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


Scientific Drilling International was established in Houston, TX, in 1969. Over the decades, it has grown to become a leading player in the field of wellbore navigation and directional services.
The company’s presence extends to more than 26 countries and encompasses nearly 40 locations worldwide. This global footprint demonstrates its commitment to serving clients in various regions and markets. Scientific Drilling International is unique in its ability to provide a comprehensive navigation solution for the energy services sector. This includes a wide range of services and technologies aimed at improving wellbore navigation and drilling efficiency. The company’s navigation solutions cover a diverse range of services, including High Accuracy Gyro Survey, Measurement While Drilling (MWD), Logging While Drilling (LWD), MagTraC MWD Ranging™, and Cased Hole Solutions. These offerings cater to the specific needs of the energy industry, enabling precise wellbore positioning and data acquisition.

Scientific Drilling International serves a diverse group of customers across all energy sectors. This broad client base reflects its adaptability and expertise in addressing the unique challenges presented by different energy projects. The company’s experience extends to participating in some of the world’s most complex conventional and unconventional oil and gas projects. This demonstrates its capability to handle challenging drilling environments and unconventional resources. Scientific Drilling International’s expertise extends to working on geothermal wells. Geothermal energy is a growing sector that harnesses the Earth’s heat for sustainable power generation. The company’s experience in drilling horizontal laterals in coalbed methane reservoirs showcases its proficiency in unconventional resource development. Coalbed methane is a valuable source of natural gas found in coal seams.




The phrase “Scientific Drilling” emerged as a concept highlighting the potential for independent scientists to explore the Earth’s depths to gain insights into its nature and resource development.

James Murray, an engineer based in Houston, TX, founded Scientific Drilling Controls (SDC). His vision was to utilize the latest scientific drilling practices and navigation solutions to assist oil and gas producers, miners, and geothermal companies access new reserves.

Murray soon introduced the world’s first downhole electronic steering tool called “the Eye.” This technology allowed directional drillers to adjust downhole motors to navigate wellbores accurately.  As a result, in 1977, SDC introduced the world’s first surface readout gyro (SRG) tool, marking another milestone in wellbore navigation technology. Then, in the 1980s, SDC continued to innovate by launching directional drilling solutions and specialized north-seeking gyros, further enhancing its wellbore placement and navigation capabilities.

Electronics engineer Don van Steenwyk, owner of Applied Technologies Associates (ATA) in California, acquired SDC. Under his leadership, SDC expanded its capabilities and began implementing innovative engineering designs and concepts related to wellbore navigation and real-time communications while drilling. Scientific Drilling International (SDI) was formed with Don van Steenwyk’s guidance and vision. This marked a significant step in the company’s growth and commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology to the industry.

Fast forward to 2017, and under strong leadership, SDI articulated its vision to “become the ultimate partner in wellbore placement and productivity around the world.” Moreover, as a company, we remain dedicated to producing innovative technologies that prioritize accuracy and align with its founder’s dream. SDI is dedicated to its employees, without which none 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
  • Scientific Drilling launches Remote Operations Center
  • Introduction of the Duraset technology
  • 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
  • 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 gyroMWD module technology, enabling integrated service companies
  • Introduction of the Falcon High Speed Mud-PulseMWD technology
  • Introduction of gyroMWD Module technology
  • First 6.5″ SRX rotary steerable deployment
  • Introduction of Cased Hole Services & Technology
  • 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 electromagnetic MWD E-Field tool
  • Introduction of drop "Memory Keeper"
  • 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"
  • First directional jobs in US
  • Scientific Drilling International purchased by AMF in 1981
  • Introduction of north seeking gyro "Seeker"
  • Name changed from "Scientific Drilling Controls" to "Scientific Drilling International"
  • Introduction of Surface Readout Gyro
  • Survey Division formed
  • Scientific Drilling Controls founded by James Murray
  • Introduction of "EYE" steering tool
  • Applied Technologies Associates founded by Don Van Steenwyk