Featured in the January issue of Oilfield Technology, Ulterra discusses PDC technology, cutter configuration and design, PDC cutter development, and directional drilling challenges.
Ulterra partnered with Gyrodata in the Permian Basin, setting a new drilling record. Read the full case study from Gyrodata here.
By: Kerry Sisson, District Manager
Operators in the Northeast US have been drilling wells with increasingly complex well plans. Due to this, they have been looking more to rotary steerable systems (RSS) to reduce slide time in the lateral and increase directional flexibility and responsiveness. As a result of the down market, RSS have become a more affordable and viable option and Southwestern Energy is certainly not an outlier in this trend with their operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Ulterra was granted an opportunity to participate in the curve and lateral on Weatherford’s motorized point-the-bit RSS, drilling a Marcellus well with Southwestern Energy. To be competitive in this interval, a bit design must be both toolface friendly to complete the curve and aggressive enough to rotate in the lateral at a high rate of penetration (ROP). Ulterra’s solution was the 8.5” U516M, featuring patent pending CounterForce® technology. CounterForce uses its unique cutting structure to reduce vibrations at the bit, which increases efficiency and reduces bit damage. Reducing vibration is important on wells which utilize RSS since most RSS tools are highly susceptible to failure due to vibration.
In the first two runs Ulterra had with Southwestern in 2016, the 8.5” U516M CounterForce had the operator’s two fastest curve-lateral runs in the state of West Virginia. The runs were an average of 38% higher ROP than the competitor average on the previous pad.
Ulterra is proud to announce that on October 30th, 2016 our Fort Worth Manufacturing Facility achieved 2 years with no recordable incidents! The team was very excited to celebrate this huge milestone at the annual Safety and Wellness Fair.
Safety is a fundamental key to Ulterra’s success and this could not have been accomplished without the commitment of all plant employees. Our sincere thanks go out to all plant employees who make safety a priority every day. And while this safety performance has helped form Ulterra into who we are today, the most important benefit is that all of our employees go home safely to their friends and families each day.
While the Fort Worth facility employees were thrilled to surpass this milestone, they are not ready to stop there. They are already making plans to celebrate a “3 Peat” next year!
Ulterra Drilling Technologies, a Fort Worth based PDC Bit Company, is committed to spreading awareness about breast cancer by using pink drill bits as a reminder to get that lifesaving mammogram. “Here at Ulterra we truly believe that early diagnosis is the best prevention for breast cancer which is one reason why we feel the need to help spread awareness” says Bill Stark, Ulterra’s VP of Sales & Marketing.
In 2014, Ulterra began painting all of their teal drill bits pink for the Permian Basin. This was in an effort to rally around Bill once they received the news that his wife, Anna, was fighting breast cancer. In a show of support to one of Ulterra’s own, Johnny Everett, Ulterra’s former President, requested a picture be taken with the Fort Worth manufacturing team in front of a single pink drill bit to show support for their family. With breast cancer affecting so many people, the manufacturing team took that gesture and ran with it. VP of Manufacturing Rocky Frazier said that, “Once one bit was painted pink, it was on from there”.
During this time Ulterra also decided to partner with Saving True Pairs – One Mammogram at a Time to benefit Pink the Basin by cooking lunch at their annual clay shoot. “This event is so much fun and one of the best clay shoots in the Permian Basin! Pink is seen everywhere…even pink clays and pink shotgun shells” says Debbie Bergen, President of the Saving True Pairs clay shoot. Saving True Pairs is a 501c organization that raises funds that stay in the Permian Basin to help fund mammogram vouchers for people in the area who can’t afford mammograms.
“As October 2015 came around, the word had spread within the company and by that time all of our districts were asking to join in on the cause” states Brett Coil, Director of Operations. So once again, Ulterra started painting their iconic teal bits pink, this time for the entire U.S.
