The U.S. oil and gas industry has been completely transformed by fracking. Once an experimental sideline to traditional drilling, in 2016 hydraulically fractured horizontal wells totaled 69% of all oil and natural gas wells drilled in the U.S. and 83% of the total linear footage drilled, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Fracking has only grown since then.
While the practice remains
Fracking in the Anadarko has increased sharply since 2008, and annual basin production volumes have already set new peak records.
According to Dmitry Lukovkin, artificial intelligence business director for ZYFRA, drill string weight for a 3,000 m well can reach 500 tons. “To drill a well it is necessary to overcome the resistance of the rock; to remove the rock particles, while still acting on fresh material; to maintain the stability of the walls of the hole and to prevent the fluids contained in the drilled formations from entering the well.”
He noted that wellbore instability can lead to drilling failures like a stuck
Wanted: New Solutions
That means new thinking
Likewise, machining the parts that go into fracking equipment requires new approaches, as our cover story by Contributing Editor Ed Sinkora on page 38 explains. For example, fracking blocks, part of the giant pumps used in fracking, have traditionally been made from 4000 series alloy steel, but to combat wear users are using exotic alloys like 17-4 PH stainless, super duplex stainless and 15-5 stainless.
So, novel ways of using machine tools and cutting tools are needed. And, as always, you can read about them in Manufacturing Engineering!