Australian firm develops carbon fiber rod for oil drilling

Teakle Composites, based in Queensland, Australia, has developed a carbon fiber drill rod that could prove stronger, lighter safer and smarter than the traditional steel product.

The Australian Journal of Mining (AJM) reported on March 22 that the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre’s (DET CRC) drilling research and training says it has successfully drilled in mineral exploration using a carbon fiber drill rod. Trials took place at the DET CRC’s facility at Brukunga, South Australia.

According to the report, the DET CRC’s chief executive, professor Richard Hillis, says the carbon fibee drill rod produced by Queensland-based Teakle Composites is poised to substantiall change the drilling industry. Hillis said the drill rod will provide a stronger, lighter, safer and smarter drilling rod than the traditional steel product.

“Teakle’s prototype drill rod is more than 50 percent lighter than a steel rod and there is the potential to embed a sensor within the wall of the rod. “This will enable drillers to collect information about the type and value of material they are drilling through, the precise direction they are drilling and also about potential drilling hazards.

Drill rod prototypes are made from carbon or glass fibers composites, with steel ends. They weigh 7kg, compared to an all-steel version that weighs 17kg. The DET CRC has commenced testing of the prototype drill rod on the Boart Longyear SC9 drill rig.

Teakle's chief executive, Phil Teakle, said “In our first test we drilled almost 100m through hard rock. We know we are on the right track. The next step is to demonstrate we can meet our strength targets in the laboratory then undertake further testing on a drill rig. The latter will reveal any problems not identified in the laboratory. These could include abrasion and vibration.

“Later tests will include embedded sensors for measuring torque, thrust and temperatures. The product can be adapted to include embedded antennae and to house various probes that can be inserted down the inside of the hollow drill string from the surface.”

According to the report, Hillis says the first composite rods are on track to be commercialised within three years.

Click here for original report in AJM.