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Oilfield service companies have implied an order-of-magnitude improvement in drilling days with the use of Rotary Steerable Systems (RSS) in directional-hole sections. In a recent publication, Spears and Associates estimated that "the typical Gulf of Mexico well saw drilling days fall by 50% due to Rotary Steerable Technology (RST)," but qualified the statement by stating that the data to support it may not be available for several years.1
Many complex factors contribute to a successful hole section, making it difficult to quantify RSS benefits. The overall impact that RSS has on the industry is even more involved. Service companies are forced to compare their results to mud-motor-derived drilling estimates, benchmarking their performance to wells drilled years earlier and under different environments. Often the mud-motor estimates for a section are either dramatically higher or lower than what would have occurred, giving a false impression of RSS performance.
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