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Technology acceptance a mixed bag, survey shows

Posted on 31 August 2010

Technological acceptance is a mixed bag for our industry. For example, by more than six to one, registrants at the 2010 IADC Advanced Rig Technology Conference said their company is willing to invest in early-stage technology or product. Conversely, though more than four in ten would decline to buy a brand-new prototype technology for a rig the registrant bore responsibility for.

This data stems from on-the-spot surveys during the event, held 18 Aug in Houston, of the 230 conference attendees. The audience was bullish on automation, which is not surprising for an event such as this. 95% said there is a business case for automation.

Commercialization of new technology was a major conference theme. 41% of registrants said that “showing the technology’s monetary benefit” was the most important factor in successful commercialization. A close second, at 34%, was field testing. Other choices were the people commercializing the technology (17%), validating market size (7%), and enabling future technologies (1%).

Meanwhile, 42% said that plug and play controls or modular machine control was the industry’s biggest need for technology development. Opinions were divided on other choices: control system uptime, 25%; MPD, 18%; ultra-HPHT (20k psi), 16%.

Regarding managed pressure drilling, plenty of work remains for purveyors of this technology, the survey indicated. Only one in four believed that MPD has been successfully commercialized. 51% said it has not.

Generally, newer technologies seem to take time to build acceptance. For example, opinions were strong regarding the value of electric rigs with drawworks, relative to hydraulic (cylinder rigs). More than three in four said this was the best type of rig for offshore drilling. 14% chose hydraulic (cylinder rig).

Similarly, the audience approved by a two to one margin of triples, compared to super singles.

Other questions revealed the audience’s overall optimism:

  • 88% said the industry will “definitely” or “possibly, though severe challenges exist” drill in more than 16,000 ft of water;
  • 71% said that day rates for ultra-deepwater drilling will increase in the next five years;
  • 57% predicted that the GOM deepwater moratorium will end on or before 30 Nov, the stated date. 31% said after the next Congress is sworn in, and 11% said “when the GOM freezes over”.

The Future Technology Subcommittee of the IADC Advanced Rig Technology Committee on 15 July organized a half-day workshop on stick-slip mitigation. FT Vice Chairman Dustin Torkay asked the audience what they would like to see as the subject of a future workshop. The results:

  • Extended-reach drill pipe: reduced pipe friction, 11%;
  • Condition monitoring, 27%;
  • Completion technologies, 6%;
  • Casing drilling, 21%;
  • Gas shale drilling, 35%.

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