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.