Category Archives : PDC Bit


New Drilling Bit Design from Ulterra featured in World Oil Article

The following extract on drilling bit design is from World Oil October 2017 and is used by permission.

Uptick in Activity Spurs Development of New Bit Technologies

 

DRILLING BIT DESIGN

Increased drilling activity associated with improving commodity prices is driving drill bit manufacturers to develop more efficient hydraulics for cuttings evacuation in softer formations, in addition to technologies designed to improve one-run success rates in challenging directional applications, and in hard/abrasive formations.

By CRAIG FLEMING, Technical Editor

With continuing advances in PCD cutter technology and improved bit body stability, PDC bits have become the dominant force in the worldwide drilling theater, practically replacing the venerable roller cone product. Their high ROP potential and unparalleled durability make PDC bits the tool of choice in both high- and low-cost environments. Even in the toughest applications traditionally reserved for roller cones, PDCs have virtually eliminated the situations where operators are forced to fall back on these types of bits. Today’s PDC bit technologies will positively impact performance and drive down the real cost/ft.

IMPROVED CUTTINGS EVACUATION

drilling bit designUlterra Drilling Technologies’ latest innovation is the patent-pending SplitBlade PDC bit (Fig. 4) that is increasing ROP and reducing drilling time with reconfigured cuttings evacuation, cutter cleaning, and bit cooling.

Typically, with most PDC technology, recirculated rock cuttings become trapped at the toolface, and the build-up clogs the junk slots. Trying to recut old cuttings that should have been evacuated quickly wastes energy, in addition to degrading the bit.

The company’s research team examined the physical restraints of a basic PDC drill bit. The engineers proposed a new pattern that would maintain the cutters in a cleaner, cooler state. The improved thermal management of the bit face would support the goal of extending bit durability and lead to higher performance.

Using CFD, the team created a distinctive bit body, with new blade geometry, nozzle placement, and cutter layout. By splitting the shape of the primary blades with an angular offset, designers created designated flow channels for the fluid and cuttings. Two nozzles are positioned to support the cutters in the critical area to capitalize on this advancement in bit body construction and hydraulic control. While drilling, cuttings from SplitBlade technology can be evacuated up to seven times faster, compared with conventional designs.

CASE STUDIES

In the LaSalle County portion of the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas, an operator was experiencing poor cuttings removal and plugged nozzles. To solve the issues, an 8½-in. SplitBlade PDC was run, and it drilled the curve 27% faster than offsets. This run set a company formation footage record of nearly 14,000 ft, MD, for the curve and lateral. The ROP of more than 150 ft/hr was 8% faster than the offset average in wells over 10,000 ft. In the eastern Eagle Ford, another operator wanted to reduce the instances of nozzle plugging to improve ROP, and selected an 8½-in. SplitBlade bit. The plan was to improve lateral and overall ROP with better directional control and cuttings removal. The bit was run, and it set a rig footage and ROP record, drilling the lateral at 400 ft/hr instantaneously and, overall, just less than 12,000 ft in under 68 hr. The average ROP of 172 ft/hr was 56% faster than the average run on this rig.

View the original Article here:
Original World Oil Oct 2017 Article PDF

 


Ulterra PDC Bit and MORE Global Water Provision Story

We love this story and are proud to have played a part in MORE’s efforts to address the global water crisis. This story first appeared on the https://more-water.org site. It’s a great read from the perspective of an Ulterra PDC bit. 

What?  You don’t think a drill bit can have a story? Well, I have one.  And it’s a pretty cool story, I think – if anyone cares to listen!  You see, it all started in a factory in Texas, at a company called Ulterra  They are manufacturers of all kinds of drill bits.  But they specialize in PDC Bits.  So, what is a PDC Bit, you may be asking.  Good question.  It stands for Polycrystalline Diamond Compact. That’s a real tongue twister, eh?  All it means is that they use small particles of manufactured diamonds – not the super expensive natural ones that are made into rings and other fine jewelry.  But just as hard. These particles are integrated into randomly oriented crystals to form a thin matrix that is effectively bonded with a tungsten “table”.  These tables can then be easily be brazed onto the steel drill head.  It is only the PDC “table tops” that contact the formation during drilling.  Eventually these cutter heads wear down and have to be replaced.

Anyway, I can’t remember how many holes I drilled as part of a large stable of similar PDC bits, in all shapes and sizes, while working on large drilling platforms in South Texas.  But eventually, me and some of my bit buddies in our group, were cleaned up, packed up and shipped back to the Ulterra factory.  Some of the old timer bits told me not to worry, that I would be back.  I was just going in for my “spa treatment” at Ulterra’s fancy “salon”.  Nothing more than a “wash and perm” they said – and maybe a pedicure!  “Sweet!” I thought.  I could use some R & R. Here I would have my worn PDC cutters removed and brand new ones brazed back into place.  Quickly my trepidation turned to excitement.

But after my visit to the salon – which was wonderful, as expected – and with my brand new sparkling diamond matrix cutting heads, I was not returned back to the oil drill rig.  Instead they took me to some new shop, where some guy came and picked me up.  He seemed really excited when he saw me, which nearly made me blush!  Then he held me up for show while he and his friends took pictures – of me!  I was thinking, “wow, maybe I’m going to get some kind of award, or something!”  But for what, I was trying to reason with myself, while not trying to act too “puffed up”.  Then, of all things, the guy takes me home and sticks me in a corner in his tiny apartment.  “Hey”, that’s no way to treat I star!” I wanted to tell him.  But I didn’t.

