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Communication, trust cited as key factors for HSE performance during pandemic

By Jay Stracke, Editorial Coordinator The drilling industry has always united around its mission to bring its rig crews home safe. But now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, collaboration between companies and sharing of lessons learned has become more critical than ever. Particularly offshore, rig crews are dealing with complicated travel and quarantine restrictions, which in some instances have led people to work hitches spanning months. “The average days onboard for one of our seasonal employees used to be around 14 days,” said Neil Forrest, VP, Operational Integrity for Seadrill. “Our average days onboard is now around 23 days.” Despite longer hitches, however, several companies noticed their HSE performance during this time has improved. Potential reasons include reduced complexity of operations, ...

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SIMOPS, dual-activity rig enable best-in-class well offshore Nigeria

Project team successfully challenged existing heavy-lift protocol to leverage rig’s AHC crane for improved efficiencies By Jessica Whiteside, Contributor The maxim “time is money” is manifest daily in the offshore oil and gas sector. Especially in deepwater, drilling a well can require tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. In 2017, Shell Nigeria challenged its deepwater team to trim its average well delivery time on a mature field offshore West Africa. In response, the team implemented a simultaneous operations (SIMOPS) strategy that reduced the use of field service vessels (FSVs) and enabled carefully planned and controlled heavy lifting over drill centers. Shell Nigeria engineer Aihanuwa Abuah presented an overview of the project at the 2020 IADC/SPE International Drilling ...

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The future of drilling automation: transforming a vision into reality

As process automation proves out its value, industry begins looking to the next frontier of autonomous drilling By Matthew Jackson, Moumien Ali and Vinesh Rambally, NOV Rig Technologies; Sukanya Romyanon, Kyle Sneed and Panu Boonwattanopas, Chevron Today’s drillers are under increased pressure to improve drilling performance. They are tasked with overseeing streams of complex data, generating value from that data, and managing tasks in need of constant attention during ongoing operations. The various skills necessary to perform these tasks mean that the quality of the operation can differ widely across fleets based on the experience of the drillers, equipment and many other variables. Another major issue is consistency, as it is virtually impossible for humans to repeat the same action ...

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Risk-based approach, novel fluid solution enable narrow-margin drilling in deepwater Australia

Flat-rheology non-aqueous fluid also helped to maintain 100% cuttings transport efficiency By Gordon Holmes and Paul Baker, Newpark Fluids Systems During the exploration phase of a deepwater prospect offshore Australia, the formation evaluation program uncovered a narrow equivalent circulation density (ECD) margin in the intermediate section that required a mitigation strategy. To allow access to the reservoir with minimal risk due to the narrow ECD window, the project team assessed different solutions from both a drilling and fluids perspective. Ultimately, they selected a low ECD, flat-rheology fluid system that was able to stay within the narrow margin while maintaining 100% cuttings transport efficiency. Background The majority of wells drilled offshore Australia are in water depths less than 500 m. In ...

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Automated steering system aims to improve directional drilling across multiple US onshore basins

To shorten learning curve when deploying system in new areas, drilling ‘recipes’ were created to capture best practices from different basins By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor In recent years, automated directional drilling solutions have become much more acceptable to operators seeking to improve performance. However, these systems are often primarily configured for basin-specific challenges. Such configurations have helped companies like Nabors to deliver high performance, but the company also recognizes that developing a system to work across multiple basins could lead to a step change in directional drilling performance. At the 2020 IADC/SPE International Drilling Conference in March, Scott Coffey, Technology Manager of Drilling and Automation at Nabors, discussed the implementation of a system that automates slide drilling to improve ...

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Unlocking the power of machine learning

Predictive algorithms and natural language processing are fast becoming valuable tools fueling improvements for operators and drilling contractors in remote BOP monitoring, human decision making, safety By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor As drillers adapt their rigs and workflows for optimized performance and improved safety amid the continuing oilfield digital transformation, a host of tech developers are coming up with new solutions based on innovations in the field of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP). One of these companies is RigNet, which was already established in building AI-based data analytic applications for drilling. Last year, the company signed two multi-year agreements with Transocean to provide rig analytic applications through Intelie Live, a real-time analytics platform developed by subsidiary Intelie. The ...

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Industry 4.0: Oil & gas could benefit from outward search for innovations

Looking externally for automation, digitalization  opportunities may prove cost effective amid downturn and R&D budget cuts By John Barratt, Oil & Gas Innovation Center As this article was being written in June, there were approximately 300 drilling rigs operating in North America, the US frac spread count was around 50, and every drilling contractor and completions company was suffering financially.  Petroleum industry R&D and product development budgets, which were not especially robust prior to the COVID-19 crisis, will likely be reduced even further, along with R&D staffing levels. This is one of the most rapid and severe downturns ever experienced by the petroleum industry. However, many other industries are also very cyclical, and they continue to position themselves to survive ...

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Crew health, availability prioritized as companies strive to ensure proper incident response readiness

Contractors and operators are also looking to enhanced communication, logistics to mitigate risk of any unexpected events By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor In the oil and gas industry, companies recognize the essential role that they play – not just in terms of supplying the world with the energy it needs but also in protecting its workers and the environment throughout the drilling process. So earlier this year, facing the looming threat of COVID-19, many companies took early steps to prepare their staff for the possibility of interruptions and changes in workflow. For some, this took place weeks before the World Health Organization officially declared it a pandemic. That preparation has proven essential, ensuring not only operational continuity but also that ...

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The 7 sins of ESG management

These poor practices can result in superficial approaches to risk management, leading to missed opportunities as companies seek to adopt robust ESG strategy By Kosmas Papadopoulos and Rodolfo Araujo, FTI Consulting A growing number of companies are recognizing the opportunity for long-term success that results from an effective environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy. Rising expectations from stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees and communities, indicate that high ESG performance may translate to better access to capital, talent and business opportunities. While companies are eager to improve their ESG position, some find it difficult to create a plan of action. The term “ESG” may appear somewhat nebulous, and it is sometimes interchanged with other similar, yet varied, terms like sustainability and ...

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Drilling fluid digital twins developed to monitor rheological properties, cuttings transport functionality

Predictive models were built by collecting extensive lab data and CFD simulation results that were fed into automated machine learning algorithms By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor Drilling fluids play an assortment of critical roles in the success of drilling operations, like transporting cuttings, cooling the drill bit and suspending the cuttings when circulation stops. Many drilling problems, including circulation loss and stuck pipe, also stem from drilling fluids. That’s why developing accurate digital twins for drilling fluids could be critical in anticipating and preventing these problems, by enabling better monitoring of downhole fluid properties, such as rheology and density, and functionalities like borehole stability. Speaking at the 2020 IADC/SPE International Drilling Conference in March, Mehrdad Shirangi, Staff Data Scientist at ...

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