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An operator in Reeves County, Texas was experiencing erratic drilling performance in 12¼ in. intermediate sections running through interbedded shale, limestone, and salt. Extremely high torque fluctuations  and stick-slip were affecting drilling efficiency, and downhole tool failures  were driving up NPT and costs. Looking  to minimize downtime and complete  the next sections as quickly as possible,  the operator contacted Baker Hughes,  
a GE company (BHGE).

Based on the operator’s challenges,  BHGE proposed using a TerrAdapt™ adaptive drill bit to improve drilling performance and reduce non-productive time by proactively mitigating stick-slip and impact loading. It incorporates self-adjusting  depth-of-cut (DOC) control elements to mitigate torsional instability—which can lead to stick-slip—and to absorb sudden impact loads from formation variations.  The bit limits DOC when sudden loading is experienced at the bit face, and increases DOC during smooth drilling to maximize ROP. 

The TerrAdapt bit completed the 3,355 ft (1023 m) section in one run, increasing ROP by 27% compared to ROP on offset wells drilled with standard PDC bits. ROP averaged 168 ft/hr and the surface torque generated by the TerrAdapt bit was 45% lower on average and 90% more consistent.

Download the PDF to read the full case study.

Challenges & Results


  • Improve ROP and mitigate downhole tool failure through stick-slip-prone formations
  • Maintain stable drilling through interbedded formations with stringers


  • Mitigated vibrations and stick-slip
  • Protected the bit from impact damage
  • Drilled 27% faster
  • Increased efficient drilling time by 45%
  • Reduced average torque by 35%, and torque variations by 90%