SPE Distinguished Lecturer – Samuel Robello: “Steering Conventional & Unconventional Wells”




Reservoirs today are increasingly characterized by difficult, complex wells that call for more cost effective and efficient steering system. Operators want for cutting-edge solutions that increase drilling efficiency and directional control. One of the downhole tools that revolutionized directional/horizontal drilling is the positive displacement motor (PDM). The first idea of this concept dates back to Rene Moineau,a French inventor,who in 1930s designed the “capsulism” commonly called Moineau power section.

This presentation will address questions related to this tool including, “What is the fundamental operating principle of this “capsulism” that made it a racehorse in the industry? What factors contributed to its wider use around the world? How this power section became a cascading innovation for other downhole tools such as agitator and rotary-steerable system? Although several challenges are inherently present in this tool, the presentation will particularly encompass the primary areas where advancements have been made with underpinning operating challenges. Although motor technology development has positively responded to the needs of complex well steering, the talk covers its future advancement areas such as making it smart with embedded sensors. This physics based and engineering-guided presentation will be informative and will appeal to a wide audience; the takeaways are the challenge areas in using these mud motors for the past 92 years and how the industry is responding to the needs for the steering system.


Samuel Robello has 36 years of experience in domestic and international oil and gas drilling operations. He is presently a research and engineering lead for well engineering and broader area of cyber-physical system and artificial engineering intelligence.  Robello has published more than 200 technical papers, 14 books and holds 64 US patents. He has a BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering, an MS degree and a PhD degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa. He is regarded as one of the world’s most influential contributors to advancement of research and practice in drilling engineering. He is presently Chief Technology Advisor and Technology Fellow in Halliburton.


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