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Directional Drilling Tools: Tracing the Evolution & Advancements

In the recent past, directional drilling tools have witnessed significant advancements. The directional drilling industry has been taken on an efficiency upsurge because of the new technologies as they are reducing downtime and supporting the industry to achieve great results.

Directional Drilling Tools
Source: Rigzone

With automation slowly penetrating in the directional drilling tools industry, the operators have been able to drill at angles, turns and cover underground distances like never before. The engineering marvel has been established often by the companies with the introduction of directional drilling bit guidance system, MEMS sensors, Logging-while-Drilling (LWD) and many such technologies. This has not only given hope of better efficiency to the operators but has also led to the improved market results for the directional drilling industry.

Market Insights for Directional drilling companies

It’s been almost 100 years since the directional drilling technique was first employed in the industry. And with the advancements in the directional drilling tools, the technology soon became popular among the operators as it gives them the freedom to drill at different angles and turns. With the help of directional drilling tools, operators are able to hit the target accurately and efficiently which is why its popularity is increasing greatly with time.

A directional drilling tool, PDM which is relatively new to the industry will alone witness the market growth at a CAGR of 7.32% during the period 2019-2023. The growth rate of other directional drilling tools is following a similar pattern which is good news for the directional drilling companies. Directional drilling companies like Cougar and Halliburton have eyed on growth and are constantly looking for chances to capitalize on the existing market conditions.

With the passage of time, the need to raise production from the existing wells in order to meet the global demand has experienced a substantial rise. Advancements in the directional drilling tools and technologies supported the industry which is why the directional drilling market is set to expand with a 3.48 % CAGR by 2023 according to the market reports by Digital Journal. This will lead to increased usage of directional drilling tools and technologies by the companies worldwide.

Some of the major directional drilling companies which are shaping the future of the directional drilling industry are mentioned below:

Cougar Drilling Solutions

Cougar was established in 1969 in Canada and is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of directional drilling tools. The company has been a reliable source of advanced directional drilling technologies and provides various services including Rig site supervision, Well planning, Drilling and Engineering Support. Some of the directional drilling tools provided by the company are:

  • LWD System
  • MWD System
  • Rotary Steerable System
  • Survey Systems


Halliburton is the major service provider of the energy industry. It was founded in 1919 and since then is serving the industry with the best products and latest technologies. The company keeps on introducing new tools and techniques in the directional drilling tools category. The drilling experts of the company have planned and strategized uniquely the techniques used in its directional drilling tools. Some of the tools provided by the company are:

  • Geo-Pilot® Rotary Steerable Systems
  • iCruise® Intelligent Rotary Steerable System
  • Turbopower™ Turbodrills
  • StrataForce™ High-Performance Motor

These and many other companies are working on taking the directional drilling industry towards a better future. The R&D department of these companies are investing their time to understand the current problems of the directional drilling industry and come up with better technologies to overcome those problems. New advancements in directional drilling tools are being introduced almost regularly by the companies which are increasing the efficiency of the overall system. Today’s directional drilling is strategized on the computer. Geoscientists and engineers are now equipped with technologies, integrated and interactive tools which allows them to visualize, construct, and optimize the well paths through reservoir targets.

Recent Directional Drilling Technologies

Logging-while-Drilling Technology

The scientists and engineers have come up with Logging-while-Drilling (LWD) technology which will help in overcoming the challenges posed by directional drilling. Halliburton recently introduced a new logging-while-drilling technology which is called the ‘EarthStar Ultra-deep Resistivity Service’. This technology deploys azimuthal electromagnetic measurements.

Further, this type of well logging uses the logging tools into the drill string, administering, interpreting and transmitting real-time formation measurements to the surface. LWD empowers drillers to log wells that exceed 60 degrees by locating well-logging tools near the drill bit on the end of the drilling apparatus. It makes pushing the tool through the well impossible. LWD provides real-time information which helps drillers and engineers take quick decisions for the well’s future and its drilling direction. Because of these advancements, LWD is widely known as ‘intelligent drilling’. It has enabled stronger, more successful onshore and offshore wells.

Directional Drilling Bit Guidance System

Recently, Motive Drilling Technologies created a superior directional drilling bit guidance system, which has revolutionised the decision making at the rig by automating it. The usage of this technology has resulted in wells drilled with more consistency in much less time, with more accuracy and more production potential and, in some cases, with even lesser manpower requirement. This system employs a high-performance computer which supports a better data-driven automated decision-making process. Motive’s exceptional automation system performs standard directional drilling calculations on its own, which is a win-win situation for the industry as well. When experimented, it was found that the bit guidance system enables rigs to drill 25% faster and with twice the accuracy.

Precision Drilling, on the other hand, has almost eliminated directional drillers on rigs by using a computerized drilling advisory system. The automation system was developed by Schlumberger and Pason Systems.

Automation is bringing a paradigm shift in the industry by revolutionizing all the conventional directional drilling tools and moulding them according to the industry requirements. It is easing the work for operators, companies and the industry put together.  

Directional Drilling Services Companies Supporting the Industry


Nabors is supporting denser and complex U.S. wells by providing supreme quality directional drilling tools and services. It has expertise in advanced wellbore placement solutions and automated survey services. The services provided by the company are:

  • Tubular Services
  • Managed Pressure Services
  • Rigline 24/7™ Remote Operations

GB Directional Drilling Services

The company was incorporated in 2001 and offers contracting services in directional drilling sector. With over 50 years of experience, the company provides innovative contracting solutions to the industry. It has a wide range of drilling plant and equipment for groundwork on & off-road. The company is constantly working towards creating a better ecosystem for the industry.

A New Way Ahead

There are many companies and individuals working towards creating a better ecosystem for the directional drilling industry. In the past few years, the industry has witnessed improved directional drilling tools, demand growth and enhanced efficiency which has helped in transforming the global market of the industry.

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Niharika Vyas

Project Engineer

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Niharika found her purpose in writing. She brings a fine blend of technical knowledge and writing skills on the table, for the oil and gas industry.

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Niharika Vyas

Project Engineer

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Niharika found her purpose in writing. She brings a fine blend of technical knowledge and writing skills on the table, for the oil and gas industry.

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