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Weatherford introduces new push-the-bit rotary steerable system

John Clegg, Director of Research, Development and Engineering at Weatherford, introduces the new Magnus rotary steerable system on 26 April in Houston.
John Clegg, Director of Research, Development and Engineering at Weatherford, introduces the new Magnus rotary steerable system on 26 April in Houston.

Weatherford has commercially launched a new rotary steerable system (RSS) that features independent pad control, a rotating bias unit with minimal bottomhole assembly (BHA) stabilization, real-time BHA diagnostics and autopilot functionality. In a deviation from the company’s original RSS offering, the new RSS is a push-the-bit system. This switch points to a recognition of the fact that 70% of all wells that are drilled with an RSS today are drilled with push-the-bit systems, while point-the-bit systems account for only 30% of RSS wells. “This tool allows us to play in that wider market,” Etienne Roux, Global Segment President, Drilling and Evaluation at Weatherford, said at a launch event for the Magnus RSS on 26 April in Houston.

The new tool also signals the company’s ambition to break up a duopoly in the push-the-bit market. “We realized about two and a half years ago that something different has to happen,” Mr Roux said. “We sat down as a management team and decided that unless we take a paradigm shift toward rotary steerables, we will never be able to offer our clients a competitive solution in this market.” Things like hole cleaning, equivalent circulating density, reducing the risk of sticking and the ability to drill smooth wellbores were all major considerations during the tool’s development.

“One of the things that you’ll see is that everything on the outside of this tool rotates,” said John Clegg, Director of Research, Development and Engineering at Weatherford. “There’s no non-rotating sleeve, and there’s no non-rotating stabilizer, which means there’s no drive shaft to have to take the torque and weight to the bit through the center of it. That means all the weight and torque can be taken through the full diameter of the tool.”

The tool is capable of achieving up to 10º per 100 ft, and it can also operate up to 300 RPM under a downhole motor. “We haven’t tested it that far yet because we didn’t have a rig that was capable of producing that much,” Mr Clegg said. “So far we have tested it to 250 RPM and were able to get at least 10º dogleg at 250 RPM.”

The tool has also been designed to be simple to assemble and deploy, enabling rapid deployment regardless of geographical region. “What we’ve done with the design of this tool is it’s highly modular and, therefore, we can repair this very close to the wellsite, in a local basin with very minimal tooling,” Mr Roux said.

The initial target market for the Magnus is US land. In late April, the new RSS drilled its first commercial well in the Marcellus, after nearly a year of testing in Oklahoma. “As soon as we are comfortable with the initial shake-out, we are heading down to the Wolfcamp in the Delware Basin, then further southwest into the holy grail which is the Permian for everyone right now,” Mr Roux said.

In Phase 2 of the tool’s development, Weatherford will work to expand the tool sizes beyond the 6 ¾-in. version available now. “This tool is a very scalable design, so Phase 2 from a mechanical standpoint is to make the bias unit bigger so we can enter the offshore market. We’ll also start working on more intelligent management of the system through electronics and communication with the tool.”

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