Hey buddy, can you spare a few (million) dimes? The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is looking for someone in the oil and gas drilling industry to help get a now four year-old project off the ground. The NETL unveiled, to great fanfare, the Extreme Drilling Laboratory (XDL) in January 2009 in Morgantown, WV. It’s centerpiece of technology is the Ultra-Deep Single-Cutter Drilling Simulator (UDS), which they call their “rock star.” The UDS is an impressive device that can simulate drilling at 30,000 pounds of force per square inch and temperatures exceeding 480 °F – conditions that would be found at the bottom of very deep oil and gas wells.
Just one tiny problem: Industry isn’t using this marvelous technology to figure out better ways to drill. How come?