Ulterra partnered with Gyrodata in the Permian Basin, setting a new drilling record. Read the full case study from Gyrodata here.
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 plants 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.
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.
Working with R&D Solutions, Ulterra’s CounterForce® recently set a new South Australian offset record. Read R&D Solutions article here to learn the full details.
Featured in the June issue of Oilfield Technology, Ulterra discusses how customized bit development for RSS reduces tool failure.
Most RSS tools are highly susceptible to failure due to vibration, which is one of the most common reasons the BHA must be tripped. Ulterra’s CounterForce® technology uses the cutting structure to reduce vibrations at the bit, which increases efficiency and reduces bit damage.
This article was sourced for a recent article in Hart’s E&P magazine, which can be found here.
Written by: Aron Deen, Levi Sasser, and Chris Gooch
Nearly all new technologies struggle in their infancy to gain adoption due to high cost, problematic reliability, lack of understanding, and marginal value proposition. Over years of learning, development and refinement these hurdles reduce, and with each step new opportunities open up. This has been the case for rotary steerable systems (RSS), which is finding new value in this historic downturn.
Another facet of technology adoption is the availability of compliments. For example, smartphones need great apps for customers to realize their true value. In much the same way, RSS need to have great drill bits designed to work with them in order for operators to realize their maximum value.
To be sure, there are certainly some hurdles in working across company lines on product development. For example, gauge pad configuration is one of the many aspects of bit designs that are customized to work perfectly with differing RSS tools. Different lengths, steps, tapers, helix angles, and wear protection may be advantageous for a particular RSS application, but producing such a specific product requires a significant investment of engineering resources and capital. And once created, such a bespoke asset should not be blindly forced into an improper application to the detriment of another operator. The only long-term path over such hurdles is for service companies to jointly commit to focus first on performance for the customer.
In South Texas, operators and RSS tool developers have toiled for the last few years to uncover the full value proposition of being able to steer while rotating. In theory, this should allow operators to capture all of the benefits of highly directional wells without the inefficiency of regularly having to interrupt operations to orient and slide at low ROP – and have better hole quality to go along with it. The increased complexity of the systems, however, requires all components to work together seamlessly. The primary challenge for operators has been maintaining ultra-tight windows in lateral applications of the extended-reach horizontals in the Eagle Ford. RSS has made those complex well designs a possibility.
Ulterra’s willingness to partner with RSS makers has contributed to great runs. After working with Weatherford to design an Eagle Ford bit tailored to Weatherford’s Revolution® RSS, there has been a huge improvement in vibration and torque, which has drastically reduced the chance of tool failure. At the same time, the bit is increasing ROP, setting distance records, and coming out of the hole in pristine condition.
In a run in Live Oak County, TX, the bit set three global footage records for the Revolution RSS by drilling 16,234 feet in one run. The extended-reach well had a total depth of 22,700 feet. Reaching out that far is a big challenge, and accomplishing it with one bottom-hole assembly had been previously unheard of. With the Ulterra bit and Weatherford RSS working together the BHA was able to stay on bottom for 192 hours.
In a recent well in Abu Dhabi, a major operator encountered difficulty drilling through a troublesome series of formations in an ADMA brownfield while utilizing the AutoTrak X-treme™ motorized RSS from Baker Hughes. Based on data from their CoPilot™ system, vibration was identified to be one of the major performance limiting factors in two bits that had failed to complete the section. As this was the case, the operator turned to Ulterra to provide a custom solution.
One of the unique design technologies that Ulterra has to combat lateral vibration at the bit is CounterForce®, a novel cutter arrangement methodology that allows the cutters to work together to redirect vibrational energy back into the rock. By pairing this technology into a U713M bit design along with the RSS, the operator was able to complete the interval.
The Ulterra bit delivered, allowing the RSS assembly to drill 824 feet to section TD at an ROP of 23 ft/hr. This run was 66% faster than the average of the two previous bit runs in mother hole and 230% faster than the average of the two previous bit runs in pilot hole. According to the operator, this performance saved three trips. The dull condition was also excellent with only minimal abrasive wear to some of the cutters on the nose and shoulder.
More importantly to the operator, the MSE calculations from the CoPilot down hole measurement tool showed that the Ulterra bit, with CounterForce technology, achieved this using 14% less energy to drill compared to the previous runs that had mostly drilled in softer, easier formations. Vibration levels were also dramatically reduced in the most difficult formation where it causes the most issues. Compared to other bit runs, lateral vibrations and whirl were reduced by 84% and 31% respectively, while stick-slip was reduced by 88%.
Some RSS makers, such as Weatherford, Gyrodata, Scout Downhole, and others, focus their energy and expertise on their tools and services while leaving complimentary performance parts to other experts. Others produce their own OEM (original equipment manufacturer) drill bits, and obviously they will often recommend them with self-benefiting reasons. However, in high-cost, high-performance applications, which are often identifiable by the use of RSS, “stock” equipment is seldom the best option.
As a PDC drill bit company, Ulterra is always excited for the opportunity to tackle new and unique problems. Our mission is to be the most trusted employer and supplier of PDC drill bits in the industry, and to reward that trust with industry leading consistency, performance and relentless, rapid improvement. There are many great car makers, but they all rely on other companies for the best tires in the world. While Ulterra doesn’t make RSS tools, the evidence is growing that we do make the best bits for them.
Partnering with Weatherford to design a bit tailored for their Revolution® RSS tool in the Eagle Ford, Ulterra set back to back to back world footage records using the 8.75” U516M CounterForce®. Continued Partnership with Weatherford’s Revolution RSS has led to huge improvements in vibration and torque, which has drastically reduced the chance of tool failure.
On a four well pad in Live Oak County, TX, the CounterForce U516M set three global footage records for the Revolution RSS by drilling 16,234 feet in one run. (According to Weatherford, this is the most footage they have drilled with one BHA anywhere in the world.) The extended-reach well had a total depth of 22,700 feet, reaching out that far, however, is a big challenge, and this performance is unheard of with one bottom-hole assembly. With the Ulterra bit and Weatherford RSS working together the BHA was able to stay on bottom for 192 hours.
This is just one example of how Ulterra is building our reputation on proven performance throughout the world’s drilling basins. Although we don’t make RSS tools, evidence is growing that we do make the best bits for them.