Directional drilling is the driving force that made the current oil and gas boom possible. It allows the ability to drill multiple wells horizontally across a formation, in different directions from one site, and tap into a wealth of oil and gas has reduced costs and maximized profits. Drill Right, an Oklahoma-based oilfield services company, is making leaps and bounds in this field with innovative software that makes directional drilling even more accurate.
Many think directional drilling is a new, technological miracle created specifically to maximize the return on investment on wells drilled in oil and gas shale fields across the U.S. In fact, an article about directional oil field drilling entitled “Slanted Drilling” appeared in the May, 1934 edition of Popular Science. The article describes how slanted drilling was used to extinguish runaway wells, and sometimes to tap into oil outside the original well’s legal boundaries.
Originally, directional drilling tools were invented to prevent drilling from veering off left or right, common mistake in the early days. Today, sophisticated sensors can track and transmit gigabytes of data from miles underground and enable directional drillers to hit target zones less than two feet thick.
Drilling companies are always looking for new ways to track performance, minimize costs and avoid problems. Today, anyone located anywhere in the world can log onto a secure website and get live, detailed information about the performance of multiple drilling projects, and whether they are on track to reach pay dirt. One of the most comprehensive systems used to track data is the highly specialized directional drilling Glaive software developed by Drill Right Technology.
“This is revolutionary,” says Darrell Husted, CEO of Oklahoma City-based Drill Right Technology. “We (Drill Right) are in the business of providing our customers the best tools available to get the job done right,” explains Husted. “Glaive provides our customers a unique advantage. It provides all the information they need about their drilling projects, at their fingertips, anytime anywhere they have internet access.”
The Glaive software syncs with all of the directional drilling tools provided by Drill Right. However, it goes well beyond just tracking the drill’s pathway. It also provides daily activity reports that can include: billing, daily bottom hole assembly components, inventory of the rig’s collars, drill pipe types and mud pumps. It even stores the phone numbers of team members and daily weather reports from the rig site. Having access to various types of information from a rig all in one place can help a team analyze data retrieved from the rig site to figure out the “why” behind the numbers.
“The software even records the weather. If we want to figure out why production was low on a certain day, we can see it was really cold and understand why certain decisions were made.” Having this data availablehelps teams look in the past to make future decisions about when, where, and how to drill.
“When we developed this software, we tapped into our team’s decades of experience in directional drilling and operations. However, we also took another step to ensure it included all the information needed to get a complete picture of what was happening at the drill site yesterday, today and tomorrow. We talked to drillers, engineers, accounting teams, production people, and others,” explains Husted. The software spent two years in development, but Husted says it was worth it. He saw the value in a system that could be a “command center” to house information all together in one place, replacing the need to search through paper files. Husted believes in doing what it takes to do the job right. “Glaive is just one of the tools we provide drilling companies to help them reduce costs and get the job done as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible.”
The resulting product provides a wealth of information. “We track trucking companies hauling tools to the location, packing lists as tools are used and returned to inventory, rig directions, surveys, slide and rotate footage, and it will even show how the actual drilling is progressing compared to the original plan. Glaive enables anyone with approved access to log in and view live data.”
“We started Drill Right in 1998, renting directional drilling tools. Then we moved into buying and building all of the tools we now use. However, if a job requires a tool we do not have, we don’t hesitate to tell the customer, and we secure the right tool for the job. Nobody has all the tools needed for every job. There are just too many different issues you run into drilling that require specialized tools. We just make sure we provide the right tools, even if it is not one we own.”
Those unfamiliar with today’s high-tech oil field may still have visions of rotary rigs twisting pipes thousands of feet into the ground. Today, nothing is further from reality. Modern rigs are highly-automated techno-marvels, and drill pipes no longer turn. They are the conduit for pressurized drilling mud forced through the drill stem to power directional drilling motors that spin a drill bit guided by software.
“Directional drilling evolves every day,” says Husted. “We are constantly looking for new ways to monitor performance and cut costs for our customers. It costs thousands of dollars per hour for a rig to operate. Every hour we can save is money in the bank for our customers.”
Glaive software, in conjunction with Drill Right’s other tools, provides not only drillers, but engineers, accountants, suppliers, and others easy access to all the data about a rig’s operations. It’s a huge time-saver.
“In the past, drillers got their information from the drilling software. Engineers had to download drilling info into their software. Accountants and suppliers had separate systems to track deliveries, usage and expenses. Glaive provides everyone the ability to get the information they need, whenever they need it, from one, easy to access source,” explains Husted. “Plus, the information is live and updated constantly. They don’t have to wait until the end of the day or the end of the week. It saves time, and time is money.”