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Drilling at the Barnett Shale
Drilling at the Barnett Shale

The Barnett Shale is a natural gas source bed rock that stretches over 16 to 21 North Texas counties and is still actively being discovered. It has almost no porosity and no permeability. Operators and producers alike are pioneers at the Shale, because it is the most advanced cutting edge and active play in the world. To say that drilling in the Shale is a challenge is an understatement.

“The limestone and sandstone are just so sharp,” explains Rick Blankenship, a Red River Oilfield Services principal. “These formations are very abrasive. However, when their characteristics are combined with the abrasive horizontal drilling techniques being used in the Shale, drilling dissolves into more of a grinding operation.

“Pipe is operating in vertical depths of 7,000 feet and subsequently 3 – 4,000 feet horizontally, laying on the low side of the hole. Ultimately, the rock functions as a grinding machine, grinding on the diameter of the pipe.” Hardbanding slows this extraordinary wear, allowing the pipe to maintain its necessary minimum diameters.

“We might apply hardbanding on a 3-4” segment of pipe and only two inches away from the edge of the hardbanding there will be measurably more wear,” says Blankenship.

Offshore Drilling at Barnett Shale
Applying Armacor in some of the harshest onshore drilling conditions existing worldwide today

Consequently there is a strong need for hardbanding in the Barnett Shale. “Armacor”, said Blankenship, “is as easy to apply as any competitive wire, and according to our tests, is as durable and wears as well as any wire our company has tried in this environment. However, I have found that Armacor’s casing friendliness is better than that of its competitors; it’s simply a good wire.”

Blankenship is an applicator who supports drilling operations in Johnson County, which is known to be the most abrasive area in the Barnett Shale. “The combination of geology with horizontal drilling results in a wear level on drill pipes and drilling tubulars that is as great as anywhere else in the world,” said Blankenship.

Another active applicator in the Barnett Shale says that Armacor has really “come into its own over the last five years. It offers a smooth hard metal surface that is non-abrasive and gives a very good wearability ratio in comparison to tungsten carbide. We are using a great deal of it.”


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