Rock bit technology has progressed significantly since the cable tool rig drilled Drake's Well in 1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvania, and a bi-cone bit drilled the Lucas Gusher in Beaumont, TX, in 1901.
Today's drilling professional has a wide array of choices.
Roller Cones, or Tricones, have three moving heads.
Button Bits have tungsten carbide inserts
Tooth Bits have steel teeth.
Drag Bits are economical when drilling softer geological formations and shallower depths. The tips, or wings, are affixed with tungsten carbide.
PDC Bits are fixed cutters. Unlike Tricones, there is no movement relative to the bit head. PDC bits shear rock with diamond faced pdc cutters affixed to tungsten carbide.
The advantages of using a Work Over Mill are: No moving parts and no lost cones. The Bear Claw, Hurricane, and Aardvark Mills are designed for specific drilling applications.
All the above are manufactured according to strict standards set forth by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Tricones and PDC Bits are classified according to characteristics set forth by the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC).
Founded in 1873, Atlas Copco is a Swedish company headquartered in Stockholm and is present in more than 55 countries with operations in over 170 different markets.
Atlas Copco is a trusted name with 140 years of experience in the mining and construction industries. Their expertise is not only the manufacture of Tricones and PDC Bits, but also diesel engines, industrial power tools, and drilling rigs.
In 2009, Copco assumed full ownership of Focus Rocbit in India, and in 2012 purchased a US PDC manufacturer. Since then, the Copco name has been increasingly welcomed into the US market as a provider of quality equipment.
Atlas Copco Drilling Rig
Their line of drilling bits, ranging from 3" to 12 1/4", coupled with reliability and cost competitiveness, is quickly making Atlas Copco/Focus RocBit preferred among drilling professionals.
Focus RocBit for well completion and workover
Fracking, combined with directional drilling, has made possible the extraction of oil and natural gas once thought impossible.
Oil and gas can become trapped in impermeable and non-porous shale, making extraction efforts with traditional vertical drilling methods futile.
Fracking is also called hydraulic fracturing, hydrofracturing, hydrofracking, and fracturing.
Two examples of previously inaccessible gas and oil reserves are the Marcellus and Bakken Shales.
The Marcellus Shale stretches across New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and southeast Ohio and is the largest natural shale gas reserve in the United States.
The Bakken Shale is located in North Dakota, Montana, and into Canada. According to 2013 estimates by the USGS, it contains an estimated 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil.
These tight shales can be fracked, or fractured, with many tiny cracks, sometimes only one-half the width of a human hair. These small fissures allow the natural resource to flow into the underground reservoir, then be pumped to the surface.
Fracking definition: the process of creating fissures in rock formations and then injecting water, proppants, and chemicals into the cracks to "prop" them open. This "propping open" of the fissures allows the oil or gas to flow into the wellbore.
Acidizing is sometimes done when fracking. Acid, usually hydrochloric acid (HCI), is pumped into the fissures.
The acid dissolves rock materials and cleans out the cracks to allow the oil or gas to flow more easily.
Opponents of fracking claim studies show between 20-85% of the chemicals from fracking and acidizing remain underground, thus leading to concerns about water contamination and environmental consequences.
Deepwater Horizon Explosion
April 20, 2010, marks the date of the largest offshore oil spill in US history - the day the Deepwater Horizon experienced a blowout and caught on fire. Two days later it sank into the Gulf of Mexico.
Lost were eleven lives and the semi-submersible, Transocean offshore drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon.
The wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf spewed petroleum into the surrounding waters until finally declared "effectively dead" on September 19, 2010.
British Petroleum and Halliburton immediately came under fire for their handling of the situation, and President Obama placed a six-month moratorium on offshore drilling.
The extent of environmental damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill remains unknown at this time.
However, with history as our teacher, a quick look back almost 30 years may give a glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico's future.
On March 24, 1986, the second largest oil spill in US waters occurred when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spilled 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska. The results have been long lasting.
Government estimates show that only 14% of the oil was actually cleaned up, and the Pacific herring population continues to be depressed.
In 2003, studies indicated that some beaches in Prince William Sound still felt the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and wouldn't experience recovery for another 30 years.
Offshore Drilling Rig
Because it currently produces around 10% of US output, offshore drilling is here to stay unless we find a replacement supply.
CNG is natural gas that has been compressed to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure.
Three sources exist: domestic gas wells, oil wells, or condensate wells. Commonly trapped in tight shale, directional drilling combined with fracking have been highly successful in harvesting the gas over the past two decades.
In its raw state, it is neither usable nor transportable and must first be processed into pipeline quality, or dry natural gas. This pipeline quality gas arrives at the processing facility ready for compression.
Natural Gas Powered Bus at Grand Canyon
The most important location in North America for natural gas pricing is the Henry Hub - a pipeline located in Erath, Louisiana. Connecting with 13 other pipelines, the Henry Hub delivery price is the price point for natural gas futures sold on the NYMEX, or New York Mercantile Exchange.
The uses for natural gas go beyond home uses of heating and cooling. NGV, or natural gas vehicles, may someday replace petroleum-powered cars.
However, many obstacles must be first be overcome. The primary obstacle to NGV becoming widespread is distribution. Until distribution facilities become more commonplace, refilling remains a problem.
Greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere are necessary because they trap heat from the earth and keep our planet warm.
Land and water absorb heat from the sun. The earth's warm surface transfers heat into the atmosphere in the form of infrared radiation. Some of this heat becomes trapped by greenhouse gases to keep the earth warm and habitable. This natural process is known as the Greenhouse Effect.
The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. The higher concentration of CO2 causes the blanket of gases surrounding the earth to absorb more heat, thus increasing the earth's temperature.
With modern man's usage of fossil fuels, attention has become focused on the effects of greenhouse gases and the need to find renewable resources with little to no carbon footprint.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to rally for a healthy, sustainable environment. This rally officially gave birth to Earth Day. The Mideast Oil Crisis of 1973 added fuel to the raging fire of passions.
Individuals and companies have vehemently sought alternative energy in the form of sun power, biomass energy, wind and geothermal energy over the past four decades.
Wind Generator for the Home
This quest for powering the earth with renewable resources is not over and future accomplishment remains.
But a drive through Texas reveals vast fields of towering windmills. People's homes and businesses exhibit solar panels in Colorado. These sights did not exist 30 years ago.
Truly, the alternative resource revolution has begun.