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Society of Petroleum Engineers


Steel Body PDC Bit Technology Demonstrates Performance Improvements

L.M. Smith/Security DBS; V.P. Perrin/Chevron Petroleum Technology Co.; R. Delwiche/Security DBS

tip~ght 1998, Sooiety of Petroleum Engineers, Inc

translates into greater face volume, which, with more effieient
~s pep.9r was prepared for p~ntstion at the IADUSPE Asia Pacific Driig Technolcg~ wttings removal, contributes to better penetration rates,
’98 held in Jaketi, Indonesia, 74 September, Im,

This paper was seleoted for presentation by an SPE program Cornmiw follting ti~ Of
information mnteined in an abstracf submitted by the author(s). Contente of the pa~r, as Normalized open face volume is a measure the total volume
presented, have nti been revi~ by the %Iety of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to
mrrection by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any
of the junk slots on the bit, measuring from the bit renter to
pmtion of the Wety of Peboleum Engineers, ik officers, or members. Papers pr~nted at the first point of gauge mntact. A larger normalized open
SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial CommMees of the Wety d
Petroleum Engineers Permiaaion to mpy is rmtricted to an abetract of not more than W face volume contributes to hydradic efficiency, as well as
words. Illu%tions may not be mpied, The absireot should contain wnspicuous
acknolwedgment of where and by whom the paper was pr-nted. Wrii Librarian, SPE, P.0, diwuraging cuttings from sticking to the bit body in what is
h _ Richardson, TX 7=3030, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-S435. known as “bit balling.”

In addition, being made of steel, the new bits ean be treated

Abstract with an anti-balling (AB) surfacing technolo~ that
New bit technolog was used to create a series of steel body discourages cuttings from adhering to the bit face and musing
bits which incorporate proven PDC bit design features for bit balling.
improved ~rformance. The bits have achieved field records
in filly one-third of the applications in which they were Manufacturing Process
introduced. The teehnolo~ deseribed includes all aspeets of An innovative manufacturing technique was developed for
bit application, including new manufacturing processes, use in production of the steel body bits. The process makes it
advanced design engineering, a unique nozzle configuration possible to create a new bit design with the exact performance
and use of a computerized rock compressive strength analysis features required for a given drilling application, and have it
program to refine application. built and delivered to the rig in as little as four weeks. This
compares to the 15 weeks or more typically required by
Field performance of steel body PDC bits is detailed and conventional techniques.
Compared to mnventional matrix body bits to illustrate the
resulting performance improvements possible with propr The rapid prototyping that is possible with the manufacturing
stwl body PDC bit application. technique also improves the economics of “one-off bit
designq unique bit configurations including bi-center casts
Introduction can be produced for a ~ific application more cost-
Steel body PDC bits, while not a totally new concept within effectively than with conventional hard die and sand casting
the industry, have provided the neeessary material design and techniques.
quality properties for dramatically improved performance in
specific drilling applications. In addition to the significant efficiencies of production, the
process affords greatly expanded design flexibility, enabling
Because stwl has significantly greater thermal expansion and the steel body bits to incorporate improvements on traditional
is more ductile than matrix material, steel body bits are far steel body bit configurations as well as performance-
less likely to fail due to breakage or shearing. Taking full enhancing f~tures previously available only in matrix body
advantage of this fact, a new manufacturing process was bit designs.
developed which allows one line of st~l body bits to
incorporate more complex geometries than previously Anti-Balling Coating
possible. The steel body PDC bits are treated during manufacture with
a patented anti-balling (AB) surfacing technology that
In particular, the new steel body bits can feature significantly discourages cuttings from adhering to the bit face and causing
higher blade standoff than matrix bits. Higher blade standoff balling. The unique anti-balling treatment imparts an eleetro-


negative charge to the steel body bit which effectively repels over time. Refinement of the matrix ~ PDC drill bits and
the negative ions in the drilling mud. The result is a lubricant global application with the fluted nozzles has clearly
barrier of highly wnmntrated water that prevents the bit from demonstrated the viability of this technology, and fil step
balling. ‘1) improvements in penetration rate have resulted. ‘3)

