CATEGORIZED | News

Petrobras’ Lage: Defining business target at crux of introducing automation into well construction

Posted on 02 March 2011

Antonio Lage, Petrobras

Antonio Lage, Petrobras

When introducing new technology such as automation, it’s critical that not only the physical technologies involved are considered but also the social technologies and the business plan are taken into account as well, Antonio Lage, Petrobras R&D manager of technology for well construction, said at an automation workshop held in Amsterdam on 28 February 2011. The meeting was organized jointly by the IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee and the SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS).

Physical technologies are the innovations that are usually considered to be “technology,” such as the printing press or the microchip. “Most of the time, we pay much more attention to this than to the rest. We usually do not consider the business or the social technology,” Mr Lage said. That’s a huge mistake.

“Social technology refers to the way we put people together in order to make things happen,” he said. Examples include Ford Motors’ assembly line or Wal-Mart running its business based on new logistics for running large stores. Social technologies and physical technologies must evolve together in order to be successful, Mr Lage said.

And there’s a third aspect to consider as well, and that is the business plan. “This is where you try to put the social technology and the physical technology together in order to make it real, moving from concept to reality. The focus must always be on making a profit,” Mr Lage said. The same is true for introducing automation into the well construction arena – the main driver must be making profit.

The well construction industry is already late to the automation game, and a number of industries are ahead of us in implementing automation technologies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Mr Lage added, because “chances are that almost all the physical technologies you need have already been developed.”

To push automation forward in the well construction arena, he urged the industry to define the amount of automation that must be developed. “Should we be developing a well construction factory… or simple machines that will be capable of drilling parts of the well? What’s our focus?” he asked.

Mr Lage also noted that there are several isolated automation initiatives going on around the world with different targets. Industry needs to create certain standards for automation; otherwise, we’ll be developing automation technologies from scratch everytime, he warned.

Automation initiatives also need to have the final users of automation onboard. “We need to discuss the work flow. We need to think about the human factor. We need to redefine jobs, create new jobs and create specific training for people,” he commented.

Defining the “value added” for automation is also critical, and so far that value has primarily been improved safety – reducing human exposure to risks. “Efficiency has not been a target so far, but it’s important,” Mr Lage said. Improved logistics should be another “value added” as the industry continues to drill wells farther from shore and deeper into the ground.

Looking specifically at Petrobras, Mr Lage noted that his company is seeking “dramatic reductions regarding well construction costs,” and there are many opportunities for introducing automation into the process – as long as automation is developed to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. He believes that the stakeholders in well construction need to share more information on automation drivers and targets. “We need to reach a minimum level of alignment… We need to define common priorities. As a first step, I think we need to build a vision of sharing profits. I think that’s the most important thing.”

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 22 October 2014

    Shell discovers gas in pre-salt reservoir offshore Gabon

    Shell announced a frontier exploration discovery offshore Gabon, West Africa. The well Leopard-1 encountered a substantial gas column with around 200 m net gas pay…

  • 22 October 2014

    Statoil proves new oil resources near Grane field in North Sea

    Well 25/8-18 S, drilled by the rig Transocean Leader, proved an oil column of 25 m in the Heimdal Formation. The estimated volume of the discovery…

  • 21 October 2014

    IADC Cybersecurity Task Group to provide industry guidance to assess risks

    The oil and gas industry is not immune to cybersecurity threats, from computer viruses and malware to targeted attacks. The IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee…

  • 21 October 2014

    Check-6 launches RIGOR digital checklist and compliance system

    Check-6 has launched RIGOR, a checklist-based mobile app to help simplify complex procedures and mitigate human error on the rig. Taking lessons from the aviation industry…

  • 21 October 2014

    Video: Next IADC Land Contract update to start in 2016

    The latest version of the IADC Land Contract was released in November 2013. Various incidents, including Macondo, delayed the release. “It’s an industry contract…

  • Read more news