Intelligent Drill String Network Completes Fifth Test Well

IntelliServ Inc. of Provo, Utah (a Grant Prideco(TM)/Novatek venture) announced the successful completion of a fifth field trial of the IntelliServ® network, a high-speed, real-time drill string telemetry network run in combination with third-party downhole measurement tools. "With the success of this well, IntelliServ Inc. has proven the viability of reliable high-speed, real-time drill string telemetry," said David R. Hall, President and CEO of IntelliServ Inc.

Working for BP America Inc. (BP), an IntelliServ network consisting of 5-inch telemetry drill pipe (IntelliPipe(TM)) and associated telemetry drill string components, including heavyweight drill pipe, drill collars, roller- reamers and drilling jars, was used to drill from surface to a total depth of over 13,000 feet. The network successfully provided high-speed, real-time telemetry services throughout the drilling program, with live data sent via satellite to engineers in Provo and Houston.

"The IntelliServ network performed extremely well during the latest field trial, providing a customer data rate of 66,000 bits per second. It also demonstrated reliability comparable to mud pulse telemetry, with a mean-time between failure of over 800 hours," stated Michael Reeves, Vice-President of Marketing and Operations for IntelliServ. "The same telemetry tubulars had been used to drill four previous test wells and the IntelliServ network has now accumulated over 3,000 operating hours in extremely harsh conditions, including very high-shock air drilling."

To date, IntelliServ tubulars have been used to drill over 50,000 feet of hole for BP, demonstrating handling characteristics and mechanical reliability equal to Grant Prideco premium drilling tubulars. An upgrade enabling customer data rates of 1 million bits per second has been pilot tested and will be implemented later this year.

The IntelliServ Network is an "open architecture" technology, providing connection capability to any supplier of downhole tools. A variety of MWD/LWD tools, including the ReedHycalog(TM) DRT (Drilling Research Tool) have been deployed on several of the field-trial wells, demonstrating the ability to reliably communicate through the network and providing high resolution drilling and evaluation data on a real-time basis. Several major service companies are currently developing downhole tools compatible with the IntelliServ network.

The high-speed, bi-directional drill string telemetry provided by IntelliServ represents a step-change technology for the oil and gas drilling industry, enabling operators to take full advantage of real-time functionality from formation evaluation and drilling tools. The IntelliServ network also enables precise control of downhole equipment, regardless of drilling speed, drilling fluid or formation characteristics.

The project began at Novatek in 1997 with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. Grant Prideco began providing technical expertise and premium drilling tubulars to the project in 2000, and IntelliServ Inc. was incorporated in 2001, with joint ownership by Grant Prideco and Novatek. IntelliServ exclusively uses Grant Prideco premium drilling tubulars as the basis for its telemetry drill string components. Commercial launch of the IntelliServ network is anticipated before the end of 2005.