On June 20th of this year, the DFW chapter of the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) hosted a Drill Bit Technology Forum at the Fort Worth Petroleum Club. The event was moderated by Fred Dupriest, Professor of Engineering Practice at Texas A&M University and retired Chief Drilling Engineer for ExxonMobile. The panel featured technical representatives from the top four U.S. market share companies: Ulterra, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, and Schlumberger.
Each panelist was given the opportunity to provide a brief overview of their company profile, their vision, and a summary of their latest drill bit technology. The panel then had their turn in answering a
half dozen or so questions from Mr. Dupriest and finished with a question and answer session with the attendees.
The panelist included Mark Freeman, Director of Drill Bit Technology for Baker Hughes, a GE Company; Seth Anderle, Drill Bits Product Manager for Halliburton Drill Bits and Services; Wiley Long, Product Champion for PDC Bits and Cutters at Schlumberger; and Aron Deen, Director of Marketing and Innovation at Ulterra.
The highlight of the forum came when a leading Drilling Manager from Pioneer Natural Resources asked the panel how they could help operators better visualize the wealth of data and analytics that is available in today’s bit runs and turn this data into a simple and direct way of designing complete BHAs. Aron Deen took the lead by pointing out that Ulterra has created an entire company culture that is based on working closely with the customer and asking “what specific problems are we trying to solve”.
Ulterra’s rapid-prototyping protocol allows them to use the available data in order to quickly design or modify the design of drill bits for specific applications. This ability to turn “squiggly lines” of data into simple solutions and “get the technology downhole” is what sets Ulterra apart.
Deen continued to point out that bit companies are independent of other drilling services and BHA providers in that “bits don’t get day rates.” Every drilling application is different and rate of penetration and less tripping is critical for drill bit performance. Operators and drill bit companies must commit to working together closely and build trust with each other in order to design the most efficient BHAs. “We must allow for humility in decision making and realize mistakes will be made. But only by pushing the limits of innovation together will we be able to advance the technology.” This will, in turn, create value and more than justify the added time, cost, and resources of the business model.