This technology can drill directionally at extremely high temperatures (300°C). The system uses a high-temperature lubricant in the drilling fluid, a full metal drill bit to break the formation, and a full metal drilling motor known in the drilling industry as a "metal-to-metal motor".
Last month, Baker Hughes successfully directionally drilled with this system in a deep geothermal well. The metal-to-metal motor operated for a continuous 270 hours.
According to the Department of Energy, because of its reliability in extreme subsurface conditions, the successful deployment of this drilling system could have far-reaching impacts. Not only does this technology advance the state of geothermal technologies and open more geothermal resource areas for development (including the immense enhanced geothermal systems resource), other subsurface sectors such as fossil and nuclear energy are ready to embrace this recent development. These sectors can leverage the work funded by the geothermal energy sector for their own gains.