Mike Killalea, group vice president & publisher
Rig Automation is not only here to stay, it continues to intensify in sophistication and complexity. Mechanized rigs are increasingly common, observed Gregers Kudsk, vice president-engineering and projects for Maersk Contractors, speaking in a 5 March Plenary Session at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference in Orlando, Fla. (4-6 March). In some areas of the world, he said, automation is not optional, but required. Compared with traditional technology, Mr Kudsk said, new technologies can save 20% or more in drilling time. He pointed out that only about 30% of total drilling time is spent drilling and tripping, while the rest is flat time. Therefore, our real opportunity for increased efficiency is by narrowing that 70% flat window. Advanced rig technology can help.
The value of these advanced systems can be immense. However – at times – so can the difficulty in using the equipment and in its reliability. Equipment compatibility – for plug-and-play electrical interfaces, training, and even differences in jargon – are all challenges worthy of study and action.
So IADC has organized a group to attack some of these issues. The new IADC Advanced Rig Technology Committee has set its mission to improve safety and efficiency through sound operating procedures, design of automated systems and standardizing automation. Some of the specific topics the committee will address include communication between equipment, competency, HSE and reliability.
We held our inaugural meeting during the aforementioned IADC/SPE conference in Orlando. The kick-off event drew broad representation among drilling contractors, operators and service companies alike. Companies represented included Chevron, Grey Wolf Drilling, KCA DEUTAG, Key Energy Services, Maersk Contractors, Atlas Copco, Athens Group, Forum Oilfield, National Oilwell Varco and Weatherford. Drillingcontractor.org reported on the committee meeting in an e-News broadcast from Orlando, and the article prompted several other drilling professionals and companies to sign on. Our next meeting will likely be during the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
Some of the key work items identified included:
• Standardizing nomenclature;
• Guidelines for standard plug-and-play interfaces for drilling equipment, emphasizing electrical communication;
• Decision matrix to assist in deciding when an automated system is appropriate;
• Guidelines for training on advanced rig equipment;
• Guidance to drilling contractors on operating advanced rig equipment;
• HSE guidelines for advanced rig equipment, as well as a risk assessment checklist;
• Equipment reliability reporting: Devel-opment of a standard format for voluntary problem reporting could be a handy user tool. Such data could possibly be captured on the IADC website;
Ultimately, the committee is exploring opportunities to comprehensively automate the complete drilling process, integrating surface and downhole equipment for both drilling and completion systems.
The individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with thus far in the early stages of this committee are truly impressive in their knowledge of rig systems. This group has the potential to make some huge strides forward.
If you are interested in joining us in this work, please drop me an e-mail. This is just the latest example of how IADC does what’s right for the rig – and by so doing, does what’s right for us all.
DC Assistant Managing Editor Linda Hsieh contributed to this article.
You can reach Mike Killalea at firstname.lastname@example.org.