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Hole openers are used to increase size of well bore and there are two broad categories of hole openers: fixed diameter hole openers, and under-reamers. Fixed diameter hole openers are usually made up of three “cutters” arranged around a mandrel and mounted on “saddles” by strong retaining pins. Cutters may be milled tooth, PDC, or TC inserts, which will vary depending on the formation to be cut.


Under-reamers, on the other hand, are hydraulically actuated hole openers that possess two or three arms. They are primarily used when a hole needs to be opened to a diameter larger than the casing which has already been set. Both of these forms typically feature a series of fluid passages, or “jets”, which are arranged to keep the cutters lubricated and help with the removal of cuttings. These need to be set up properly before use, to ensure a balanced mud flow both through and out of the hole opener. In addition, holes that have previously been drilled can be re-opened using a fixed diameter hole opener. In this case, a “bull nose” will be run beneath it. Otherwise, a fixed diameter hole opener can be used to drill a new hole, usually alongside a drilling assembly.

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