Self-Adaptive Depth of Cut Control Technology: A Path-Breaking Approach to Address Torsional Dysfunction and Securing Drilling Performance Gain in Challenging Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Well

Roy Chowdhury, Ashabikash (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Serrano, Ralph (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Martin, Brisk (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Landry, Jonathan (Talos Energy LLC)


Torsional instability in a drilling system is a significant challenge that limits performance. In its extreme form, known as stick-slip, the drillstring stops and restarts, exposing its downhole equipment to extreme forces that can lead to failures, unintended trips, and escalated operation costs. Torsional instability can also trigger lateral dysfunctions and whirl, creating further risk of bit and bottomhole assembly (BHA) failure. The risk of torsional dysfunction is heightened in applications involving concentric reamers and long drillstring, high-angle wells.

The correlation of polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits with torsional dysfunction is well known, and different approaches have been suggested to address the issue. The fixed depth of cut control (DOCC) approach, which is commonly used to address the issue, limits the PDC bit and formation engagement at a pre-determined ratio of rate of penetration (ROP) and drillstring RPM. However, this approach has an uncertain success rate when drilling conditions change. To address the challenge of torsional dysfunction while drilling a directional well with a 12¼-in. pilot bit and a 14½-in. concentric reamer, a self-adaptive DOCC technology was deployed in a deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The self-adaptive DOCC technology automatically adjusts the depth of cut engagement threshold as drilling conditions change, eliminating the manual parameter adjustment required at surface to manage torsional dysfunction.

The application of self-adaptive drill bit technology in the target well yielded excellent results, and the section was completed with a single bit/BHA run. Ninety-eight percent of the interval was drilled with no torsional dysfunction. The drillstring whirl was negligible, and 99% of the interval was drilled without lateral vibration. Eliminating harmful dynamic dysfunction significantly enhanced drilling performance and increased the ROP by 57% over the best PDC offset run. The dull bit condition was very encouraging; the bit displayed very low wear and no undesired impact damage, showing the effectiveness of the technology.

This paper uses real-time drilling dynamics field data measured downhole and demonstrates the effectiveness of self-adaptive DOCC technology for drilling performance improvement in deepwater directional well where torsional dysfunction continues to remain a significant challenge and could be a performance limiter.