HOUSTON – Baker Hughes has passed the 100 million-ft drilling milestone for its AutoTrak rotary steerable system (RSS).
According to Thom Thissen, president drilling services, this was the world's first full automated RSS when it was introduced in 1997. The system was designed to improve drilling efficiency in numerous ways, including providing better directional control, enhanced reservoir navigation, and drilling a smaller number of wells over the same footprint.
Enrico Biscaro, advanced drilling system product manager, said one of the early showcase applications was Chevron's Captain field in the UK central North Sea.
"This was a challenging well that involved moving away from the platform, drilling a controlled curve, then going below the platform to access the reservoir. That had not been possible previously with a conventional motor-based system," he said.
Other achievements made possible by AutoTrak, he added, included producing extra reserves from lateral wells on the Troll field in the Norwegian North Sea by exposing over 13,500 m (44,424 ft) of previously inaccessible reservoir; and establishing a new record for the world's longest extended reach well of 11,282 m (37,016 ft).
"RSS allowed us to change the way we think about wells," he claimed.
With this technology, Biscaro added, which "allowed us to stay in the hole longer, the drill bit also needed to change.” This led Baker Hughes to develop various complementary innovations including the Talon PDC drill bit.
Over the past years, the company has introduced updated versions of AutoTrak, including AutoTrak eXact this past October, designed to provide the dual function of kicking off deeper into wells to help maximize reservoir penetration (according to Thissen) and formation evaluation.
Currently AutoTrak is being used to drill around 200 wells worldwide, Biscaro said.