Performance-Enhancing Design Features Available as an option on the steel ~ bit designs, a new
The new steel body PDC bits can be manufactured with “Vortexx” fluted nozzle has been develowd which features a
fmtures that enhanm directional performance without uniquely shaped orifice that effectively increases HSI without
eomprornising ROP. Such features include impact arrestors, increasing flow rate or decreasing cross sectional area of the
varied cutter sizes and backrakes, spiraled blade layouts and exit orifice. ‘4)
extremely short profiles that are just half the length of a
Wndard steel body bit. ‘2) Unlike conventional circular jets, the asymmetric orifice of a
Vortexx nozzle creates a negative impingement pressure at
The impact arrestors, which provide stabilization to both the formation interfaee. This in turn creates an underbalance
axial and lateral modes of vibration, effectively dampen situation and increased turbulence under the bit, resulting in a
chaotic downhole vibrations. Typically positioned in the nose more productive pressure for more efficient cleaning and
and gauge area of the bit, the small round insets are aligned cuttings removal.
directly behind PDC cutters to intentionally control depth of
eut ~) of the PDC cutter at the nose, where reek strength Application Determination
may exti cutter strength and cause premature failure. Formation analysis is an important area of research that may
offer new performance benefits. The ability to interpret well
The steel body bits are also force-balanced in a proprietary log data or other sources of information to predict when bit
prwss that positions cutters to dramatically reduce downhole balling may occur is extremely usefil.
vibrations that ean cause severe cutter damage. In addition,
the new steel body bits incorporate spiral, asymmetric blade The GeoMechanics computerized drilling analysis program
layouts which disrupt the harmonic effects that lead to the can be used at any point during a drilling program, from
onset of bit whirl, The bits also have tracking cutter layouts initial plannin~ including directional plans, through post-
which drill a *loped or ridged bottomhole pattern. Such well analysis, Reek Compressive Strength analysis can be
“ridged” patterns have proven more whirl-resistant than those conducted for a s~ified depth interval of interest, with the
generated by conventional PDC cutter layouts. system taking into account the effeets of relative dip angle
and temperature gradient.
SumsWly used in a number of sidetrack operations, the
steel body bits retain steerability while posting solid increases The Bit Mechanical Efficiency analysis incorporates a Bit
in penetration rates. For example, during one North Sea \Vear Model that allows for accurate estimation of bit life
@onal projeet, a 17” steel body bit on a 11-1/4” motor based on cmmdative work pe~ormed. The model establishes
drilled more than 2800 feet per day in an application where bit work ratings to optimize bit selection by matching the
2000 f~t per day was typical. ratings to work requirements of the interval to be drilled. Bit
design changes also can be evaluated based on resutting
Advanced Nozzle Technology changes in bit mechanical efficiency.
Available hydraulic ener~ is a tiction of date equipment
eapaeity, drill pipe size, motor requirements, directional tool In a real-time application, the Penetration Rate Model can
requirements, lithology wnsiderations, drilling fluid determine the optimal working range of weight-on-bit/RPM
rheology, and ofien, specKlc paradigms Partitiar to a given for a given rock strength, bit wear condition and power Imel,
area. allowing penetration rate to be maximized without unduly
compromising bit life through exposure to severe wear,
New nozzle technology has shown si~lcant drilling
bentits horn employing non-eitiar jets with speeialked It is important, howmer, that bit application be viewed as part
interior shapes to produw less than hydrostatic pressures at of a total “systems approach” to engineered drilling. Bit
the rock faw. These jets are ofien referred to as “negative selection and operating parameters are determined based on a
pressure jets”, or “fluted jets.” number of variables such as rig and pump capacities, mud
~stem, operational constraints, and well objectives. Use of a
Ol&r matrix body PDC bit designs had been used for fluted computerized drilling analysis program such as
jet application &veIopment, and the need for increased face GeoMechanics is intended to enhance the bit seleetion
volume and other refinements beearne increasingly apparent process within the wntext of a total system,


