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IntelliServ is a National Oilwell Varco brand that manufactures and sells a broadband networked drilling string system used to transmit downhole information to the surface in a drilling operation.

Product typeBroadband network drill string system


This series of photographs shows the coax cable and coil as the connection is made.

The IntelliServ network is a broadband telemetry system that allows instant transmission of data between the surface and the measurement tools positioned in the drill string bottomhole assembly near the drill bit.[1] The invention of IntelliServ technology began in 1997 with a project on hydraulic mud hammers sponsored by the company Novatek and the United States Department of Energy.[2] The project addressed the need for instant transmission of downhole data (data acquired within the wellhole) through drill pipe, leading to Novatek’s beginning on a networked drill pipe development project. In 2001, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) began providing funding for the drill pipe project and an additional drill pipe data transmission project.[3]

Five years of Department of Energy and NETL-funded research resulted in the IntelliServ network and Intellipipe, a drill pipe with an embedded data cable.[4] In 2006, Grant Prideco bought the IntelliServ technology[3] and launched the first IntelliServ network.[5] Grant Prideco was purchased by National Oilwell Varco (NOV) in 2008, and the NOV-IntelliServ joint venture was formed in 2009 with 55% National Oilwell Varco and 45% Schlumberger ownership.[3]

The first commercial deployment of a drill string telemetry network occurred using IntelliServ’s product in Myanmar in December 2006.[6]


The IntelliServ network components are embedded in drill string components, known as IntelliPipe, which transmit subsurface data at 57,000 bits per second.[2] The IntelliServ network upgrade can raise the speed to one million bits per second.[4] The two-way data communication between downhole Measurement while drilling (MWD) and Logging while drilling (LWD) measurement tools and the operators at the surface[7] allow the operators to command rotary-steering tools, or configure downhole tools such as the formation pressure testing tool or sonic tools.[8]

This image represents the driller’s view of downhole information provided by the IntelliServ Broadband Network. The top right section shows the real-time pressure change as a weighted fluid sweeps the annulus and quantifies hole cleaning efficiency. The bottom image helps detect cutting pack-off.

The IntelliServ network includes measurement nodes along the full length of the drill string that allow operators to acquire data along the wellbore.[2] The measurement nodes measure and transmit temperature and pressure data acquired along the drill string,[3] which can improve well site efficiency and reduce risks associated with hole cleaning, such as pack offs.[8][9] The transmission of information is not affected by the depth, formation resistivity, drilling fluid properties, or required flow of the well. Surface operating parameters can control items detected by the sensors, such as shock and vibration.

The networked drill pipe can transmit data acquired by most large service companies. As of March 2012, the system has been deployed on 90 wells totaling more than 1 million feet of drilling.[10]


The IntelliServ networked drillstrings have been used in well construction projects in five continents for the following:

  • Deepwater drilling: Operating in a narrow pore and fracture pressure window in deepwater drilling operations to determine the safe drilling margin, as well as for early kick detection and well control using downhole measurements independent from surface data.[9]
  • Extended Reach Drilling: Identification of wellbore instability and removal of cuttings, which is made possible by high-resolution downhole information and the annular pressure measurements along the deviated and horizontal wellbores.[11]
  • Managed Pressure Drilling: High-frequency downhole data allows for closed-loop control of surface equipment such as back pressure pumps and chokes to operate within the desired pressure envelope.[12]
  • Well Placement: Wellbores can be positioned and steered in thin formations that can be intersected with fractures to increase the reservoir contact and promote higher recovery and production rates.[13]
  • Minimizing Fluid Losses: Reduce fluid losses through the use of high concentrations of loss-circulating material without the risk for plugging downhole tools due to the absence of the mud pulser.[14]
  • Seismic while drilling: Makes downhole data immediately available after the measurement.[15]
  • Rig Automation: A live feed of downhole applied weight, torque and rotary speed allows for automated control of surface machinery.[16]
  • Completions: Downhole information can supplement surface data during gravel and frac pack installations.[17]
Inside of the IntelliServ facility in Provo, Utah.

