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Varel introduces IMax drill bit series

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Varel International Oil and Gas has announced the commercial launch of the new IMax™ series diamond impregnated drill bits for hard and abrasive formations. The highly flexible series, available with a hybrid cutting structure design, can be equipped with turbine sleeves and box up connections.

The high-performance IMax series bits are based on the latest in design, material and manufacturing science and optimised to drill faster and last longer in challenging applications.

The product line features

  • Strict diamond selection ensuring diamonds of similar size and quality.
  • New pelletisation process, preventing diamond aggregates and reducing areas of low diamond concentration.
  • Improved diamond/matrix bonding.
  • Infiltration in controlled temperature environment for reduction of oxidation and graphitisation, resulting in improved bit wear characteristics and durability.
  • Cylindrical, hot isostatic pressed (HIP) segments tailored to the formation.
  • Custom cutting structure design by proprietary SPOT™ bit design program.

“The IMax series is the result of combining the best practices in impregnated drill bit design, new materials and manufacturing processes,” said Cary Maurstad, Global Product Manager for Fixed Cutter and Roller Cone Drill Bits. “Taking these individual pieces and finding their exact balance led to the development of an all new product series for Varel.”

Maurstad continues, “Our field tests have validated our efforts and we are excited to deliver this solution to our customers for their tailored drill bit solutions.”

Providing hybrid cutting options

IMax+ adds premium Vulcan® PDC cutters for a hybrid design with a dual cutting structure. The bit design is particularly effective in less-consolidated sandstones or when drilling from a softer formation into a harder and more abrasive formation, where durability is key. PDC cutters are strategically located on the cutting structure for increased formation shearing. As the formation becomes harder or more abrasive, the PDC cutters wear down to expose the HIP cutting structure to the formation.

Case study – doubling the average footage drilled by PDC drill bits

Varel was approached to help double the average footage drilled by PDF bits in the highly abrasive Colony Wash (granite wash) formation in western Oklahoma. The average offset footage for this run is 647 ft (255 m) and the average ROP is 11.7 ft/hr (2.93 m/hr).

The company recommended the use of 6 1/8 in. VI+613DGU IMax+ hybrid diamond impregnated bit. When the results came in, the IMax+ bit drilled 1018 ft (401 m), which is nearly 1.6 times the average footage. The run was terminated because of reaching the well TD or it would have likely reached its goal. The bit was run with average WOB and rpm, but with a much lower HSI than the offsets, which is probably responsible for the slightly lower than average ROP.  

Edited from various sources by Cecilia Rehn

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