By Nick Gilbert
Alcoa, a manufacturer of primary aluminum, fabricated alumina and aluminum, and alumina, has declared that Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) awarded a contract to Alcoa Oil & Gas to make aluminum alloy drill pipe of 3,500 ft long. This pipe will be used in gas drilling at the Marcellus Shale formation located in Central Pennsylvania.
The company’s 4.5” drill pipe will expand towards the carrier-mounted drill rig, which was utilized to drill natural gas wells to about 7,500 ft of total depth in the Marcellus Shale formation. The depth of this drill pipe is 1,000 ft, when compared to traditional steel drill pipe that can penetrate without employing costly or larger drill rigs.
This new drill pipe is a high-strength, tapered, aluminum alloy tube combined with the company’s own thermal connection technology, which enables steel tool joints to adhere to the body of aluminum pipe. This feature specifically optimizes the strength-to-weight ratio of the drill pipe and allows the pipe to be potentially utilized with steel pipe. Aluminum construction and design of the drill pipe make it lighter by 50% when compared to steel pipe, and maintains the steel’s strength and durability. With the help of the Alcoa pipe, the operating efficiency of the drill rig will be considerably increased and at the same time will promote deeper drilling.
According to PGE’s Drilling Engineer, Justin L. Hansen, the pipe’s high strength-to-weight ratio will facilitate PGE to drill further with less energy-intensive drill rigs and maintain drilling with reduced footprint.
PGE has more than three decades of experience in developing oil and natural gas in the Appalachian Basin and was considered to be one of the first firms to mine the Marcellus formation.