EARL T. KOSKIE JR.
LinkedIn Profile PDC Technology
THOUGHTS ON LABORATORY TESTING AND PDC DEVELOPMENT
When developing PDC cutters for today's Oil & Gas drilling industry, several design, materials and HP/HT processing factors must be properly addressed to provide a successful outcome.
One very important requirement to achieving this, is to have well-designed laboratory tests. These are needed to evaluate the key PDC performance characteristics - abrasion resistance, overall cutter toughness and thermal stability.
Without rapid feedback by lab testing - in other words, relying only on field testing - PDC cutter development will simply take too long.
It must be noted that even the best lab tests are only indicators of these critical PDC cutter performance requirements. They are artificial analogs for actual downhole drilling processes and conditions. We attempt to duplicate in the lab, in a useful, controlled and consistent fashion, influences on the cutters which relate to real-world drilling conditions in a realistic way.
The feedback these lab tests provide are essential to developing excellent candidate cutters for drilling. But in the end, the truth is in the field, on a drill bit, at the business end of the bottom-hole assembly.
Field testing is a separate world unto itself. The cutter developer has to work with the PDC drill bit company cooperatively for the best result in this, but here the bit company has to take the lead.
The issues in field testing include both the complications of PDC bit design, and proper bit application (formation(s) being drilled; operating practices and parameters; the unexpected; etc.). These are NOT to be under-stated or under-appreciated. Getting everything right here is necessary, and is NOT trivial.
ALL these factors come into play. All are required. But having a world-class development test lab is an essential first step. It is the foundation upon which the application of advanced PDC technology to today's Oil & Gas PDC drill bit industry is built.