April 30, 2010

Alcoa Aluminum Alloy Drill Pipe can Extend Drilling Reach

HOUSTON, Texas – April 30, 2010 – Oil drilling contractors and operators can achieve extended reach drilling goals through the use of high-strength-to-weight Alcoa aluminum alloy drill pipe (AADP), according to a recent study.

The test results were reported in an International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) and Society of Petroleum (SPE) Engineers technical paper prepared by Alcoa Oil and Gas and Baker Hughes (paper IADC/SPE 128910).

The objective of the study was to determine whether it was possible to extend drilling depth without having a detrimental impact on the drilling process by changing the base pipe material to a high strength-to-weight aluminum alloy. The resulting reduction in drill string weight translated into a direct reduction in drill string torque and drag.

According to the study, aluminum alloy drill pipe was about 47% lighter than its steel counterpart, and demonstrated a 36% reduction in torque and 50% reduction in drag. The relative casing wear was also reduced by more than half from 6.8% to 3.3%. Additional benefits over steel included reduced levels of fatigue, power consumption and the ability to use lower rated rigs.

“One of the many challenges for the oil industry is how to extend the limits of drilling rig capacities without significantly increasing costs,” said Mark Davies, Market Development Manager for Alcoa Oil and Gas and a co-author of the paper. “There is a need to tap into ever deeper and more challenging reservoirs, and the results of our testing showed that a way to address this challenge is to use a lighter drill string made from aluminum alloy.”

By using aluminum alloy drill pipes in a mixed aluminum and steel string, explorations of extended reach reserves that are up to 20% deeper are enabled compared to when using steel strings alone. 

“When the drag forces or the torque requirements exceed the capacity of the rig, aluminum drill pipe is a real alternative to continue drilling without expensive rig up-grades,” said Alejandro Castro Rodriguez from Baker Hughes. “The physical properties of aluminum drill pipe make it a dependable choice for extended reach drilling applications.”

The technical study report can be found at http://www.alcoaoilandgas.com/drillpipe.
About Alcoa
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina.  In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the past 120 years.  Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa’s operating practices and the product design and engineering it provides to customers.  Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for eight consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today.  Alcoa employs approximately 59,000 people in 31 countries across the world.  More information can be found at www.alcoa.com.

About Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes provides reservoir consulting, drilling, formation evaluation, completion and production products and services to the worldwide oil and gas industry.