Performance Results
Drill bit performance improvement is typically defined as In vertical exploration wells in West Malaysia, the steel body
either longer bit runs with fewer costly trips to replace worn PDC bits have performed well in the 12-1/4” tophole section.
bits, increased rate of penetration, or more commonly, both. One 12-1/4” FS2463 drilled2514 meters at an average ROP
The use of new steel body PDC bit designs in combination of 35 m/hr. Another drilled 869m in two runs, achieving an
with fluted hydraulic jets provides a clear advantage to the average ROP of 33.8 rn/hr, and was dull graded re-runnable.
operator in terms of improved bit performance.
Philippines One steel body bit application in the tophole
This new series of steel body PDC bits is initially section of a directional well set a field run performance record
recommended in drilling applications with more than 40°/0 when used in conjunction with the complementary matrix
shale content; generally, the bits are run in the larger body PDC bit design. The 8-1/2” FS2565 drilled 3115 feet at
diameter, top- and intermediate-hole environments. In an ROP of 37.4 ft/hr, and was followed by a 6“ FM2463
direetioti wells, swelling shales, and a variety of which drilled 774 feet to TD, The time savings that resdted
applications requiring use of water-based mu~ steel body from the performance of these bits under directional drilling
PDC bit performance has produced significant savings for constraints produced economic savings of an estimated two
operators through improved drilling performance. million dollars.

The following data represents actual field results in various Australia In a number of offshore Australia applications,
areas of the world where this technolo~ has kn employed. the steel body PDC bits have demonstrated pefiorrnance
One major operator has found successful application of the improvements over offsets. They have &n used successfully
bits in Venezuela, Argentina, Jakarta, the North S= and the in directional applications through long intervals of limestone
Middle East. with varying marl content. In one well, wrheredolomite
stringers were encounter~ a 9-7/8” FS2563 drilled 1191m at
Offshore Indonesia A number of successful steel bit an ROP of 37.2 m/hr, and was graded repairable. (Figure 3)
applications are documented in Indonesian wells. Initial The bit was used for controlled drilling to hole inclination at
results from one re~nt offshore directional application 35° through the section.
indicate a 12-1/4” AB-coated steel body bit drilled more than
9000 feet at an average ROP 36*. This performance in the Middle East The new line of steel ~ bits currently has
S-sha@ directional well set a record for the fastest ROP and achieved the most records of any type of bit run in Abu
longest run to date in that field, (Figure 1) Dhabi, including records for ROP, most footage in 24 hours,
fastest interval, most footage – and most records.
The steel body bit, which fmtured a spiral six-bladed design
with 3# PDC cutters, was run from 1139m depth in to TD the In one project where 50 wells are planned to be drilled using
well at 3780m, a total run of 273 lm in 74.4 hrs. The bit four rigs, application of steel body bits thus far has more than
averaged 36.7 m/hr compared to the previous best run of doubled penetration rates from 37 f?/hr to more than 75 fUhr.
2400m at 29 m/hr, and experienced none of the bit balling Already in the course of this project, a 12-1/4” FS2663 has
problems characteristic of this application. (Figure 2) established two record performances for the field: increasing
ROP by 32% over the previous six best wells drilled with a
Another 12-1/4” FS2663 steel body bit drilled 8960 feet in an PDC bit on a top drive unit; and drilling record footage for a
offshore Indonesian well. The bit averaged penetration rates 24-hour period.
of 90 ft/hr, drilling to a depth of 12,402 ft to achieve a field
run reeord. Run on a slow-speed high-torque motor, the FS2663 drilled
an intewal of 3105 feet of interbedded formations at a total
In Brunei, a 12-1/4” FS2663 drilled 2687 feet at an ROP of average ROP of 76.7 W. This exceeds penetration rates of
203 ft/hr to achieve a field run record. When pulledat4019 the previous six best runs, which ranged from 70 to 44.6 ~r
feet, the bit was ddl graded 1-1 -W-A-X-I-NO-TD. The bit for a cumulative average of 57.2 ft/hr. In addition, the steel
was run again to drill another 1014 fmt at 56 W, and was body bit, used to drill out cement, shoe and float collar,
@led due a problem with the BHA. maintained an average ROP of 84.7 ft/hr while drilling
through 2032 feet of the total footage in a 24-hour period.
In one East Malaysia well, a 12-/4” FS2743 drilled a total of
6931 feet at an average ROP of 95 ft/hr in two runs. Another When pulled at TD at 8795 h, the bit was graded 3% worn
was run on a 9-5/8 motor using oil-based mu~ drilling 3005 and was re-runnable. The same bit then was re-run and
fmt at an ROP of 88 W for a field record. When pulled at drilled another 2640 feet - to within one-tenth of a foot of a
6625 ft, the bit was ddl-graded: l-1-LT-N-X-I-BT/CT-TD. new record for footage in the field.


