By Karen Boman, Associate Editor
A new joint industry project (JIP) has been established under the IADC Drilling Engineers Committee (DEC), driven by the growing importance of verifying and validating sensor data in situ, or during drilling operations. The industry is starting to rely more heavily on sensor data for decision making, but environmental and operational conditions can impact the performance of sensors and the quality of the data they provide. The JIP’s goal is to develop a methodology and procedures to independently verify and validate sensors while they’re in operation, providing acceptable control for manual operations through various levels of automated drilling, and to support data analytics, said Maria Araujo, Manager of Research and Development at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Program Manager for the JIP.
The deliverable of the JIP will be a recommended practice (RP) that any industry participant could use, Ms Araujo said during a 13 June presentation at the IADC Q2 2018 DEC Technology Forum in Houston.
The JIP’s workplan through March 2019 includes building a steering committee, composed of drilling industry experts and representatives of industry organizations such as IADC, as well as appointing JIP funder representatives as funding is received. The JIP also will work to identify the key sensors and sensor systems of interest in drilling. These sensors and systems will be prioritized for testing based on their impact on and value to drilling processes, as well as the ease and costs of applying the verification and validation approach to a sensor or sensor system, Ms Araujo said.
A sensor or sensor system will then be selected for proof of concept for the independent verification and validation approach, and experts will be selected to consult on this proof of concept. Once the proof of concept is developed, a stage gate review will be conducted by the steering committee, JIP funders and the IADC DEC to approve or disapprove, with recommendations the start of the JIP’s second phase. The JIP also will leverage existing standards, such as those from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, to create the RP.
While work is already under way within the industry to verify and validate sensor data, this activity is being conducted by individual companies or groups of companies, resulting in duplication of work. “The idea here is let’s come up with something that everybody can agree on and everybody can benefit from, so that we don’t keep reinventing the wheel,” Ms Araujo explained.
Updates on two other existing JIPs that are under way with the IADC DEC were also given at the Technology Forum. One is a JIP to study dynamic barrier management. The JIP’s initial goal was to develop bowtie analysis diagrams – which helps companies identify human, technical and organizational barriers in managing safety hazards – that are more useful for real-time operations. This was done by building a response tree that focused on what it would take for physical barriers to succeed, said Amar Ahluwalia, Project Manager, Management Consulting, Analytics & Digital Innovation with DNV GL.
To test the focus on barrier success, the JIP conducted a series of workshops in which participants had to identify success paths for a well integrity case study. The result was an 80% match in how participants – who included regulators, drilling contractors, operators and service providers – perceived success.
Participants said the concept enabled alternative operational paths to be identified ahead of time, reducing downtime, and helped communication and consensus among stakeholders at the well site, Mr Ahluwalia said. The concept also could help companies identify operational areas where sensors and machines can make decisions, and where human workers should make decisions instead. The JIP would like to study the application of the success path to sensor placement in a second phase, if they can find enough companies interested in participating.
The other JIP updated during the Technology Forum was on the drilling systems automation roadmap. Earlier this year, the JIP’s first phase created a document on what this roadmap should look like.
The roadmap document garnered enough attention from additional industry stakeholders – particularly North Sea operators – wanting to participate in shaping the roadmap to justify a second phase for the JIP, said Robin Macmillan, Senior Vice President at National Oilwell Varco (NOV). Companies that took part in the JIP’s first phase are ExxonMobil Research, Halliburton, Houston Mechatronics, Huisman, NOV, Occidental, proNova TDE, Saudi Aramco, Shell and Total. Companies participating in the second phase so far are Baker Hughes GE, Devon Energy, Energistics, Halliburton, Maersk Drilling, NOV, Pioneer Natural Resources, Shell, Siemens and Transocean.
The document won’t be shared with the industry at-large until January 2019 to allow companies that participated in the JIP’s first phase to take advantage of the roadmap, Mr Macmillan said. At that time, the body of knowledge accumulated in the roadmap’s development, DSABOK, will be made available online. Going forward, more sponsors also will be needed to fund updates of the roadmap, which will occur every two years, Mr Macmillan said. Companies interested in participating in the JIP’s second phase should contact John De Wardt, JIP Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.