Scientific Drilling International is an independent directional drilling and wellbore navigation, surveying and logging service company serving customers worldwide.

Scientific Drilling International was founded in Houston, TX in 1969. Since then, our company has grown to be a leading provider in the global wellbore navigation services market as well as the US directional services market.
Our presence reaches over 26 countries and nearly 40 locations, being the only company to offer a complete navigation solution for the energy services sector that includes High Accuracy Gyro Survey, MWD, LWD, MagTraC MWD Ranging™, and Cased Hole Solutions.

Scientific Drilling International serves a diverse range of customers in all energy sectors. Besides participating in some of the most complex conventional and unconventional oil and gas projects in the world, Scientific Drilling also has extensive experience in working on geothermal wells and drilling horizontal laterals in coalbed methane reservoirs.


When the phrase “Scientific Drilling” was coined, sometime after World War II, it conjured up the notion that independent scientists could probe the earth’s depths to learn more about the nature of this planet and how its resources developed.

In 1969, James Murray, an engineer living in Houston, TX launched a technology company.  He wanted to use the latest scientific drilling practices and navigation solutions to help oil and gas producers, miners, and geothermal companies plumb this planet’s depths for new reserves.  Aptly, he named the company Scientific Drilling Controls (SDC).

Murray soon introduced the world’s first downhole electronic steering tool (called “the Eye”) to enable directional drillers to accurately orient downhole motors to deviate wellbores.  Building upon its earliest triumphs, in 1977 SDC introduced the world’s first surface readout gyro (SRG) tool, then in the 1980s, launched directional drilling and specialized north seeking gyros.

In 1986, Don van Steenwyk, a World War 2 veteran (Navy) and electronics engineer, owner of California based Applied Technologies Associates (ATA), acquired SDC to be the execution arm of his engineering designs and concepts in wellbore navigation and real-time communications while drilling.  Scientific Drilling International (SDI) was formed!  With his guidance, the company would grow immensely and prosper, continuing to deliver cutting edge technology to the industry.

Fast forward to 2017, and SDI, under strong leadership, has a vision “to become the ultimate partner in wellbore placement and productivity around the world.”  It continues to produce innovative and robust technologies that deliver the ultimate value in accuracy, living up to the founder’s dream.  SDI is dedicated to its employees, without whom, none of these would have been achieved.

Company History

  • Introduction of Vulcan MFT-40
  • Introduction of 6.75″ and 4.75″ Bitsub
  • Introduction of 5.15″ TiTAN22
  • Introduction of HALO 6.75″ Rotary steerable system
  • Introduction of the Downhole EM receiver
  • Introduction of High build rate 8″ Sci-Driver
  • Introduction of 7.15″ TiTAN22″
  • Introduction of MagTracer
  • Introduction of BlackShark
  • Introduction of SynTrac
  • Introduction of Lodestone
  • Introduction of SurfaceTrac
  • Introduction of Deep EM Receiver
  • Scientific Drilling launches Remote Operations Center
  • Introduction of the Duraset technology
  • Introduction of the Geothermal Broaching tooling
  • Scientific Drilling acquires Marksman Ranging Technologies
  • Introduction of the Geothermal Downhole Sampling tooling
  • Introduction of the Vulcan MFT 24 technology
  • Introduction of the Falcon High Speed Mud-PulseMWD technology
  • Introduction of the gyroMWD module technology, enabling integrated service companies
  • Introduction of Cased Hole Services & Technology
  • Introduction of gyroMWD Module technology
  • First 6.5″ SRX rotary steerable deployment
  • Launched Titan range of motors
  • Commercial field trials of 7.4 SRX Rotary Steerable System
  • Introduction of EM gyroMWD
  • First Memory Pulsed Neutron/Memory Resistivity Log
  • World's first gyro MWD
  • Introduction of Mud Pulse MWD system
  • Introduction of drop "Memory Keeper"
  • Introduction of electromagnetic MWD E-Field tool
  • Introduction of all attitude continuous north seeking gyro "Keeper"
  • Introduction of MPLT Memory Logging Systems
  • SDI Inertial Devices Division begins production of proprietary rate integrating gyro
  • Don Van Steenwyk acquired Scientific Drilling Controls (SDC)
  • Introduction of continuous north seeking gyro "Finder"
  • Introduction of "Production Services"
  • Introduction of north seeking gyro "Seeker"
  • Scientific Drilling International purchased by AMF in 1981
  • First directional jobs in US
  • Name changed from "Scientific Drilling Controls" to "Scientific Drilling International"
  • Introduction of Surface Readout Gyro
  • Survey Division formed
  • Introduction of "EYE" steering tool
  • Scientific Drilling Controls founded by James Murray
  • Applied Technologies Associates founded by Don Van Steenwyk