Oil & Natural Gas Projects
Exploration and Production Technologies
Current Industry Capability Summaries for Two Topics Related to Small-Diameter
Wells: Hydraulic Motion in Small-Diameter Pipes, and Small-Diameter Drilling
Motors Available to Industry*
This project was directed in support of NETL's Microhole Initiative program
planning effort through a sole-source contract.
The original goal of the project was to provide DOE with summary reports on
the current capabilities of the petroleum service industry related to downhole
drilling and production. The objective of the newly defined scope of work is
to 1) investigate the history and state of the art and capabilities of downhole
motors for both small-diameter holes less than 3 1/2-inches and 2) to identify
the total work related to hydraulics in small-diameter holes, both vertical
Rio Technical Services Inc. (Rio)
Fort Worth, TX
Two reports were provided to DOE:
One summarized the history and state-of-the-art and capabilities of downhole
motors for small-diameter holes less than 3 1/2-inches.
The second identified the total work related to hydraulics in small-diameter
holes, both vertical and horizontal.
DOE may use the summary information and recommendations in future program
DOE is launching a major research and development initiative to create a small,
fast, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly rig for drilling 5,000 foot
boreholes to investigate and produce potential oil and gas reserves. The National
Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in conjunction with Los Alamos National
Laboratory (LANL) has developed an operational microdrill that has been successfully
demonstrated at depths of less than 700 feet. Rio's project was designed to
identify and fill in some of the gaps in knowledge and limitations of microhole
drilling and completion.
Rio conducted a literature search and interviewed key knowledgeable persons
about the current capabilities of downhole motors related to small diameter
drilling and related also to ultra-high-speed drilling bits (rotating up to
50,000 rpm). This effort summarized and defined the operating conditions of
the various types of downhole motors and their limitations. The report identified
current (at the time) research that was being conducted on the topic by service
companies, universities, national laboratories or other research and development
organizations. The report identified continuing industry needs in this area
Rio conducted a review of the available information on the topic of hydraulics
of fluid movement through small-diameter pipes or wellbores in both vertical
and horizontal orientations. The project was not limited to the oil and gas
industry but analyzed other industries where fluid-flow information is essential
for operation (i.e., water companies, manufacturing, mining, etc.). A summary
of the current understanding of the critical factors, available simulations,
and general level of understanding was prepared. The report identified key
researchers on this technology and current (at the time) projects being conducted
that would be applicable to the microhole technology intiative.
Current Status (August 2005)
Two reports were completed in 2003-04, and the results were used in DOE project
Current Capabilities of Hydraulic Motor, Air/Nitrogen Motors, and Electric
Downhole Motors, January 30, 2004.
Hydraulic Motion & Fluid Movement Through Small Diameter Pipes and Wellbores,
December 12, 2003.
Project Start: June 16, 2003
Project End: March 30, 2004
DOE Contribution: $166,000
Performer Contribution: $0
NETL - Rhonda Jacobs (email@example.com or 918-699-2037)
Rio Technical Services Inc. - Lindy Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org