As the year went along, Ulterra knew how important it was to continue to raise awareness for breast cancer. Starting on October 1st of this year, their teal drill bits that came out of their Fort Worth facilities were painted pink for the entire U.S. until the month’s end. Ulterra also thought that is was vital to become more involved with Saving True Pairs. For the last 3 years Ulterra has sponsored lunch at Pink the Basin’s annual clay shoot, but this year they took a big step forward and donated $25,000, which will help pay for over 100 mammograms. This year at the 5th Annual Saving True Pairs – One Mammogram at a Time Clay Shoot the organization raised over $100,000 due to the generous support of their sponsors and supporters.
Ulterra chose to partner with Saving True Pairs since it is a local organization where their movement started. They backed up their commitment to raising awareness by not only painting their bits the iconic pink, but by making a substantial financial contribution to the cause. Stark continued, “To us, the oilfield is family, and that is where we want our money and support to go.” Saving True Pairs seems like the perfect fit to accomplish that goal.
The rest of the oilfield seems to agree. According to Brittany McPherson who oversees Ulterra’s social media, “The outpouring of support has been amazing. Rig crews are stopping to pose with the bits on the rig floor and sharing them with us. Posts of these pictures are going viral in the oilfield.” Since this idea started 3 years ago it has continued to expand every year.
“To see and feel the sense of pride that not only our employees have in spreading the awareness of such an important cause, but the enthusiasm from our customers in doing the same is very rewarding. Having the ability to help give back to one of our own, as well as the tight knit oilfield community, is truly humbling.” says John Clunan, Ulterra’s President. John, however, goes on to say, “At the end of the day we’re excited and willing to help, and we look forward to continuing our efforts into the future.”
Featured in the October issue of World Oil magazine, Ulterra discusses PDC bits for RSS applications.
To extract the full potential of different RSS types, operators have sought out drill bit manufacturers, to provide designs tailored to specific parameters and BHAs. Ulterra has utilized its proprietary technology to develop CounterForce™ PDC bits, designed specifically to reduce lateral vibrations, a leading cause of downhole tool failure.
With continued initiatives Ulterra, once again, is excited to announce another safety milestone! September 19th, 2016 marked one year since our last OSHA recordable.
This milestone was made possible by all of our employees making safety a priority in their everyday routine. John Clunan, CEO, states that “This would not and could not have been achieved without everyone’s ownership in the culture of safety that we have been working on over the years, as well as the drive to make Ulterra the safest place to work.”
While our safety performance has continued to make us a viable company in difficult industry times, the ultimate goal is that every single employee goes home safe at the end of the day to their family and friends. This achievement would not have been accomplished had we not had total commitment from everyone. With 100% dedication to our safety program, Ulterra looks forward to reaching even more of our safety goals in the very near future.
“Congratulations to every Ulterra employee who recognizes the importance of safe work and contributes to make it happen” says Danny Graham, Director of HSSE & Training.
Not only is safety improvement crucial to the health and wellbeing of our employees, it also shows the industry that we take pride in every detail of our company. While this is a great accomplishment to take pride in, the Ulterra team is already working toward another year with no recordables.
Ulterra’s Aron Deen proudly presented with Concho’s, Terrell Hansen, at the Permian Basin Tech Forum on Collaborating for Directional Performance. When this opportunity came up, AADE asked Ulterra to discuss what we’ve done with bit design to improve performance in the curve. After pulling several people in to think about it, we determined that there was no silver bullet. No single technology or sales gimmick. The only silver bullet, if you can call it that, has been collaboration; committing to work together, service company and operator, to solve whatever the next problem is together.
By: Matt Case, Lead Engineer, Eastern U.S.
Ulterra Drilling Technologies continues to expand the application for its ground breaking CounterForce® cutting structure technology. CounterForce uses the cutting structure to reduce vibrations at the bit, which increases efficiency and reduces bit damage. Reducing vibration is particularly important on wells which utilize Rotary Steerable Systems (RSS), which are becoming more popular as well planners are pushing the limits on directional difficulty and lateral lengths. Most RSS tools are highly susceptible to failure due to vibration, which is one of the most common reasons the BHA must be tripped. RSS directional hands will often monitor these vibrations and are forced to reduce drilling parameters, and sometimes stop drilling altogether to pick up off bottom when vibrations get too high. Vibrations in a way act as an ROP ceiling, limiting the driller to lower parameters than what is necessary for maximum ROP. With the ability of the CounterForce cutting structure to reduce vibrations, we can not only reduce the number of trips for tool failures, we can also effectively elevate the ROP ceiling so that operators can drill faster and still avoid high vibrations.
The claim that CounterForce can reduce vibrations, and therefore increase ROP and reduce the number of trips is validated through numerous field runs verses competitor bits. A major operator in South Texas utilizes the Weatherford Revolution Rotary Steerable System to drill out from under surface through the curve and lateral to TD in one trip. Comparing the Ulterra CounterForce U516M verses competitor bits in this application in the year 2015, the U516M on average drilled 10% faster and was tripped 32% fewer times for tool failures. With 41 runs within this time frame, the U516M is the performance and market share leader for this operator.
CounterForce performance has also been validated through electronic drilling recorder (EDR) analysis. A four well pad in South Texas utilizing the Waterford Revolution RSS ran the CounterForce U516M on three wells, and a competitor bit on the fourth. The stick-slip magnitude, measured in a rotational value of c/min, was 35% lower for the average of the three CounterForce runs compared to the offset. In addition, the average ROP for the three CounterForce runs was 27% faster than the offset, saving the operator 13 hours on each well the CounterForce U516M was in the hole.
CounterForce technology has also been tested in demanding applications offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. A major operator drilling in the Eastern GOM utilized the Ulterra 16.50” U713M CounterForce to drill a 2,600 ft. section through the Base Miocene and Cretaceous formations. This operator was particularly concerned with high vibrations through these formations due to offsets they had drilled in the past. The Ulterra U713M CounterForce was able to decrease stick-slip vibration by 30% and increase ROP by 14% compared to said offsets.
Read the press release sent on behalf of Ulterra here.
Leading PDC Drill Bit Company Partners with American Securities
Fort Worth, TX, July 18, 2016
Ulterra Drilling Technologies, L.P. (“Ulterra” or the “Company”) today announced that its management team has partnered with American Securities LLC, a leading U.S. private equity firm to acquire the Company from ESCO Corporation. Ulterra is a leading manufacturer of polycrystalline diamond compact (“PDC”) drill bits for the oil and gas industry. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Ulterra designs and manufactures polycrystalline diamond compact drill bits used in the construction of oil and gas wells. In spite of the once-in-a-generation downturn in the energy sector over the last 18-24 months, Ulterra has succeeded in growing market share. Ulterra has continually been among the fastest growing companies in drill bits, and is now the second largest PDC company in the U.S., surpassing competitors that have led the industry for over 100 years.
Ulterra President and Chief Executive Officer John Clunan stated, “We have built our success on empowering great people dedicated to customer satisfaction.” He continued that this transition comes at an attractive time with respect to the market. “The market is starting to show signs that the worst is behind us, and we are finally seeing some stable increases in rig count. We are focused on delivering continued growth, and this transition will provide us the financial support and resources to aggressively accelerate our growth into a strengthening market.”
“Ulterra is another example of our backing talented and hardworking management teams that have developed differentiated products,” commented Kevin Penn, a Managing Director of American Securities. “We have been impressed with the strong corporate culture at Ulterra and look forward to partnering with John and his colleagues to leverage their market-leading technology to further expand the business.”
Ulterra is a leading provider of premium PDC drill bits and downhole tools for the oil and gas industry. Its strength resides in the experience and wisdom obtained from industry veterans, designing high-quality, high-performance PDC bits for global markets. Its localized focus enables Ulterra to respond quickly to customer’s specific applications with the newest technology on the market.
About American Securities
American Securities is a leading U.S. private equity firm with approximately $15 billion under management. Based in New York with an office in Shanghai, American Securities invests in market-leading North American companies with annual revenues generally ranging from $200 million to $2 billion and/or $50 million to $200 million of EBITDA.
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Read more about the acquisition from American Securities here.