WWJ Closeup, February 2023

Published On: January 23, 2023By Categories: Business Management, Drilling, Geothermal Technology, WWJ Closeup

MATTHEW BROWN, CWD, CVCLD
Co-Owner and Secretary/Treasurer
Yadkin Well Co. Inc.
Hamptonville, North Carolina

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED?
There’s so much here to say, but here’s my top answers: Don’t take your work home with you, and always try to make a new friend each day.

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR DRILL BITS LAST AS LONG AS POSSIBLE?
Bit life really comes down to three things. RPM, down pressure, and proper sharpening. Running proper RPM and maintaining adequate down pressure will extend the life both in gauge and button wear. We generally sharpen after every well and trip the bit after 800 to 1000 feet of drilling as necessary.

MOST OVERLOOKED ASPECT OF GEOTHERMAL DRILLING?
Grout. Proper type and density along with the proper method of emplacement are the key to the loops’ efficiency. We prefer silica sand and bentonite grouts for loops. Not using a tremie pipe or using well casing grout in lieu of thermal enhanced grouts hurt the loop performance.

WHICH DRILLING TECHNIQUES DO YOU USE MOST OFTEN?
In our area we operate rotary GEFCO rigs, and our work is 95% down-the-hole hammers. Occasionally, we will run mud rotary to set casing in river bottoms and mountain valleys. Big air and fast hammers though are our favorite method.

NO. 1 DRILLING TIP YOU’VE LEARNED OVER THE YEARS?
Now to counter the last statement, I’ll reference an old child fable about the tortoise and the hare. When in tight spots, sticky or caving clays, or loose sandy soils, big air and speed are better left calm. Taking your time, cooling the throttle, and cutting cfm (cubic feet per minute) are the tortoise’s route to victory.

WHAT ARE YOU EYEING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IN 2023?
Polymers. They are incredible tools in our toolbox. One often wonders how we drilled without them. I’m game to experiment with them to see which product best suits our areas and formations. We love them!

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