Rubber drill bit targets oil industry

Paul Boughton

A student at has designed the world’s first rubber drill bit and is hoping that his product will be a big hit with the oil industry.

Allan Fraser, who will graduate from The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, with a BSc (Hons) Design for Industry in July, believes his product provides a new approach for drilling oil wells or any other holes in the ground and has patent pending on his design.

Unlike traditional drilling bits, which remove material mechanically by gouging or scraping, the Rubber Bit uses hydraulic jetting power which fires high-pressure jets of drilling fluid to break up the material being drilled.

Jetting is not new but has been almost forgotten as a drilling technique. It remains a cheap and fast way of drilling in certain types of formation.

However, what is novel about the RUBBER BITä is that the soft elastomeric exterior cannot damage steel casing, cable bundles or most non earth materials. This allows drilling to proceed in close proximity to such equipment, safe in the knowledge that these cannot be damaged by the drilling process.

New material science has made this product a reality by bonding an elastomer to a steel bodied bit shank with a bond strength sufficient to handle the drilling stress encountered down hole.

Allan who is developing his product with Norwell Concepts said: “The bit was initially intended for use as an anti-collision tool for surface drilling through existing conductor congestion on multi-well offshore platforms. However, discussions with major oil companies suggested that the scope for an elastomeric jetting bit extended beyond this single application. Suggestions for pre-spud applications, deep-water drilling and even non-oil related jobs offer great potential for this product”.

Since this is the world’s first rubber drill bit and the intellectual property is secure it is proposed that this concept will be licensed regionally for different oil sectors.

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