Bit technology keeps pace with operator activity ///

During the past year, the drilling of oil and gas wells worldwide has mirrored the skyrocketing, overall increase in crude prices. And, as one might expect, all the manufacturers of roller cone and fixed cutter bits have experienced strong demand for their wares. Yet, while the volume of orders for both roller cone and fixed cutter bits has increased, an underlying shift in operator preference from roller cone to fixed cutter bits that began years ago continues. In 2003, PDC bits drilled 50% of total footage, as compared to 26% in 2000. Now, three years later, PDC bits drill 60% of total footage. The increase in PDC bit preference can be attributed to continuing performance improvements, but sheer volume is credited for keeping the roller cone bit market steady. Also, roller cone bits have traditionally been less costly, and they are better at drilling certain formations.

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