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Downhole drilling tools

Downhole drilling tools: Technology, Market and Major Players

After experiencing a downfall in the upstream activities in 2016, drilling and completion activity has increased by 30% since then. These activities will keep on soaring high at an average annual rate of 4% towards 2021 according, stated the report by Rystad Energy. These statistics are evidence that a hike in drilling activities is a driving force of the growth of global downhole drilling tools market. Not only this but the increasing demand for downhole tools in the bottom hole assembly (BHA) and in end-use applications such as well intervention, and in well completion are taking the downhole tools industry to the new heights.  

New downhole drilling technologies are being introduced regularly in order to enhance the efficiency of the operations. With the downhole drilling tools capturing the major part of the global downhole tools market, it would be interesting to see how the technological advancements which are leading to a shift from conventional methods, will shape the future of the drilling industry.

Types of  Downhole Tools  

There are wide varieties of downhole tools spread across various categories of operations like, well drilling, well completion and production optimization of the well. Two major downhole drilling tools that form the core of the drilling operations are drill bits and drilling motors. These two tools have been discussed below in detail.

Drill bits:

downhole drilling tools
Drill bits are the cutting tools attached to the lower end of the drill pipe and is used for creating a hole. This downhole drilling equipment is designed to spin in the clockwise direction and has an almost circular cross-section. Drill bits have many variants (shapes and sizes) depending upon its usage.  

Different types of drill bits:

Twist drill: This category is the most used in everyday drilling. These are available in fractional inch, wire sizes, letter sizes, and metric decimal millimetre.

Counterbore: Counterbore is used to get a flat bottom blind hole with a smaller diameter centre hole. It can be of carbon steel, high-speed steel or carbide tipped.

 Countersink: Countersink is used to achieve a tapered surface hole with a smaller centre hole. It is available in materials like Carbon Steel, High-Speed Steel, or Carbide Tipped.  

Flat bottom boring: This type is similar to the counterbores but without a centre drill. It is used for drilling large diameter thru-holes without the plugs.

Speciality bits: This category of drill bit has further different types including plug cutter, glass and tile drills, masonry drills, augers and annular cutters.

Market outlook of drill bit

The market for drill bits collapsed from over $5 billion in 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2016. This steep decline was followed by a substantial drop in the E&P activities during that period. In the year 2018, the market activity resumed and grew 27% supported by the increased drilling activity in North America. According to the report by Spears & Associates, the market will witness the growth of around 18% in the year 2019.

Recent advancements in drill bit technology

A drill bit is essential downhole drilling tool and its advancement is a milestone for the industry. Development of drill bit technology is progressing on all the fronts of the industry. The big players of the industry are coming up with minute yet important changes like improvement in cutter wear and design enhancement and bringing and enhancing the overall efficiency of the operations.

Some of the major advancements that brought major changes in the drilling industry have been discussed below:

MegaForce PDC – Halliburton

MegaForce PDC has improved blade design and uses SelectCutter cutters for transition drilling.

It has been designed in such a manner that it can easily overcome strong transition forces using its enhanced blades. It has already been used in Permian Basin, Rocky Mountain and Granite Wash formations. The analysis of the model reveals that it removes more rock with less wear and posses 40% more abrasion resistance while drilling up to four times the footage of previous products.  

SpeedDrill bit – NOV

SpeedDrill bit of NOV has a dual-diameter body.

NOV has a wide variety of designs which target specific drilling challenges. Drill bits which have dual stage are SpeedDrill, the DuraDiamond Evolution, and the ReedHycalog Helios and Inferno PDC cutters. These downhole drilling tools have been enhanced and improved by NOV in every way possible.

Apart from these two advancements, there have been many new designs introduced to the industry by companies like Schlumberger and Varel International.

Downhole Motors
Downhole motors also known as drilling motors are the powerhouse of the drill bits. They are connected to the drill string to provide power to the bit while drilling. It is also known as the progressive cavity positive displacement pump (PCPD). The downhole motor uses drilling fluid to generate eccentric motion in its power section.

Different types of downhole motors

Positive Displacement Motors (PDMs): PDM has a rotor-stator combination that is called the power generation section of the motor. The movement of the rotor part of the PDM requires hydraulic power which is supplied through the flow of drilling fluids. Its rotor-stator combination controls the torque/bit speed.

Turbine Drilling Motors: This kind of downhole motor uses the energy of a continuous flow of steam which passes through them. Its blades are positioned in reverse. These motors spin at a very high speed and so, diamond impregnated bits are used in it.   

Major Downhole tools manufacturers


Schlumberger is one of the leading downhole tools manufacturers spread in more than 85 countries. Downhole drilling tools, completion tools and fishing tools are some of the major products of this service provider. The technologies provided by Schlumberger comprise the entire lifecycle of the reservoir and puts the company in the list of major service providers of the industry.

Bilco Tools

Bilco Tools Inc was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Houma, Louisiana. It provides innovative technological solutions to the industry in order to enhance overall efficiency. Its downhole drilling tools help in improving efficiency, reducing cost, and improving reliability and results.

Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes is the world’s first full stream company and is leading the oil and gas company towards technological transformation. The downhole tools, especially downhole drilling tools are highly reliable and popular in the industry. Downhole products from the categories like logging while drilling, drill bits, and centralizers etc are of high quality and ensure proper safety. Moreover, the products can be customized according to the customer’s needs.


NOV and its consortium are spread across every region of the world, in every area of drilling and production. The downhole tools manufactured by the company are a major hut in the industry. Downhole drilling tools, coiled tubing tools, Bowen international tools, and motor technologies are some of the most sought after products of the company.

United Drilling Tools

United Drilling Tools is a manufacturer of a wide range of downhole drilling tools, rotary reamers, and other downhole tools. All its equipment are manufactured according to API specifications and conforms to ISO 9001 systems and procedures. It’s manufacturing facilities use advanced technologies and machines in order to provide the best products to the industry.

Drilling industry digging a better future

The downhole tools are a vast catalogue of products that are used throughout the lifecycle of the well. With the increase in drilling activities across the globe, the market of almost all the downhole tool products is witnessing a substantial growth each year. Recently, a report revealed that the downhole fishing tools market is expected to generate a revenue of around USD 4 billion by 2019. With growth encircling almost every downhole drilling tools’ market, the drilling industry is set to witness a significant rise.   


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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