Stryker Energy Directional Services, LLC (Stryker) has an active drilling program with several oil companies in the Bone Springs formation of both Eddy and Lee counties, New Mexico. Stryker has operated without MWD failure to date thanks, in part, to custom ruggedizing of certain MWD/gamma components. However, the inherently harsh Bone Springs’ conditions have led to competitor system reliability issues and Stryker knew that it was only a matter of time before it would experience a catastrophic failure of its own.

There are three types of wells drilled in the Bone Springs area.  The first is a 7-7/8” curve and lateral with a total vertical section of 4,700’ +/-. The second is an 8-3/4” curve with 6-1/8” laterals, then moving to an 8-3/4” curve and lateral with 5,000’ +/- total vertical sections. The importance and value of the SOFTRIDE® is heightened with the addition of Agitators downhole.
Stryker utilizes Universal Power Solutions, Inc.’s (UPSI) MWD battery pack, which incorporates the SMART-3™ technology - providing objective data of all shock and vibration conditions in an easy to understand graph with time and date.  Stryker’s SMART-3™ post well memory dump regularly reflected axial shock exceeding 30 grms, sometimes as much as 60 grms.

After every run, the muleshoe wear cuff and pulser abrasion ring were routinely replaced, being severely worn and damaged from excessive axial shock.  Further, surface g-totals were in the .05 to .06 range, another clear indicator of the need to proactively identify and implement a shock & vibration mitigation strategy.

The officers at Stryker had successfully run a first generation shock & vibration reduction tool owned by Technical Drilling Tools (TDT) sister company, Thru-Tubing Rentals, at a previous directional drilling company. This nonmag Hydraulic Shock Tool (HST) is a hydro-mechanical shock absorber that runs as part of the tool string between the muleshoe and directional system (EM, gyro and steering tools). The HST successfully reduced the high axial shock associated with air hammers and air drilling such that the guidance package survived the environment. Without the HST, it is highly doubtful the tool string would have remained seated in the muleshoe.
When TDT approached Stryker about the new SOFTRIDE® system in May of 2013, there was already an established relationship and a high comfort level with TDT’s shock & vibration reduction capabilities. Stryker proceeded to run the 6-1/2” SOFTRIDE® in the curve and lateral sections of the next several Bone Springs wells - that being the only variable changed from previous wells and baseline comparative data. What Stryker saw was initially hard to believe and needed to be confirmed on subsequent Bone Springs wells.

  • The number of 30+ grms axial shock events decreased, on average, by 60 %.
  • Wear and tear to the wear cuff and abrasion ring decreased so dramatically that Stryker no longer had to change them on every run…the same ones were good to go on the next well.
  • ROP increased from 1,400’ – 1,500’ per day to in excess of 1,900’ per day, due to more efficient drilling.  Stryker did not, at any time, increase weight-on-bit (WOB).
  • Tool face was easier to identify and control during sliding operations.
  • Pulser signal quality was improved due to the laminar flow design of the SOFTRIDE® system.

Stryker continues to run the 6-1/2” SOFTRIDE® on Bone Springs jobs and has recently successfully deployed the system in the Granite Wash, Woodford, and Mississippian Chat formations with similar results using both 6-1/2” and 4-3/4” SOFTRIDE® tools. Since inception, Stryker has accumulated over 2,700 circulating hours and successfully completed approximately 25 wells with the SOFTRIDE® system.

Stryker was pleased to assist TDT in the prototype field testing of the SOFTRIDE® technology, understanding the critical importance of controlling variables in the process. Through Stryker’s use and feedback, TDT has made improvements to the original design to enhance use and performance.  Based on our access to and use of the SOFTRIDE®, Stryker management believes the technology fully capable of reducing non-productive time (NPT) and increasing the mean-time-between failure (MTBF).

Todd Estes
Vice President
Stryker Energy Directional Services, LLC

General observations over several jobs...

“Sharewell has used the SOFTRIDE® effectively to reduce vibration and hence increase MWD MTBF. In South Texas, Sharewell drilled multiple vertical pilot holes prior to commencement of directional drilling operations. The 6-3/4” SOFTRIDE® was used to mitigate the drilling vibration. RPM was 125-175 ROP exceeded 150 ft/hr on many occasions, with hard streaks. Prior to addition of the SOFTRIDE® there was a minimum of one (1) failure on each pilot hole. After the addition of the SOFTRIDE®, on the next four (4) pilot holes, MWD failures were eliminated. In North Dakota Sharewell has used the SOFTRIDE® when drilling vertical holes (2000’-10,500’) with not a single MWD failure. The SOFTRIDE® effectively reduces/mitigates drilling induced vibration and shock.”

Sharewell MWD Services

4-3/4” SOFTRIDE® Bakken lateral, 197.5 circulating hours and 6,090’ to TD...

“This was the first field trial for Ryan Directional with the SOFTRIDE® in use with a NOV Agitator. Though we had MWD issues on previous wells in the area, we were able to drill using the same MWD system, after adding the SOFTRIDE®, on 4 bit runs with no MWD failures. At this point, we are pleased with the performance of the SOFTRIDE®...”

Ryan Directional Services

6-3/4” SOFTRIDE® Northern Oklahoma curve section, 80.33 circulating hours and 4,555’ total drilled...

