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Drilling with casing is not a new concept; it has been used in the mining and water-well industries  for many years. However, modifying the tools and materials for oilfield use and extending drilling depth beyond a few thousand feet is new.
This new approach, called Casing Drilling TM , was developed  and field tested  and culminated in a successful demonstration to ≈ 9,500 ft early in 2002 in South Texas by Tesco Corp. and its partner, Conoco. The demonstration was the result of > 5 years of development that included development of tools for directional drilling. The demonstration resulted in an actual overall drilling time reduction of 17.5% and a potential for as much as a 33% reduction. In October 2002, Tesco won World Oil’ s prestigious Next Generation Idea Award, which recognized the technology as a step change in drilling. Fig. 1 is the comparison diagram from Tesco's website used to denote areas in which Casing Drilling has proved superior to conventional drilling. Those areas are:
- Swelling formations
- Sloughing formations
- Hole in casing or key seats
- Running logs and casing
One area not mentioned in the diagram is lost circulation. In the South Texas field demonstration, conventional drilling in the area was characterized by lost circulation and stuck pipe. In fact, the offset conventional well used for comparison experienced a total of 53 hours of lost circulation and stuck pipe, whereas the casing drilling test had only 1 hour. Typically, stuck pipe and lost circulation accounted for 75% of the trouble time for conventionally drilled wells in the test area. The reason for fewer lost-circulation difficulties associated with casing drilling is not clear at this time; however, studies are currently underway to better our understanding of the phenomenon.
- Driscoll, F.G. 1986. Groundwater and Wells, second edition, 301-307. St. Paul, Minnesota: Johnson Filtration Systems Inc.
- Warren, T.M., Angman, P., and Houtchens, B. 2000. Casing Drilling Application Design Considerations. Presented at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, 23-25 February. SPE-59179-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/59179-MS.
- Shepard, S.F., Reiley, R.H., and Warren, T.M. 2002. Casing Drilling successfully applied in Southern Wyoming. World Oil 223 (6): 33-41.
- Warren, T., Houtchens, B., and Portas, W. 2001. Casing Drilling with Directional Steering in the US Gulf of Mexico. Offshore Magazine 61 (2): 50-53, 40-42.
- Fontenot, K., Highnote, J., Warren, T. et al. 2003. Casing Drilling Activity Expands in South Texas. Presented at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 19-21 February. SPE-79862-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/79862-MS.
Noteworthy papers in OnePetro
Jude, C. et al. 2012. Casing Drilling Technology Application: Case Histories from Saudi Arabia. Presented at the SPE Saudi Arabia Section Technical Symposium and Exhibition, 8-11 April. 160857-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/160857-MS.
Aris, B. 2008. Casing Drilling Technology as the Alternative of Drilling Efficiency. Presented at the IADC/SPE Asia Pacific Drilling Technology Conference and Exhibition, 25-27 August. 115283-MS. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/115283-MS.