Always Well-Coiled For Action
Coiled Tubing Drilling specialist AnTech has achieved many world firsts in its pursuit of delivering improved oil and gas extraction for its clients. Now with a 2021 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for International Trade accolade honouring its exports record, the company continues to push the boundaries of technical innovation within the CTD sector. Profile by Andy Probert, Inside Oil & Gas.
The root of the inexorable rise of AnTech to global prominence can be traced back to a pivotal low point early on in its near-30 year history. The 1998-99 industry downturn came just six years after AnTech was founded, hitting the company hard.
Its founding partners, engineering specialists with a background working for one of the major service companies, reflected hard on the outlook of the company and came to a monumental decision that still resonates today. They made a strategic shift away from subcontract manufacturing services in order to focus on AnTech’s core strength: oilfield innovation.
“They wanted to make products that were compelling in terms of function, quality, specification and delivery. Today’s product lines of wellhead outlets, coiled tubing tools and our coiled tubing drilling service are all a result of that change of focus,” commented Head of Global Sales and Marketing, Clare Miszewska-Hall.
Innovation, a key strength
Branching out into Coiled Tubed Drilling (CTD) services was a significant step change which required AnTech to devise an entirely new design concept, the drill-by-wire Bottom Hole Assembly (BHA). Fast forward to the present day, and it is now the most technologically advanced BHA in the industry.
Alongside this innovation came the development of a patented downhole gyro technology, which has secured two world firsts during field trials and forms the basis of an HDD gyro-navigation system for trenchless drilling.
Having technically demonstrated the effectiveness of these innovations by successfully drilling seven wells, the technology attracted the attention of Saudi Aramco. By 2013, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and Calculus Capital had both invested in the company and AnTech was able to launch its services division.
The Exeter-based company now operates across two divisions. Its products division is the leading supplier in each sector it serves, including wellhead outlets for permanent monitoring, e-coil logging heads, and riser detectors. Alongside this, AnTech’s directional coiled tubing drilling services division, launched in 2008, makes AnTech the only company in the world whose services are 100% dedicated to CTD.
Between 2008 and 2017, AnTech drilled 45% of all non-long-term contract wells drilled using CTD and is regularly consulted by global operators looking at CTD as a means of revitalising old and under-producing wells.
AnTech’s patented continuous rotating orienter (CRO) within its drilling BHA enables AnTech to drill a perfectly straight hole. “No one else in the world can do this,” emphasised Mrs Miszewska-Hall.
By drawing upon its innovation prowess, AnTech, which employs 50 people in the UK and the US, has developed multiple patented technologies, and continues to generate new products and services to meet industry needs.
The company has combined its expertise in mechanical and electronic design with software and firmware and, as a result, AnTech has a portfolio today bristling with high-quality, high-specification products.
Providing further proof of its innovative capabilities, AnTech have also launched their patented RockSense technology, which measures porosity at the drilling bit in real-time for geosteering.
“Our drilling technology has applications for carbon capture and storage, thanks to its ability to drill underbalanced and guarantee closed-loop drilling operations. Furthermore, we believe that we are well-positioned to enter the hydrogen economy as well, thanks to our products with hazardous area certifications.”
Global exports drive and accolades
Toni Miszewski, Managing Director and one of the two founding members, said: “We all share resources in engineering and design across the products and drilling services divisions, enabling synergy and expertise to run through both.
“Over 30 years of innovation, we have built a strong portfolio of products and services in-house, backed by a talented and dedicated team who care passionately about serving our customers.
“We are a truly global company, selling 90% of our products overseas and to every continent except Antarctica. On the drilling services side, we have completed projects on four continents for blue-chip clients, including work in Saudi Arabia and Alaska.”
In April 2021, AnTech’s long term dedication to overseas trade was recognised when the company was awarded The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for International Trade - one of the UK’s highest business accolades.
“It is a real honour to have secured such prestigious recognition,” beamed Mrs Miszewska-Hall. “This reflects our collective achievement as a team and our growing global presence, being at the forefront of innovation in oilfield technology.
