Application of MEMS Technology in Directional Drilling

As the oil and gas industry recovers from a prolonged downturn, there is a strong need for operators to increase downhole intelligence, improve technical reliability, speed up drilling and reduce the cost of connecting downhole operations to each other, according to McCombs.These factors together initiate a new era of directional drilling sensor technology based on MEMS.

In the history of oil and gas drilling, the basic principles and methods involved in drilling sensor technology have changed only twice.The invention of borehole sensors first appeared in the 1920s.Before that, the industry was largely blind to drilling.Drilling instruments were developed using simple techniques, such as acid in a bottle to corrode the glass out of the meniscus, or other simple mechanical means to measure deviation in the well.

In the 1970s, with the invention of magnetic guidance tools, a major revolution swept the industry, based on principles that most modern directional drilling tools still adhere to.However, we are now witnessing the dawn of a new era in which directional drilling sensors based on MEMS technology are being accepted as reliable alternatives to drilling.


With MEMS technology, man creates tiny mechanical devices according to his most vivid imagination.Imagine gears, transmissions, clutches, actuators, and even miniature turbine engines as big as fingernails.But how do humans do it at the micro level? Even the modern precision computer controlled machine cannot meet the micro – scale of MEMS devices.

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