Tag Archives : drill bits


Latest Bit Designs Drill Faster, Farther: Ulterra Featured in The American Oil & Gas Reporter

By Colter Cookson

Human beings are exploring deep space, eradicating diseases, designing pilotless planes and cars, and placing horizontal wells with multi-mile laterals on target. Psychologists say we do so much in part because we all share a desire to accomplish big things. For the humans in the oil and gas industry, that means celebrating even their greatest successes for only a few days, then getting to work on the next challenge.

 

 

Nowhere could that dynamic be more obvious than in the world of drill bits. Instead of resting after record-setting runs, bit engineers analyze their designs’ performance to identify and address the barriers that keep them from drilling even faster and farther.

Their efforts are paying off. PDC makers say their latest designs deliver significant improvements in speed and durability by optimizing hydraulics, enhancing back- up cutters, leveraging modern motors, and minimizing reactive torque. Meanwhile, the newest roller cone and hybrid bits employ advanced cutters and application-specific cutter configurations to set new standards for drilling efficiency and durability.

To drill faster, bits need to handle the additional cuttings generated by the extra speed, notes Chris Casad, innovation project manager at Ulterra. “As better PDC bits have unlocked faster penetration rates, it has become clear we need to take the next step in hydraulic performance,” he says. “Improving cuttings evacuation not only enables faster rates of penetration, but also keeps the cutters clean and cool. This minimizes thermal degradation and cutter damage, enabling the bits to maintain their high performance longer.”

According to Casad, Ulterra has advanced hydraulic performance through a new concept called SplitBladeTM. The primary blades in SplitBlade bits are divided into two parts, with the inner part offset from the outer part near the shoulder. “The offset creates a recess to put a second nozzle for each blade,” he explains. “Two nozzles create dedicated flow paths from the cone of the bit and from the shoulder outward. The focused flows energize the cuttings and ensure evacuation happens quickly and reliably.

“In addition, offsetting the blades gives bit designers the opportunity to try cutting structures that previously would have been impossible,” he comments. “For example, because the offset increases the distance between the cutters, we often can double the diamond volume in areas that are seeing a lot of wear without encroaching on an adjacent cutter.”

Casad adds that the offset gives the bit more points of contact with the formation, allowing it to distribute point loads more evenly and reduce torque fluctuations. He says the smoother torque improves tool face control, cutting the amount of time spent sliding in the curve and enabling the bit to stay on target once it is in the lateral.
He highlights one other benefit: Because they are so clean, SplitBlade bits do a great job of converting weight into energy. “Like a knife, a PDC bit works by applying force to a small area,” Casad notes. “When cuttings are recirculating or building up on the tool face, they spread the weight across a wider area, making the cutters less effective.”

By applying more weight to the bit, Casad says drillers can increase depth of cut to improve performance. “Fast rotation speeds and a low depth of cut cause the bit to turn and start eating into the well bore, creating bumps and undulations. A high weight and a lower rpm let the bit drill fast, clean and smooth, meaning the wellbore will be easier to complete and produce,” he says.

The SplitBlade concept has been tested on more than 300 runs and has drilled more than 2 million feet across North America and in China, Australia and South America, Casad reports.

“The field testing started in the Eagle Ford, where operators were looking for ways to drill 15,000 feet through the curve and lateral sections without steer- ability issues in the curve or tracking issues in the lateral,” he relates. “When we introduced SplitBlade, we were able to combine the sections more reliably while cutting drilling times by 30 percent. The bits came out with a dull grade of 1- 1 to total depth and drilled smoothly through both sections.”

While it is often used in curve and lateral bits, Casad says the enhanced hydraulics can be applied to large vertical bits as well. “This technology can translate across bit designs,” he concludes. “It will have the biggest benefit in applications with fast ROPs, but it is applicable almost anywhere.”

Download a PDF of the Article Here

Used by permission from The American Oil & Gas Reporter www.aogr.com

 


Hart’s E&P June 2017

Featured in the June issue of Hart’s E&P, Ulterra discusses how new bit designs are pushing drilling boundaries. Over the past year, Ulterra has looked critically at bit design, blade geometry, cutter reinforcement and hydraulics and has been testing new materials, which has resulted in its XP™ line of polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits. With the increased energy going through the bit, it is Ulterra’s goal to make sure the bits do not become the limiting factor in performance.

Hart’s E&P June 2017

Read the full article from Hart’s E&P here.


Ulterra’s Leduc Manufacturing Facility Achieved 2 Years with No Recordables

Ulterra continues to set new standards in all areas of operations with safety being no exception. On April 21, 2017, Ulterra surpassed another safety milestone with the Leduc Manufacturing Facility achieving 2 years with no recordable injuries. “Safety performance like this is important in keeping a competitive edge in an ultra-competitive market. More importantly, the effort and dedication of our employees toward health and safety are critical in going home the same way they arrived at work, injury free” states Bryce Cook, HSSE Manager.

We would like to extend a very special thank you to all of the Leduc employees who continue to make safety a priority every day. While the team acknowledges that this is a great accomplishment to take pride in, they are not ready to stop here.


Ulterra Celebrates Recent Success with Operator in the Northeast US

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’s Fort Worth Manufacturing Facility Achieved 2 Years with No Recordable Incidents

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 Proudly Sponsors with Saving True Pairs to Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer

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.”