”Overall shock & vibration was reduced with the SOFTRIDE® in the string. This drilling environment was not extremely harsh, but even so, benefit was gained from the
SOFTRIDE®. The number of peak shocks over 30 g’s was reduced by 75 percent and vibration was seen to be 47 percent less when reliable data was available for analysis. The SOFTRIDE® will definitely provide value to the service company that is drilling in environments with severe negative drilling mechanics and with shock and vibration related failures the norm. The shock values seen from stick/slip and BHA whirl issues are noticeably less and, in addition, it was noted by field personnel that tool faces seemed to be more stable while slide drilling. If asked, Great White would recommend this tool to others.”

Great White Directional Services, an Archer company

General observations from a single job in Andrews County, Texas

Runs #1 and #2 - MWD produced AvPA of 106. Signal was exceptionally clean and noise free when we usually see a slight bit of noise at bottom of pulse waveform. We think this was due to SOFTRIDE® design.

Run #3 - Tripped in hole to 1868’ MD to test MWD and everything went well. AvPA of 81 when testing with perfect clean signal. No problems existed with MWD and signal was perfectly clean with no noise as expected due to previous run. Sliding and Rotating commenced for 3 days going from 4174’ – 4972’. MWD AvPA stayed within 81-84 when landing curve. Everything went smoothly and POOH to pick up new BHA for lateral.

Run #4 - Tripped in hole and got a good surface test (Only until sync due to casing). No problems existed with MWD. AvPA was consistent at 89lbs throughout the whole run with perfect clean signal. We usually see a decrease in signal around this time but it stayed strong throughout run start to finish. We used precision cut 13” rubber fins throughout this run. Drilled from 5075’ – 7102’ error free. MWD has 229 hours on it at this point starting out with 22 Hours. Same string as from the start.

Run #5 - This run was operated without using the SOFTRIDE® to see a comparison in performance. Surface test was good with similar results from previous surface test. Slight noise noticed (about 3-5lb) but good decode. Tripped to bottom and picked up for a survey. It was noticed that the pulse amplitude went from 89 – 91 Lbs down to 71 with slight bit of noise present. When tagging bottom to slide our pulse amplitude stayed consistently around the 68-71 range. Noise was present but nothing that would affect our decode. This was the first change we noticed with MWD. 6 Hours into drilling the gamma counts flatlined at 0. Intermittently the gamma would come on for a little while (15-45 minutes) and shut back off for hours. Decision was made to drill ahead and relog on next bit trip. We believe this intermittent failure was due to the absence of the SOFTRIDE® and our tool seeing excess S&V.

Run #6 - Tripped in the hole with same MWD, a different gamma probe and the SOFTRIDE®. This run we attempted to downlink the tool so we could relog the missing sections of gamma log. We created 3 configs so we could quickly relog the sections @ 300 ft/hr and then tag bottom and switch configs to drill ahead with conventional programming. We got to the first section needing relog and successfully downlinked our tool into our fast gamma config (nothing but gamma counts at a .5 second pulse width). We were getting perfect pulses @ a .5 second pulse width with no signal loss! We relogged 947 ft of section in 3 hours with perfect log and perfect pulses all the way to bottom. Normally we wouldn’t try a .5 sec pulse width due to signal loss usually equaling ½ the size of normal. Everything looked great. We got back to bottom and successfully downlinked our tool again back to normal operation. We TD the well 2 days later with no issues and impressed the customer by knocking out 2 birds with one stone (One trip relog and finish the well). We believe this was accomplished without problems due to the design of the SOFTRIDE® helping with signal. No problems with MWD the whole run.

Upon receiving the equipment back from location, the SOFTRIDE® cartridge was removed for inspection. All seals looked to be in great condition with minimal wear on the muleshoe. Helix seemed to have no wash. Everything looked to be in good condition. We feel this unit helped us stay in the hole without electronics failure. Disassembly of the MWD showed no wear on snubbers as we usually see slight to severe damage when not running the SOFTRIDE®.

Cudd Drilling and Measurement Services

General observations over several jobs...

“We had 4 runs of previous data all in the same area and all at the same depth and inclination range. This data showed high shock and vibration with several instances reaching above 100g’s. It was decided that this would be a good rig to run the SOFTRIDE® to see what kind of damping effect it had on our MWD tool string. We ran the SOFTRIDE® on one run and the initial data that came back looked very promising. We ran the SOFTRIDE® three more times on the same rig and the data from these three runs showed low shock and vibration compared to what we had seen previously from this rig...”

“We decided to get some data points with the SOFTRIDE® in different areas of a horizontal well and potentially with an agitator and shock sub in the drill string as well. Although we didn’t have previous well data from the area selected with a retrievable style MWD tool string, we did have previous run data from the vertical section and the beginning of the curve with an agitator being used. The first run we picked up the SOFTRIDE® with an agitator and a locking lower end on the pulser. We didn’t get any data from the smart chip in the battery pack on this run, however. The run was considered successful and the field operator did inform us that the percent decode, decode quality, and pulse amplitude was higher than on previous runs in the same area of the well. The muleshoe sleeve’s wear cuff and the wear ring on the pulser helix showed very little signs of wear. Typically during a run with an agitator, these are parts that see high wear. The second run with the SOFTRIDE® was run with an agitator and locking lower end on the pulser as well. It was an 80 hour run in the lateral and the data showed very little shock and vibration with only one data point that was high. This is typically lower than what we see on runs with agitators...”

Precision Directional Services



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