“As a UK business operating in a highly specialised global industry, exporting is crucial to us. For both our products and drilling services, selling to different countries and regions helps improve and foster new product development offerings as emerging markets bring new technical or commercial challenges.”
AnTech has enjoyed consecutive and significant sales growth over the last three years and in 2020, the company was ranked among Britain’s 100 fastest-growing private companies in the 24th annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100. Five of its employees, Jennifer Bentley, Christopher Bowmer, Daniel Crow, Hai Dang and Pawel Wojcicki, were also named among Britain’s manufacturing heroes of 2020 in The Manufacturer Top 100.
Mrs Miszewska-Hall said: “All the awards are a testament to the efforts and commitment put in by the staff, and we are proud to be honoured regionally, nationally and globally.”
In the first quarter of 2021, AnTech registered one of its best performances ever within its products division, demonstrating its ongoing success within the sector.
Among its accolades, AnTech has achieved multiple world firsts using its proprietary drilling tools, including creating the first 5 inch OD POLARIS CTD BHA. With the same drilling BHA, AnTech successfully performed the first horizontal Gyro-While-Drilling operation and the first air drilling operation. These significant achievements demonstrated how robust the tool is, even in harsh environments with very high vibrations caused by air drilling.
“We also recently completed a drilling job in Louisiana with our POLARIS tool, hitting an instantaneous drilling speed of 2,400 feet per hour,” added Miszewska-Hall.
Using its COLT BHA during a project on the North Slope of Alaska, AnTech’s specialists achieved the first triple casing exit on Coiled Tubing (CT), completed the longest single liner run on CT, and achieved the longest lateral section drilled with CTD (2,894 feet in 24 hours).
Throughout the pandemic, manufacturing activities at AnTech continued as “we still had to get orders out the door while everyone else worked from home and adapted to remote working,” said Mrs Miszewska-Hall.
“We have not had a single incident or near miss as we put a lot of effort into our biosecurity, and nearly 90% of the workforce has been vaccinated.”
Aside from Covid-19, Mrs Miszewska-Hall explained that most of the other challenges faced revolve around the never-ending task of making extraction as efficient as possible, ensuring operators get more out of old fields without needing to develop new ones.
With its ability to keep the well contained at all times, DCTD is considered the safest and most efficient method for drilling underbalanced.
“On a global basis, operators are increasingly considering DCTD as the most reliable and economically viable technique for maximising the potential of mature and under-producing oilfields,” remarked Mrs Miszewska-Hall.
“Significant and ongoing advances in the development and execution of DCTD technology in the past recent years continue to form a solid foundation for future work.”
AnTech is currently developing a smaller drilling tool, a 2-3/8” OD drilling BHA system, focused around the Alaskan market.
AnTech has a very positive view on competition within the sector. As Mrs Miszewska-Hall explained, competition means more investment in the Coiled Tubing Drilling market, resulting in the technology being more widely adopted.
“It’s also great for customers, and pushes service providers like us to continue to develop new technology,” she added.
“AnTech has the most technically advanced CTD BHA in the market; we compete technologically to get noticed by customers. The current service providers have owned the CTD market for a long time. AnTech brings innovation to declining or brown fields that customers need.”
“We survive by being more innovative in how we make oil and gas extraction increasingly efficient for our customers.” The company also has the shortest Coiled Tubing Drilling BHA on the market, offering advantages for deployment, amongst several other significant benefits.
Mrs Miszewska-Hall said the company provides an ‘everything for’ service on both the products and drilling services divisions of the business in order to help the customer understand what is technically possible and required for their specific project.
“For our suppliers and customers, we believe in integrity, as well as being open, honest and transparent to ensure long-term business relations continue to flourish.”
She concluded: “Despite all the changes brought about by the energy transition, the fact is that we will need oil and gas for the foreseeable future.
“While new extraction may eventually stop, we see efficient extraction from existing fields continuing – and these are critical. Therefore, we believe AnTech has a bright future ahead.”
If you would like any further information or would like to know more about AnTech Ltd then please contact us.
+44 1392 933 100 | +1 800-868-1562