Drilling economics has become an even hotter topic in the drilling world as of late. Just mentioning the term can draw an expansive list of cliché terms, with the most obvious being ‘time is money’. The recent shift in the marketplace has severely altered the supply and demand of drill bits. And in one tongue-in-cheek assessment, operations are demanding extended performance out of a fewer number of products. Today these sentiments are not only valid, but are the driving force behind drill bit manufacturers’ and suppliers like Drill Bits World focus when delivering solutions to the market.
When operators plan their projects, a multitude of costs are considered. As much as 98% of a drilling operation’s budget normally encompasses the needed services and personnel to operate the rig including fluids, drive systems, etc. Drill bit costs, in relation, have historically been known to only represent approximately 2% of the total authorization for expenditure (AFE).
Drill bit manufacturers are constantly faced with the question on how they can improve drilling economics. Luckily for operators, fierce competitiveness in this market drives innovation. With the end goal to maximize hours on bottom and rate of penetration without jeopardizing safety and bit integrity, drill bit providers strive to achieve superior drilling performance.
Through the industry standard cost per ft/m measurement, one can clearly discern that the drill bit’s contribution to the drilling economics can have a rather large effect. Correct bit selection can reduce hours, if not days, of drilling time proving that drill bits have a measurable effect on the bottom line. This saving of time directly results in bottom line savings of rig rate, and elimination of additional service components and safety concerns.
Analytical tools and software development
In today’s digital oilfield environment, practically each component of the bottom hole assembly including the drill bit can be modelled, tested and optimized before ever being manufactured. Initial drill bit software platforms, introduced in the late 1980s, have given way to software packages capable of modelling a product with consideration to rock properties and drilling parameters, simulating a run and assisting in the selection of the best drill bit for the application. These packages work to strike the delicate balance between drilling efficiency, bit life and borehole quality.
The major drill bit manufacturers have adopted holistic design systems, or a closed loop system for drill bit design. The systems are generally based upon formation analysis, cutting structure design and simulation.