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Drilling Rigs & Automation

Closed-loop drilling optimization system: implementation and field results from large-scale deployment

Parameter limit roadmaps played key role in ROP/MSE optimization, while automated protocols allowed for mitigation of drilling dysfunctions By Stephen Lai, Lars Olesen, James Ng, Aaron Eddy, Sergey Khromov, Dan Paslawski and Ryan van Beurden, Pason Systems; Gregory S. Payette, Benjamin J. Spivey, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company The goal of practical automation is to perform repetitive, precise and rule-based tasks. Rotary drilling performance can be maximized by continuous adjustment of WOB and RPM in response to changes in ROP and mechanical specific energy (MSE) while detecting and mitigating dysfunction. This workflow is a prime candidate for automation; however, developing the technology for wide-scale use presents technical and human-factor challenges. This article describes learnings from a control and optimization system that ...

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Blockchain may pave the way for easier, more transparent execution of performance-based contracts

Smart contracts present collaborative mechanisms for operators to ensure they get what they paid for, and for contractors to be paid promptly for service delivered By Andrew Bruce, Data Gumbo Drilling contractors often face an uphill battle when it comes to getting paid based on their daily drilling activities and reimbursable expenses. The average service delivery-to-payment process currently runs 60 days or more, leaving drilling contractors with elongated days sales outstanding (DSO). Although an operator’s representative signs the contractor’s Daily Drilling Report (DDR), they frequently keep separate records of events in other systems, leading to reconciliation errors. After an operator approves all the hours and coding for daily operations, invoices and payments are often held up by single line items ...

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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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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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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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Audio interview: Machine learning tools facilitate remote BOP monitoring

In mid-May, Aquila Engineering completed a pilot project on a remote BOP third-party verification system with an operator in the Gulf of Mexico. The system builds upon the company’s real-time BOP monitoring technology, which utilizes machine learning tools like dynamic fault tree analysis to enable real-time monitoring of an offshore BOP...

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GOM, Norway case studies show how dual-physics imaging enhances geological characterization in real time

Technology delivers high-definition resistivity, acoustic images while drilling in oil-based mud, enabling more informed decision making By Vera Krissetiawati Wibowo and Chandramani Shrivastava, Schlumberger Borehole imaging has many applications for drilling geomechanics, reservoir characterization and production optimization. With the advances in logging-while-drilling (LWD) technologies, applications of image logs have widened to support real-time operations and decisions. However, non-conductive mud poses a barrier for resistivity-based high-definition imaging, which limits the application during drilling with oil-based mud (OBM) or synthetic-based mud. Experience over years has suggested that geological features respond better to resistivity-based imaging than any other method. Operators drilling in OBM face challenges determining depositional facies in reservoir evaluation workflows. Wireline images have served as a conventional solution for such applications ...

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Gas-powered engines boost efficiency using energy storage, automation

Integrated electronic controls were also key in enabling reductions in fuel use and engine operating hours during six-month land rig demonstration By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor Land drilling rigs are typically powered by a set of diesel-fueled generators, but lean-burning natural gas has become an attractive alternative fuel for drillers, in part because of its lower environmental impact. According to the US Energy Information Administration, natural gas burns approximately 27% fewer pounds of CO2/Btu. However, natural gas generators are not a foolproof solution. The electrical loads on a rig can be highly transient, varying by more than 2 MW in a matter of seconds. Traditional natural gas generator sets did not provide an acceptable transient response without the use of ...

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