Authors: Mokaramian, A; Rasouli, V; Cavanough, G

Paper is not available for download
Contact Us


Cite As:
Mokaramian, A, Rasouli, V & Cavanough, G 2012, 'Adapting oil and gas downhole motors for deep mineral exploration drilling', in Y Potvin (ed.), Deep Mining 2012: Proceedings of the Sixth International Seminar on Deep and High Stress Mining, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 475-486,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

Drilling deep boreholes for exploration of some mineral deposits are becoming more popular in many areas. This is while drilling very deep wells is very common in oil and gas industry with the objective of production from hydrocarbon reservoirs. Therefore, it is a sensible practice to initiate the idea of transferring the technologies currently in use in oil and gas industry to the mining operations. In particular, in deep drilling delivering the required power directly to the bit and independent of rotating the drillstring has attracted huge attentions for several technical and economic reasons. This is done using downhole motors which are mounted right before the drill bit. The initial design and usage of downhole motors for applications in oil and gas industry goes back to 1924. Since then extensive advancements have been made in the design of downhole motors which has resulted to some new generations of high speed mud motors resulting in a power output of around 735 KW. These motors can function in temperatures of higher than 160°C and have survived numerous runs consisting of hundreds of hours of on-bottom drilling time without failure. Further developments in the design of new motors which serve particular operating conditions are in progress. Considering that mining drilling is a different environment than that of drilling for oil and gas purposes, adapting downhole motors developed for the latter applications require different modifications to serve the requirements for deep mining drilling. In this paper, a review of downhole motors which are used in both petroleum and mining industries is presented. Technical design parameters for different type of downhole motors is listed and discussed in detail. This will enable us to identify the areas where modifications are required for the downhole motors to serve the functions expected for deep mineral exploration drilling. Drilling fluid specifications and environmental impact are some of the parameters to be compared between a typical mining and oil and gas drilling. This study which is part of the deep exploration technologies cooperative research centre (DET CRC) program concluded possible adaption of downhole motors for mineral exploration drilling and provides the range of modifications required for this purpose to the current downhole motors used in the oil and gas industry.

Albright, J., Dreesen, D. and Anderson, D. (2003) Road Map For A 5000-Ft Microborehole, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
APS (APS Technology Inc.) (2008) Novel High-Speed Drilling Motor for Oil Exploration & Production, Final Report, National Energy Technology Laboratory, US Department of Energy.
Atlas-Copco (2010) Exploration Drilling, First Edition, Sweden.
Beaton, T. and Seale, R. (2004) The Use of Turbodrills in Coiled Tubing Applications, paper presented to SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing Conference (SPE 89434), Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Blount, C.G., Hearn, D.D., Payne, M.L. and Sathuvalli, U.B. (1998) Weight on Bit in Coiled Tubing Drilling: Collection and Analysis of Field Data, paper presented to SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing Roundtable, (SPE 46008), Houston, Texas.
Calnan, D., Seale, R. and Beaton, T. (2007) Identifying Applications for Turbodrilling and Evaluating Historical Performances in North America, Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, Vol. 46 (6).
Cavo (Cavo Drilling Motors) (2005) Motor Operations Manual, Fourth Edition, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Eskin, M. and Maurer, W.C. (1997) Advanced Downhole Drilling Motors, Maurer Engineering Inc.
Fletcher, T. (1992) Drilling Exploration Boreholes beyond 4000m in South Africa, Mine Water and The Environment, Vol. 11 (No. 4).
Fuchs, K., Kozlovsky, E.A., Krivtsov, A.I. and Zoback, M.D. (1990) Super-Deep Continental Drilling and Deep Geophysical Sounding, Springer Verlag.
IT (Impact Technologies LLC) (2007) Advanced Ultra-High Speed Motor for Drilling, Final Report, US Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Lyons, W.C. and Plisga, G.J. (2005) Standard Handbook of Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering, 2nd ed, Elsevier Inc., United States of America.
MMG (Mineral and Metals Group) (2010) Media release, .
NETL (National Energy Technology Laboratory) (2005) Coiled Tubing: State of the Industry and Role for NETL, U.S. Deparment of Energy.
Radtke, R., Glowka, D., Rai, M.M., Beaton, T. and Seale, R. (2011) High-Power Turbodrill And Drill Bit For Drilling With Coiled Tubing, Technology International, Inc., US Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
Regener, T., Reich, M., Duerholt, R. and Wagner, B. (2005) Latest Positive Displacement Motor and Drill Bit Developments for Drilling Hard and Abrasive Formations, paper presented to SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, (SPE/IADC 92542), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Reich, M., Picksak, A., John, W. and Regener, T. (2000) Competitive Performance Drilling with High-Speed Downhole Motors in Hard and Abrasive Formations, paper presented to IADC/SPE Drilling Conference, (IADC/SPE 59215), New Orleans, Louisiana.
RIO (RIO Technical Services) (2004) Current Capabilities of Hydraulic Motors, Air/Nitrogen Motors, and Electric Downhole Motors, Final Report, US Department of Energy.
Sanchez, A., Samuel, G.R. and Johnson, P. (1996) An Approach for the Selection and Design of Slim Downhole Motors for Coiled Tubing Drilling, paper presented to SPE Horizontal Drilling Conference (SPE 37054), Calgary, Canada.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to