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
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
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: