Articles | Volume 10
01 Sep 2010
 | 01 Sep 2010

Design, Manufacture, and Operation of a Core Barrel for the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP)

A. C. Skinner, P. Bowers, S. Þórhallsson, G. Ómar Friðleifsson, and H. Guðmundsson

Abstract. The science program of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) requires as much core as possible in the transition zone to supercritical and inside the supercritical zone (>374°C), in the depth interval 2400–4500 m. The spot coring system selected has a 7 1/4" (184.15 mm) OD at 10 m length and collects a 4" (101.6 mm) diameter core using an 8 1/2" (215.9 mm) OD core bit. It incorporates design characteristics, materials, clearances and bearings compatible with operation of the core barrel at temperatures as high as 600°C. Special attention was given to the volume of flushing which could be applied to the core barrel and through the bit while running in and out of the borehole and while coring. In November 2008 a successful spot coring test using the new core barrel was performed at 2800 m depth in the production well RN-17 B at Reykjanes, Iceland, where the formation temperature is 322°C. A 9.3-m hydrothermally altered hyaloclastite breccia was cored with 100% core recovery, in spite of it being highly fractured. A core tube data logger was also designed and placed inside the inner barrel to monitor the effectiveness of cooling. The temperature could be maintained at 100°C while coring, but it reached 170°C for a very short period while tripping in. The effective cooling is attributed to the high flush design and a top drive being employed, which allows circulation while tripping in or out, except for the very short time when a new drill pipe connection is being made.