Case Study: PDC Bit and Rotary Steerable System Increase ROP 39%, Setting Field Record

Application-specific BHA drills 12¼-in section in one 3,361-ft run in northern Kuwait field

Challenge: Drill a 12 1/4-in directional interval in a single run at high ROP with good directional control.

Solution: Use the IDEAS integrated drillbit design platform to design an application-specific PDC drill bit fitted with ONYX PDC cutters and run on PowerDrive vorteX powered rotary steerable system (RSS) with steering section from PowerDrive Xceed RSS.


  • Drilled 3,361-ft interval in one run.
  • Increased ROP 39%.
  • Set new field ROP record.

Improve directional control and ROP 

An operator in northern Kuwait was using PDC drill bits run on positive displacement motors (PDMs) to drill 12 1/4-in directional intervals through medium to hard carbonate formations and an abrasive sandstone formation at the bottom of the section. The operator wanted to achieve better directional control and higher ROP with a BHA that could drill the 12 1/4-in intervals shoe to shoe in a single run. 

Optimize steerability, reduce stick/slip 

Using the IDEAS platform, Smith Bits designed an application-specific BHA that combined a 12 1/4-in MDi616 PDC directional drill bit fitted with PDC cutters to run with a Schlumberger PowerDrive vorteX RSS and PowerDrive Xceed RSS.

The bit’s depth of cut was optimized for steerablity and reduced stick/slip. Extensive hydraulic analysis was performed to optimize nozzle placement for keeping the blades clear of cuttings. In addition, the bit was fitted with ONYX PDC cutters to reduce cutting structure wear in the abrasive formation.

The PowerDrive vorteX RSS’s steering section—from a PowerDrive Xceed RSS for harsh, rugged environments provided accurate point-the-bit directional control. A fully integrated power section delivered the high torque needed to increase bit rotation speed and ROP.

Increase ROP, setting field record

The application-specific BHA drilled the 12 1/4-in interval shoe to shoe in one run. Average ROP for the 3,361-ft run was a record-setting 46 ft/h, which was 39% faster than the best ROP of 33 ft/h achieved with other BHAs in offset wells.

Download: PDC Bit and Rotary Steerable System Increase ROP 39%, Setting Field Record  (1.64 MB PDF)

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39% ROP Increase Sets New Field Record in Kuwait

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