Drilling Automation Saves Rig Time and Safeguards Against Human Error

Photo courtesy of Kjetil Eide/Statoil
Driller at Johan Sverdrup field

This paper shows how automation reduces invisible lost time and allows drillers to focus on other activities while repetitive tasks are controlled by software. An automated drilling-control system using advanced modeling of well conditions in the North Sea helped the rig save up to 10% of rig time per well through safeguarding and optimizing manual operations and automating repetitive activities such as tripping, pipe filling, connections, and pump startup.


To explain why the real-time model-based automated system deployed on the rig was capable of saving up to 10% of rig time, the following factors must be considered:

  • The effect that time and temperature have on drilling-fluid properties and thereby why conventional operations must be kept at a conservative level compared with automated operations tuned to current downhole conditions
  • The reduction of invisible lost time and the realization of faster, smoother drilling operations with fewer unplanned drilling events, obtained through shorter connection times, automated pump startups and shutdowns, automated friction tests, and active (automated) safeguards and safety triggers that assist drillers during manual operations
  • The human factors and team efforts to optimize operations further wherever possible
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 177825, “Breakthrough in Drilling Automation Saves Rig Time and Safeguards Against Human Error,” by Egill Abrahamsen, SPE, and Ronny Bergerud, Sekal, and Roald Kluge and Matthew King, Statoil, prepared for the 2015 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, 9–12 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Drilling Automation Saves Rig Time and Safeguards Against Human Error

13 August 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 9


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