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Diamond Tech Company Adding Sparkle to Schlumberger Drillbit Offerings

Schlumberger Ltd. is expanding its repertoire after purchasing synthetic diamond expert Novatek Inc., a frequent drillbit technology partner.

The duo have an existing relationship that includes Schlumberger's StingBlade conical diamond element bit. Novatek also "has been an incubator of novel ideas" that the oilfield services giant has incorporated into some of its newest technologies.

According to a case study, Cimarex Energy Inc. used the fit-for-purpose StingBlade bits in the Permian Basin's Avalon Shale in New Mexico. Cimarex wanted to drill high-dogleg-severity curve sections with a 12 degree/100-foot build rate while achieving a maximum rate of penetration (ROP). The play includes thick sections of limestone.

"The unpredictable, transitional nature of the formation was unsuccessfully drilled with conventional PDC, or polycrystalline diamond compact bits, and roller-cone hybrid bits had low ROPs and potential reliability issues," Schlumberger said. "For this operation, Cimarex wanted to maximize ROP and build rates to kick off the curve section deeper in the lithology column, landing the borehole at the precise location needed to maximize reservoir exposure in the lateral."

Using StingBlade bits, Cimarex was able to drill the curve section in one run at an overall ROP of 30.2 feet/hour, which was 23% faster than the best offset drilled with a roller-cone hybrid bit. The completed curve in one run set a new record, and it eliminated the use of "lost cone incidents and costly fishing trips."

The Novatek acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, would provide another platform "to continuously improve drilling performance for customers," Schlumberger said.

"Novatek's synthetic diamond manufacturing technology is already a key component of our drillbit offering," said Schlumberger's Khaled Al Mogharbel, president of the drilling group. "With the addition of Novatek, we will enhance our research, engineering and manufacturing capabilities and continue to work with our customers to accelerate field adoption of these innovative drilling technologies."

Novatek and its affiliates have a 60-year history of product development with more than 600 patents. Core development of synthetic diamond technology and other technologies would continue at its lab in Provo, UT, where most of the employees are based.

Novatek President David Hall said that since his father, Tracy Hall, synthesized "the first manmade diamond 60 years ago, synthetic diamond technology has revolutionized the diamond cutting and drilling industries. Our new relationship with Schlumberger will help us to continue this legacy of innovative technology development."

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