~rsonnel to adjust drilling parameters accordingly to

In the same field in the Middle East, a second steel body PDC optimize performance through ~lcdt or changing
bit was run, achieving a field record penetration rate on a conditions. Employing a compressive strength analysis
kelly rig with an increase in ROP of 35% over the previous program which incorporates CEC values also has proven
three best wells drilled with a PDC bit. useti in predicting bit balling problems, and may help to
define the success of new technology in combating this
All aspects were mnstant for these runs, including formation problem.
tops, fmtage drilled mud weight and system, operating
parameters and rig used. When pulled at TD at 8680 fret, the Acknowledgments
steel bit was graded 5% worn and was re-runnable. The authors wish to thank Security DBS, Chevron, Trans
Texas and ADCO for prmission to publish this data, and
This 12-1/4” FS2663 bit was then re-run and set the new Abu thank the following field and operations personnel: Mike
Dhabi 12-1/4” cumdative footage record (for “non repair” R&se, Terry Dailey, Normal Cooper, Rob Arfele, George
bits) with a total 6047 feet. Mer the seeond run, the bit was Espiritu, Calvin Elmer, Rusty Milam, John Kelety, Dan
graded just 10% worn and still re-runnable. Symonds, Tommy Hymel, Gary Weaver and Bill Wng. We
also acknowledge the efforts of the drilling contractors and
As shown in the tables klow, steel body bit performance in rig crews who supported our efforts during these bit runs, as
this application consistently exceeds that of offsets, in both well as staff in District offices in the Far East, Malaysia,
kelly and top drive application, and well as for total footage Aftica, Singapore, Jakarta, South America, the Middle East,
per bit. North Sea, Australia, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

In directional wells, swelling shales, and a variety of References
applications requiring use of water-based mud steel body ‘ Hale, A., Romslo, N., et. al.,: “Successful Field Application
PDC bit performance has produced si~lcant savings for of an Electro-Negative ‘Coating’ to Reduce Bit Balling
operators through improved drilling pefiormance. Tendencies in Water Based Mu*” paper IADC/SPE
35110 presented at the 1996 IADC/SPE Drilling
The use of new steel body PDC bit designs in combination Conference, New Orleans, La., March 1996,
with fluted hydradic jets provides a clear advantage to the 2Dahlem, J.S., Dresser Seeurity, et,al.,: “The Application of
operator in terms of improved bit performance. SpecKlcally, Advanced PDC Concepts Proves Effective in South
longer bit runs and improved dull grade conditions are a Texas”, paper IADC/SPE 27472, presented at the 1994
fiction of better heat transfer and bit cleaning as well as IADC/SPE Drilling Conference, Dallas, Tx., February
anti-balling coating of the bit and aggressive design features. 1994.
3 Akin, J.E., Smith, S.K., and Dove, N.R.,: “The Negative
Bit selection remains part of a “total systems” approach. Impingement Pressure Nozzle Phenomenon,”
Using a computerized drilling analysis program, specific Computational Mechanics ’95, S.N. Athu-i (cd.),
operating parameters can be employed at the rig to limit PDC Springer, To@o (1995) 1108-1115.
cutter damage in the new steel body bits. In addition, 4 Akin, J.E.,: “HSI Redefined for Drilling Hydraulics,”
anticipation of harder, interbedded formations enables Journal of Petroleum Technolo~, 1997.

ROP Comparison: Kelly Runs

38.0 I

Tables: Comparison of Steel Body PDC Bit vs. Offset Performance

Onshore Middle East application. Formation tops, mud system and
weight, parametem and rig are constant. The only identifiable variable is
bit type. Steel body bit performance indicated in bold.


3821: 9.5fl SHOE, 2599mN0

42W TOP TMG~,3317mlV

W69: 7“S~E, 4117mlV0

5169: 4.l@ SWL 4217mlVU

4=+ , I 11111111 Ill T

Figure 1. Directional wellplan offshore Indonesia application. Figure 2. Steel@ PDC bit afier drilling more than 9000 feet,

Fi~ 3. Before (Iefi) and Mer (right) drilling 1191 metres, offshore Australia.