Better integration of downhole and drilling systems are a key goal among drilling professionals wishing to advance the state of drilling automation. A recent survey conducted by the IADC Drilling Control Systems (DCS) Subcommittee found that 78% of respondents found value in open-published interfaces to downhole tools and drilling control systems that allow integration of a downhole tool to a drilling control system. 54% rated this as having “moderate” or “great” value.
The data combines results from an online survey and to a written questionnaire distributed at the SPE Drilling Automation Workshop held in Galveston, Texas, during March. The DCS Subcommittee is part of the IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee, and is led by Vice Chairman Terry Loftis, Transocean.
However, off-the-shelf solutions from equipment vendors were valued somewhat less. 42% rated vendor-developed integrated systems cooperating to provide downhole tools already integrated to drilling control systems as having no value. Only 8% said such solutions were of great value.
On the other hand, control systems in which downhole tools, such as rotary steerable systems are directly controlled by surface-based control and advisory systems were considered of “moderate” or “great” value by 61% of respondents. Only 4% of respondents considered this of no value.
Similarly, 64% found “moderate” or “great” value in control systems in which the drilling process is optimized through use of downhole instruments. Despite this finding, 25% found no value in such a solution.
More than three in four – 77% — favored an oilfield industry standard for drilling communications protocols specific to downhole integration. Nonetheless, several individuals warned of “reinventing the wheel”, and pointed out that standards already exist which the industry could adopt.
Other comments indicated that an industry association such as IADC should move the process forward.