Oh, but that’s when it really starts getting weird.  One day he brings home this plastic box on wheels.  Then he sprays some kind of stinky liquid that starts growing into this crazy foam.  While it is still forming he drops me into this gooie quagmire and sprays some more of this gross stuff, all around me.  When it hardens in a short time, he tries, but can’t even move me.  I’m stuck.  But he doesn’t seem to care.  In fact, he actually seems quite impressed with my predicament.  He even shows me off to his neighbor, I remember.

The next thing I know (a few days later), he rolls me into an airport, where they weigh me.  Then after sitting there for the longest time, he takes me over to a corner and cuts off the plastic ties that he used to secure the top of the rolling box.  What now, I thought.  This is getting weirder by the moment.  Before I had the words out of my “mouth”, he starts cutting away at the hardened foam around my body, with this really big pocket knife.  I thought for sure he was going to cut me up, but he was very careful to only cut the foam.  So how did he get this big knife into an airport, I was thinking.  Geez, is he some kind of terrorist, or something.  Oh no!  Better be quiet about that, I figured.

So then he pulls me loose from the container and unscrews this fancy steel connector thing that he had made at another factory, before he put us into the ice chest and sprayed the foam – all around us.  I didn’t tell you about that trip – to the other factory – to have this “skirt thing” fabricated.  Mainly because it’s just too weird, but also because I heard them talking at that factory when they were measuring my “bottom”.  They said I was “too big” to fit on the guy’s pipes.  While they said, “too big”, I know that they really meant “too fat”!  How do you think that made me feel? No way to treat a rising star in the oil and gas drilling arena, right?  Geez, I really don’t get any respect.

Okay, so, we’re back at the airport. When he gets me loose, he unscrews the skirt thing from my “bottom” and lays me back into the ice chest.  But not before taking “skirt guy” and wrapping him in bubble wrap and putting him into his checked bag.  “Oh man!” I thought, “I was enjoying that bubble wrap.”  It was cozy, like a comforter – for wherever we were heading off to.  But it did feel good to have that skirt thing off my bottom, I had to admit.  Then he closed the top and secured it again – for my journey to “who knows where”.

In what seemed like days later, and several plane rides and airport transports, before I once again saw the light of day, but had no idea where I was – only that I couldn’t wait to get out of this box.  (It was, actually three days, as there was a huge mess-up by the folks at Delta-KLM, in getting both me and my drill bit from Houston to Nairobi, after overnights in Atlanta and Amsterdam.  My bags actually didn’t arrive in Nairobi until a day later.)  When finally, my box lid was opened, I was confronted with several quite different-looking folks (different than my traveling friend, anyway).  They were jabbering in a language, also totally different than my friend, while pointing at me.  Evidently they had never seen a high-classed PDC bit like me before, I thought.

Finally, after a lot of turmoil and more jabbering, some nice, quiet-speaking lady, who was talking in a language somewhat similar to my friend – but sweeter, and prettier-sounding, she must have helped my friend work it all out.  She eventually re-closed my box lid and I was rolled out of that building and into a car, apparently.  A short time later – much shorter than the plane rides, I was handed over to my new friend, who seemed excited beyond belief to see me again.  I could see he was beaming as he showed me off to his friends – who looked more like him, I noted.  Once again I’m sure that I blushed.  I couldn’t help it!  He then rolled me into this house and I found myself in my own room.  Awesome, I thought, this is where this guy really lives – in this lovely large house – and not that tiny, cramped apartment.  Good for him, I thought.  Maybe he’s not a looser, after all, I conjectured.

But no, it was not to be, I soon found out.  The next day he again secured me in my box and we went on another car ride – to yet another airport.  “Oh no, not again,” I thought.  But this time I was loaded onto a much smaller plane, I could tell.  I knew that because I could still hear people talking, even as me and my luggage companions were nestled into our own compartment and the plane took off.  Actually it was more like crammed-in than “nestled”.  But this time, no sooner had we taken off, I could tell, but we were landing again.  Then he rolled me out and packed me into another car.  By now I was learning that his name must be Bobu, because that’s what I heard everyone calling him here – and in the US, as I now recall.  In fact a pretty young lady, along with three really cute kids, all called him that as she was helping him finish packing me into my traveling box, before our trip to the airport, I remembered.  Now he was rolling me into another house.  Here, he, once again, opened my box and showed me off to two more of his friends – both of whom looked like him.  But not exactly.

This time I don’t remember blushing.  I was too busy taking in my surroundings.  “Oh my”, I thought, I don’t know if he lives here or his friends do, but this is more like it.  There were beautiful palm trees and flowering tress and plants – everywhere.  I saw more people splashing around in some well-fashioned watering hole and the sky was bright blue and the sun was beaming down.  You have to understand, having spent my whole existence hanging around oil drilling rigs or being screwed deep into rock formations below the surface, this was all quite amazing to me. Surely, this must be drill bit heaven, I concluded.  Finally, a surrounding worthy of my beauty and elegance as a star-studded PDC bit – I justified, if not even somewhat indignantly. Yes – finally, I had arrived!