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To reduce drilling time and costs on Barnett Shale wells, Hallwood Energy used air hammers with diamond insert bits. For vertical wells, time from spud to total depth dropped from 12 – 14 days to 6 – 8 days, representing about $72,000 per well savings. In horizontal wells, time from spud to kick-off point has dropped from 10 – 12 days to 5 – 6 days. Costs associated with the air-hammer/ diamond-insert bit drilling approach (air compressor, fuel, hammer, hammer bit, supervision) are offset by saving on mud and fewer roller cone bits, stabilization, and/or mud-motor costs. In 6 of 12 wells drilled through June 2004, half were drilled with a single bit/trip. The drilling team expects that its goal of drilling 80%, or 8 of 10 wells, with a single trip, can be reached during 2004.
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