CATEGORIZED | 2009, Departments, March/April

Drilling Ahead: IADC Advanced Rig Tech group ‘imagines’ end to downtime

Posted on 12 March 2009

By Mike Killalea, editor & publisher

Imagine no more downtime.
I wonder if you can.
No more top drive failures.
Nothing falling from the stand!

Ah, yes, you may call me a dreamer. But – with apologies to John Lennon – the IADC Advanced Rig Technology Committee is doing everything it can in its small way to approach this reality.

Top drive survey

Before anything can be changed, though, it must be measured. The Reliability Subcommittee, under the leadership of vice chairman Robert Urbanowski, Precision Drilling Oilfield Services, is in the last stretch of developing a survey on top drive reliability. The survey queries, for most manufacturers and models, baseline questions, such as time in service since last major overhaul, hoisting capacity, power, and rig type where deployed, before sinking its teeth into the major meat: hookload at time of failure, drilling depth and RPM, failure type, top drive downtime and rig downtime due to the top drive. The survey also includes requisite definitions.

The selections of failure type are highly detailed. Selections include three types of “control” failures (electrical, hydraulic or software); four types of hydraulic or pneumatic failure (pump, valve, leak or other); four choices of power failure (VFD/SCR, HPU, motors or service loop); gearbox; or three choices of structural failures (dolly, torque tube or bracket).

You can also make suggestions to the manufacturer. But please be gentle. I blush easily.

This survey has been a joint industry effort of contractors, operators, service companies and consultants working – wonder, wonder – in joy and harmony toward a common goal.

We will soon deploy the online survey on the committee’s website and alert the industry to its existence. We have already had enthusiastic top drive users contact us, ready to provide their data.

Speaking of data, IADC will manage the survey and maintain data confidentiality. Data will only be publicly released in aggregate – no manufacturers or end users will be identified.

This is a good project, and plans are to springboard from top drives to other rig equipment, including pipehandling and MUX systems. Our continuing modus operandi will be to bring together operators, contactors and manufacturers to develop the questionnaires.

ART Matrix

What advantages and disadvantages does a given piece of advanced drilling equipment offer? Bringing together the pluses and minuses is the purpose of the IADC Advanced Rig Technology Matrix, developed by our Guidelines Subcommittee under the leadership of Vice Chairman Logan Puckett, Pride International.

This matrix covers 37 distinct pieces of drilling gear, from top drives and automatic drillers to downhole telemetry and BOP MUX controls.
You can view a draft of this spreadsheet at http://www.iadc.org/committees/advanced_rig_technology.

Future Technology

Yes, Virginia, there is a future – despite the dreary economic climate. But will we have the technologies we need when the future is now? Frank Springett, National Oilwell Varco, is Vice Chairman of the Future Technology Subcommittee, which has devised – you guessed it – a survey on the best-performing technologies and which need or should receive the greatest focus moving forward.

Look for more on this in the weeks ahead. I expect interesting and possibly surprising results.

So, sure. I may be a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. (Sorry again, John.)

You can reach Mike Killalea at mike.killalea@iadc.org.

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