Going the Distance

Arconic  aluminum drill pipe helps energy companies extend their reach

“Light alloy pipe was listed as a performance opportunity to help us tackle some of the challenges we face with reduced cantilever loading, high torque, high drag, high sideforce, and casing wear concerns. Without a light alloy alternative, the furthest reaches of the platform would require a modification to well design.”

Shayne DustinSenior Well Engineer, Brunei Shell Petroleum


Off the shore of Seria, Brunei, 4.6 miles beneath the ocean floor, lies the Iron Duke Well C and access to valuable oil and gas reserves. 

But the Iron Duke is as tough to tap as his name implies. The well is considered among the most complex and deviated in the Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) system, with three "S" curves and a long horizontal section of approximately 5,000 meters, or about 3 miles long. 

BSP first tried steel drill pipe, but it failed due to excessive torque and too much drag. 

So Brunei Shell approached Arconic. We partnered with them to develop an aluminum alloy drill pipe solution that is 40 percent lighter than steel pipe. Lightweighting the pipe reduced the drilling torque, drag, and tension enough to successfully reach the Iron Duke’s reserves.

We helped BSP tap an oil well in one of the world’s most demanding deepwater environments.  Where will we go next? When it comes to oil and gas exploration, our innovative, multi-material solutions mean the sky’s the limit—but the ocean depths are not.