• uLtimate™ Connection Series


    Introducing uGPDS and uXT

    The next step in shale drilling a whole new way to play

    • Increased torque capacity
    • Extended fatigue life
    • Interchangeability

    Grant Prideco™ Research and Development group has developed a new series of rotary-shouldered connections, the uLtimate™ Series.The uGPDS and uXT connections will provide increased torque capacity, extended fatigue life, and interchangeability with our existing GPDS™ and eXtreme™ Torque (XT™) Connections.

    The uGPDS connection will provide more operational torque capacity than competing double-shouldered API-interchangeable connections.The uXT connections will enable world class extended reach well to now step-out to even farther distances.  uXT is also well suited for rigorous applications like the current shale plays that require both high torque and high resistance to back-off.Both connections are fully interchangeable with existing GPDS and XT designs so current inventories of accessories and tools can still be used.

    Utilizing the technology that was learned with the development of the TurboTorque™ connection, the uLtimate Series incorporates higher strength (130,000 psi SMYS) tool joints, a fatigue resistant thread form, and cold-rolled thread roots.  The higher operational torque capacity  is achieve by a combination of the high-strength material and by making-up the connection to a higher stress level.  Normally, these changes alone would reduce the fatigue life of the connection.  However, the fatigue resistance thread form and the cold rolled thread roots, not only prevent a reduction in fatigue life, but increase fatigue life above that of the standard GPDS and XT connections.



    Design to meet Shale Play Growth

    In the United States, shale formations have been an increasingly important source of natural gas for the last decade.Now the potential of shale gas and oil has gained interest in Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world.  Shale plays have become commercially viable due to the several enabling technologies such as horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing.  The Grant Prideco eXtreme Torque (XT) proprietary double-shouldered rotary connection has been one of the key technologies that has resulted in the success of shale drilling programs by providing the increased drilling torque and hydraulic performance necessary to drill these extended horizontal hole sections.  As horizontal hole sections have increased in length, so has the demand for a drill string with higher torsional capacity.  The new uXT proprietary double-shouldered rotary connections provide over 25% more torsional capacity with no decrease in fatigue life while maintaining interchangeability with the existing XT connections.

    Innovative World Class Extended Reach Wells

    The Grant Prideco eXtreme Torque (XT) connection has enabled operators to expand the industry's drilling envelop by successfully drilling world class ultra-extended reach wells, including several world records.To reach new targets, operators are now demanding more torque.  Validated with physical testing, uXT57 provides 51% more torque than XT57.


    Extended Life

    Extending the life of drill pipe was another factor that was examined during the development of the uLtimate™ Series rotary-shouldered connection. For the uDS™ design, the SST® and SRT® fatigue-resistant thread forms were employed. The uXT™ design incorporates an XT-F™ fatigue-resistant thread form.  Both of the uLtimate connections feature cold-rolled threads.


    Xmark Benchmark

    Another feature incorporated into the connections is the proprietary refacing benchmark Xmark™. It places a refacing benchmark on the external bevel of the connection. Xmark's user-friendly design eliminated both the measurement and the math. Additional advantages to this design include:

    • No measurements have to be made. It is a visual indicator.
    • The connection does not have to be cleaned or even have thread protectors removed to make this determination.
    • It serves as an excellent indicator, upon completion, to determine if refaced shoulder is perpendicular to thread axis.


    Connection Identification Groove

    As shown in this figure, both uXT and uDS connections have a unique identification groove. The groove visually identifies the connection as an uSeries™ connection without any gages or the removal of thread protectors. This allows the user to quickly identify an uSeries vs a standard connection. The groove should not affect the performance of the connection (pending analysis), does not interfere with existing customer markings, does not require additional tong space and does not interfere with makeup or breakout operations. The application of this groove can be done with any licensee shop without special tooling or machines. The location of the groove will not interfere with any recuts as it is positioned so that a recut will eliminate the groove completely and then reapplied as part of the threading operation. This reapplication allows the groove to be visible down to minimum OD.


    Increased Torque Capacity

    Grant Prideco® uLtimate™ Series rotary-shouldered connections were designed specifically to provide an increase in torque capacity.

    uSeries Torque Capacity

    Validation Testing

    Performance of the new uDS and uXT connections was validated by conducting fatigue tests at the new Grant Prideco Engineering Technology Center.  A harmonic fatigue test machine was used to compare the relative fatigue resistance for the new uSeries™ connections . Standard XT and GPDS connections were used as a baseline for comparison. The new connection performance was approximately twice that of the standard connections.

    uSeries Fatigue Performance

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