Saudi Aramco/TUDRP announce smart ‘drill pill’

7mm long micro device circulates with drilling mud, acquiring downhole pressure, temperature data.

Saudi Aramco’s ‘EXPEC’ research center has announced successful field testing of a ‘downhole drilling microchip.’ The device is a low cost combination of sensors and data recorder that can be injected into the drilling mud, recording mud pressure and temperature as it circulates down the drill string and back up to the surface. Aramco’s ‘drill pill’ has been developed in a four-year joint program between EXPEC and Tulsa University’s drilling research project (TUDRP). The idea developed when Aramco’s Shaohua Zhou met up with TUDRP associate director Mengjiao Yu at a meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Zou explained, ‘Our idea was for low-cost downhole data acquisition system that could help optimize mud and cement formulations while drilling and reduce data acquisition cost.’

The 7mm prototype pills travelled 6.6 km in an 8-3/8” wellbore to 11,050ft. The chips provided ‘meaningful and realistic’ dynamic bottom-hole pressure and temperature measurements. The drill pill is an ‘open’ platform that can be adapted for other mini sensors. More from TUDRP and from EXPEC.

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