Notable Partners[edit]

IntelliServ partners with the following companies and organizations:


  1. ^ "Along string pressure, temperature measurements hold revolutionary promise for downhole management.” Drilling Contractor Magazine. March 12, 2009
  2. ^ a b c "Grant Prideco's IntelliServ poised to take the drilling industry from dial-up into the world of broadband." Hsieh, Linda. Drilling Contractor Magazine. March/April 2006.
  3. ^ a b c d e “The Evolution and Potential of Networked Pipe.” JPT. April 2010
  4. ^ a b “Revolutionary ‘smart pipe’ creates ‘downhole Internet.’” E&P Focus. Vol. 2 No. 1 2006
  5. ^ "Grant Prideco Launches the IntelliServ Network." Rigzone. Feb 8, 2006
  6. ^ Fredericks, Paul; Don Reitsma; Tom Runggai; Neil Hudson; Ralf Zaeper; Oliver Backhaus; Maximo Hernandez (March 2008). "Successful Implementation of First Closed Loop, Multiservice Control System for Automated Pressure Management in a Shallow Gas Well Offshore Myanmar". Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference Paper. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  7. ^ Veengingen, Daan. "Wired pipe delineates safer drilling margins.” Drilling Contractor Magazine. March/April 2012
  8. ^ a b “Novel High Speed Telemetry System with Measurements Along the String Mitigates Drilling Risk and Improves Drilling Efficiency.” Society of Petroleum Engineers. June 2011. ISBN 978-1-61399-123-7
  9. ^ a b " “Along-String Pressure Evaluation Enabled by Broadband Networked Drillstring Provide Safety, Efficiency Gains.” Veeningen, Daan. Offshore Technology Conference. ISBN 978-1-61399-144-2.
  10. ^ "Wired pipe telemetry provides step-change improvements.” Drilling Contractor Magazine. March 19, 2009
  11. ^ Veeningen, DaanM; Martyn Fear; Stephen Willson (June 2012). "Transformational Reduction in Non-productive Time through Implementation of Broadband Networked Drill-string and Modified Drilling Practices in an Extended Reach Drilling Campaign". Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference Paper. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  12. ^ . “Multi-service system achieves new level of pressure control in Myanmar shallow gas well.” Fredericks, Paul, Hank Boer, Petronas Carigali, Maximo Hernandez, and Paul Bond. Drilling Contractor Magazine. July/August 2007
  13. ^ Hatch, Andy; Eon Ruhrgas; Nicol Shepherd; Peter Diepeveen; Grant Affleck (March 2011). "Managing New Technology Introduction to Provide Maximum Benefit". Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference Paper. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  14. ^ "4" Wired Drill Pipe in the Granite Wash" Melcher, Dan. AADE Mid-Continent Symposium January 2012
  15. ^ “New seismic-while-drilling systems may help operators navigate complex well paths.” Hsieh, Linda. Drilling Contractor Magazine. July 12, 2010
  16. ^ "Holistic approach to drilling means going beyond rig equipment.” Greenberg, Jerry. Drilling Contractor Magazine. January/February 2012
  17. ^ "Networked Drillstring Technology" Oilfield Technology. May 2012.
  18. ^ "INTEQ Enters into Services Agreement for IntelliServ Wired Drill Pipe Telemetry System.” Baker Hughes press release. July 25, 2007
  19. ^ “New Wired-Pipe Telemetry System Tested in Arkoma Basin.” Oil and Gas Journal. March 27, 2006
  20. ^ Lawrence, Luke; Bruce Redmond; Rick Russell; Dave McNeill; Mike Reeves; Maximo Hernandez (May 2009). "Intelligent Wired Drill-Pipe System Provides Significant Improvements in Drilling Performance on Offshore Australia Development". Offshore Technology. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  21. ^ "Illuminating Innovations." North Sea Contact. December 2009