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From Rocket Engines to Energy Exploration:
International Firm Uses UC Technology to Help Operators Drill for Oil

Date: Sept. 26, 2000
By: Chris Curran
Phone: (513) 556-1806
Photos by: Dottie Stover
Archive: Research News

The world's leading diversified energy services company, Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL), through the Security DBS Product Service Line of its Halliburton Energy Service, Inc. subsidiary, is investing $182,000 over a two-year period for research being conducted by the University of Cincinnati's (UC) aerospace engineering research labs.

image of new lab

The funds will help support the research of Ephraim Gutmark, an aerospace engineering professor at UC and an expert in the field of jet nozzles. The monies will be used to construct special equipment that studies hydraulic flow through and around drill bits, specifically flow visualization and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. As a result of this joint development project, Halliburton hopes the new knowledge will enable the energy industry to save millions while drilling for oil and gas.

The Security DBS/Gutmark relationship has a long history, dating back to patents earned by Gutmark, an Ohio Eminent Scholar, while he was conducting research on ramjets for the United States Navy, and later as a professor at Louisiana State University.

Technology that Gutmark developed for powerful rocket engines could also be adapted to the hydraulics principles that apply to drilling for oil and gas - better protecting expensive drill bits that historically wear down under the tremendous strain and increased drilling speeds.

"Drilling faster is very important to the oil industry," explained Gutmark. "Millions of dollars can be saved, because every day in drilling is very expensive. In some rock formations, it can be substantial."

"Halliburton's joint development project with the University of Cincinnati's aerospace engineering researchers will add important knowledge of the hydraulics that occur within a wellbore. Improving bit efficiency cannot only improve the speed at which operators drill, it can also open up new areas for exploration. Such knowledge will be useful throughout the energy industry," added Jody Powers, president, Halliburton Energy Services.

Halliburton Energy Services' Technology Application Manager Jim Dahlem and Technical Professional Tuck-Leong Ho recently visited UC to review plans for a new testing facility in Room 300 Rhodes Hall. During the visit, Halliburton provided Gutmark with one of its special X Series drill bits to use in the testing facility.

image of researchers

At UC, the Security DBS drill bit will help Gutmark refine the hydraulics technology to make it even more effective. "We'll build a full-scale simulation rig," said Gutmark. "It will be the only facility of its kind in the country." The new lab is expected to be in operation by the end of the year.

When discussing the benefits that can be achieved through Halliburton's investment, Dahlem said, "Experimenting at a well site can be extremely costly. The University of Cincinnati's test facility will save both time and money by duplicating many of the conditions and problems experienced deep inside a bore hole - from high pressures to cleaning and removing debris produced during a drilling operation - and solving those issues before we get to the site."

Security DBS is the producer of the oilfield's leading line of fixed cutter diamond bits, roller cone bits and innovative down hole tools and coring services. Founded in 1919, Halliburton Company is the world's leading diversified energy services, engineering, energy equipment, construction and maintenance company. In 1999, Halliburton's consolidated revenues were $14.9 billion and it conducted business with a workforce of approximately 100,000 in more than 120 countries. The company's World Wide Web site can be accessed at

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