By Mike Killalea, Editor & Publisher
Two of IADC’s most technically focused committees are picking up the pace to improve drilling efficiency and safety. Rebounding from our annual Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Conference & Exhibition (Amsterdam in October), we learned that some attitudes toward automation are shifting significantly — and others are not.
Perhaps not too surprisingly, our admittedly non-scientific ART survey showed that the perception of industry’s greatest need has flipped 180 degrees. In booming 2014, more “skilled manpower” was, at 57%, far and away the number one choice. Only 19% selected “higher levels of drill-floor automation” — and this in an audience heavily weighted with automationists. Today, those attitudes have neatly swapped places. Just 26% opted for “skilled manpower” at our 2015 ART event, while 44% seek more drill-floor automation. (We are an optimistic bunch. In today’s down environment, single digit percentages for “skilled manpower” would be no surprise.)
Roadmap to automation
And IADC, through our Drilling Engineers Committee (DEC), is supporting a JIP that would move industry closer to the lofty goal of increased drilling automation — the Drilling Systems Automation (DSA) Roadmap. Observed principal investigator John de Wardt of De Wardt and Co, “The need for an industry roadmap is compelling. The well drilling and completion industry is highly fragmented. It will require structure to enable the interoperability required to deliver functioning automated and autonomous systems.”
The goal of the JIP is to develop the roadmap document, launch strategy and tracking systems. Mr de Wardt envisions a roadmap describing the next decade of potential development. He reports that automated drilling systems have shown ROP increases of 40%, compared with human rotary drilling. Building and steering wells using automated systems produced an 80% improvement while sliding, he added.
Faster to TD with less NPT
Slashing time to TD is a key deliverable, the ART survey confirms, neck and neck with reduced NPT. 36% and 34% of respondents at the Amsterdam event rated reduced NPT and faster drilling time to TD, respectively, as the most desirable deliverable from drilling automation.
New ART objectives
The IADC ART Committee, during a workshop preceding the conference, brainstormed future work. Again, NPT (“flat spots”) tops the list. ART plans to map out drilling operations from rig up to rig down. “It’s important to look at individual rigs, instead of all the rigs at one time,” noted Trenton Martin, Chairman of the IADC ART Drilling Control Systems Subcommittee. Another major continuing project is cybersecurity, including enhanced competence and improved KSAs.
Finally, ART will develop a common language protocol for rig equipment, building on the committee’s work several years ago in developing a comprehensive listing of virtually all rig communication protocols.
In the end, at ART and DEC alike, the overriding feature is collaboration – among operators, drilling contractors, manufacturers, service companies, and, last but not least, regulators.
Mike Killalea can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Click here to learn more about the IADC Drilling Engineers Committee and the DSA Roadmap JIP.
Click here to check out the IADC ART Committee and surveys.