Due to the high demand of larger drilling rigs and significant daily costs, preset surface has started to pique the interest of oil and gas operators in the Permian Basin. The most common method used to drill surface in the area is fluid drilling with the use of PCD Bits. However, when Integrity Services LLC, a Permian Basin drilling company, was engaged to perform surface drilling for a large independent oil and gas operator, research and experience indicated that the area would be a good candidate for air drilling. As opposed to fluid drilling, air drilling had the potential advantage of a higher rate of penetration which is important in a tight drilling schedule, lower water usage in an area where water is in short supply, and reduced the risk due to loss of circulation zones which has historically provided problems in this area. Additionally, down hole hammers are known in this region to drill a straighter hole.
Integrity utilizes an Atlas Copco RD20 III drilling Rig, 3,000 CFM Atlas Copco Air Package coupled with an Atlas Copco 1,000 psi Booster. The first series of wells required Integrity to drill 800 feet of 12.250″ hole and set 9.625″ 40# casing to total depth. Most of the known formation was limestone, red bed/blue clay coupled with possible loss of circulation zones. Due to Numa’s reputation in the oil and gas industry and strong working relationship, a Patriot 125 hammer and 12.250″ PCD bit was chosen to start this project. With the use of the Patriot 125 hammer, Integrity achieved a rate of penetration averaging over 130 feet per hour with minimal issues and saved the oil and gas operator significant money in water costs. Once again the people, products and performance of Numa saved the day!