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Polycrystalline diamond drill bits open up options for geothermal energy
Date:3/19/2012

rld drilling environment. Sandia worked with PDC bit manufacturer National Oilwell Varco (NOV) of Houston to find specific solutions for the company's ReedHycalog PDC bits. NOV provided commercially available drill bits and on-site experts to counsel the drilling contractor during the demonstration drill runs.

Sandia worked with the Navy's geothermal drilling contractor, Barbour Well Inc. of Henderson, Nev., in evaluating drilling technologies during production drilling.

Sandia also formed partnerships with Albuquerque's Prime Core Systems, and the Barbour Well mud logging company, Prospect Geotech, to field instruments to monitor the Barbour drill rig during the drilling process.

In the tests, two bits drilled 1,291 feet of the overall well depth of 3,000 feet. The two bits were in the well just over four days, penetrating approximately 30 feet per hour throughout their drilling interval, nearly three times better than standard roller bits used for comparison. The team retrieved and downloaded downhole data from both bits for analysis.

In a planned second phase of the project, Sandia will continue work with NOV to evaluate drill performance and improve the bit design and materials.

Cooperative work between the Navy and Sandia was covered by a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Defense and the DOE on collaborative development of renewable energy resources.

The demonstrations and planned phase two drilling are funded through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project, "Technology Development and Field Trials of EGS Drilling Systems," under the supervision of DOE.

How PDC cutters are made

Polycrystalline diamond compact cutters on the cutting faces of bits allow more aggressive drilling than bits traditionally used for geothermal drilling. They are created by a sintering process. Graphite powder is applied to the leading face of a cutter made of tungsten carbide. T
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Contact: Stephanie Holinka
slholin@sandia.gov
505-284-9227
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Source:Eurekalert  

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