Efforts to Develop Improved Oilwell Drilling Methods
- L.W. Ledgerwood Jr. (Jersey Production Research Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1960
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 61 - 74
- 1960. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.2.2 Perforating, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3 Production and Well Operations, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.6.1 Drilling Operation Management, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 1.5 Drill Bits, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines, 1.15 Fundamental Research in Drilling, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc)
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During the past three decades, the oil industry has expended increasing efforts seeking improved drilling tools or systems to reduce drilling costs. The total cost of these efforts is unknown, but it certainly amounts to tens of millions of dollars. Most of the "new" systems that past and present investigators have sought to develop actually are old public information.
In seeking to implement new-system concepts, investigators have tested the following: impact at frequencies ranging from 6 to 300 cycles per second; electrical, mechanical and hydraulic means of actuating percussors; bit rotary speeds up to 2,000 rpm; electric and hydraulic bottom-hole means of rotating bits; bottom-hole machines with power outputs up to 400 hp; shock waves; explosives; high-velocity pellets; flame; arc; grinding wheels; abrasive jets; erosion by high-velocity gases;chemical attack; electric current; magnetic waves; retractable rock bits; reelable drill pipe; continuous coring with reverse circulation; and automation of drilling rigs. Table 1 shows how these investigations are grouped for discussion purposes in this paper.
In spite of these efforts to discover new and improved systems, rotary drilling maintains its economic leadership. Undoubtedly, rotary drilling costs will continue to be reduced by rigid application of the best available technology and by development of new rotary technology. In view of the extensive past development programs, however, significant long-range improvement appears to be a research, not a development problem. Research must postulate and prove theories and principles governing various subsurface rock-failure processes pertinent to both rotary and new systems. Also, research must produce physical and engineering data relative to these processes. When such information is available, earth boring will graduate from an art to a science. Major improvements in rotary drilling can then be expected, and the systematic evolution of an improved drilling method can be initiated-with a strong probability for success.
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