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News Release

Release Date: May 4, 2005

Intelligent Pipe Technology Communicates Faster than Internet
Technology on Verge of Commercialization Provides Fast, Reliable Communication During Downhole Drilling

HOUSTON, TX - With the successful completion of its fifth test well, smart pipe technology aptly named IntelliPipe™ has proven its ability to provide high-speed downhole oil and gas drilling communication in real time. The breakthrough could revolutionize the way companies probe for oil and gas and move domestic production capabilities into the next century.

Developed with funding from the Department of Energy, IntelliPipe is drill pipe with built-in telemetry technology that uses a unique coupler embedded in each 30-foot long section of drill pipe. The coupler allows data to be transferred across small gaps between each pipe section, with the data then being carried through a cable attached to the inner pipe wall.

IntelliPipe continuously transmits data back and forth between the surface and the subterranean depths of an oil or gas well while drilling, which improves the operator’s ability to steer the drill bit to oil- and gas-bearing deposits, saves time, and reduces the number of wells needed to produce a reservoir. The bidirectional communication can also alert operators of well-control situations and rock characteristics, enhancing the efficiency of drilling, reducing down-time, and improving the safety of operators during drilling operations.

The latest test well in Oklahoma showed that data such as local geology, temperature, pressure, and drill string vibration can be transmitted to the surface at speeds as fast as 2 million bits per second—faster than a T1 line and up to eight times faster than standard broadband internet connections.

During the field test, IntelliPipe reached a total depth of more than 13,000 feet, logging 1,100 drilling hours and successfully sending and receiving data. The technology has now accumulated more than 3,000 operating hours on test wells in extremely harsh conditions, including very high shock air drilling.

The system was developed by Novatek Engineering in Provo, Utah, with early funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy. Since then, Grant Prideco and Novatek have formed a joint venture, called IntelliServ Inc., to market the technology. Commercial launch of the IntelliServ Network, which consists of IntelliPipe and associated telemetry drill-string components, is anticipated by the end of 2005.

For more information about the Intelligent Pipe Technology please see:


Contact: David Anna, DOE/NETL, 412-386-4646