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  • Drilling developments


    Robert E. Snyder, Executive Eng. Editor

    Carbon fiber drill pipe field tested. A new type of lightweight drill pipe, made of space-age carbon fiber composites rather than traditional steel, is a step closer to becoming a major government-industry R&D success story. The US Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) recently announced that the composite drill pipe has been successfully tested in a horizontal gas well in Oklahoma. The pipe, developed by Advanced Composite Products and Technology of Huntington Beach, California, proved it could withstand commercial drilling operation stresses. The flexible pipe is manufactured by winding graphite fibers and epoxy resin around a spindle. The composite tube is cured, and the supporting spindle is removed. The pipe is machined, and then coated to resist abrasion. Developed under a $2.82 million, five-year contract with the Energy Department's Office of Fossil Energy, the drill pipe could be the next major technical achievement emerging from the joint government-industry natural gas research program.

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