Collaborative Approach to Implementation Helps Realize Benefits of Drilling Automation

The application of automated technologies to the process of well construction is emerging as key to improving the overall efficiency of drilling performance. Though not yet mainstream, several recent applications have demonstrated that technology maturity is no longer the limiting factor in accelerating implementation and realizing the benefits of automation. This paper describes a collaborative effort between an operator, a drilling contractor, and a service company to introduce specific aspects of automated technology to a major drilling operation.

Project Context and Technology Business Drivers

In 2012, the company began developing a giant gas greenfield that required nearly 300 wells to be drilled. Among the many challenges on a project of this magnitude was the need to drive well-construction costs down. An important aspect of well-construction cost is the time spent drilling, which is largely influenced by the slow rate of penetration (ROP) prevalent in the field because of the high rock strength. In order to deliver the performance enhancements required, the company set up an integrated hard-rock drilling team.

In addition to the objective of increasing ROP, several other aspects of the technology made it attractive. These include that

  • Automation presents a systematic approach to improve consistency of performance across multiple rigs and wells.
  • Automation can supplement the competency and capacity of drillers.
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 184695, “Development to Delivery—A Collaborative Approach to Implementing Drilling Automation,” by Riaz Israel, SPE, Julian Farthing, SPE, and Hamish Walker, BP; Rodrigo Gallo Covarrubias and Jason Bryant, Schlumberger; and Christian Vahle, KCA Deutag Drilling, prepared for the 2017 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, The Hague, 14–16 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Collaborative Approach to Implementation Helps Realize Benefits of Drilling Automation

01 September 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 9

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