerable technology leaps in the last 5 years in improving build rates and high temperature capabilities, the standard directional bent housing motor continues to dominate the land directional market and provide a viable economic alternative to the RSS. As an engineer from a major energy company once said at an SPE conference, "we look at all projects well to well, and if it was possible to drill it with a regular motor, then we will". Many directional drilling providers and operators will thus continue to use slide drilling for directional projects into the foreseeable future, and if as we maintain, the directional motor can be controlled and managed by a directional driller remote from the rigsite at a data center, then the industry will have made some progress towards automated directional drilling.

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