Drilling Technology and Rigs
When considering the most significant aspects of new drilling technology to highlight for SPE readers, the latest downhole tools, rig design, and operational procedures often make the headlines. This year, however, a case can be made that the most profound advancements exceed anything achievable with new tools, procedures, or machines.
On 29 November, the San Antonio Business Journal reported a major oil company had sold a nearby data center to a West Coast cloud-computing giant in a deal estimated at $100 million. The next day, the companies executed a strategic contract to partner and further implement digitization of upstream assets in a cloud-computing environment. The oil company executive involved said, “We have started digitizing our oil fields but want to accelerate deployment of new technologies that position us to increase revenues, lower costs, and improve safety and reliability of our operations.” Far from an isolated event, this case is but one example of an overall trend revolutionizing our industry. Perhaps this is the dominant technology evolution transforming our landscape today.
Because drilling and well construction typically involve the majority of the cost and risk for upstream projects, this new revolution is inevitably the game changer for overall health, safety, and environment; efficiency; and financial performance on wells. Phrases such as “dawn of the new age of the oil and gas industry” and “the fourth industrial revolution” echoed through halls of SPE events in 2017 and into the new year, with rapid advancements in big-data management, digital connectivity, and high-performance computing (paper OTC 27638). Exciting developments in new downhole tools, fluids, and rig design continue to advance, with gains in safety and efficiency being multiplied by this transformation. The new revolution is also occurring in parallel with accelerated applications of managed-pressure- and underbalanced-drilling technology. The authors of highlighted paper SPE 185283 suggest the benefits of the technique collectively categorized as closed-loop drilling and the new drilling convention are so numerous that, indeed, all future rig operations should be configured as such. Concurrent with these trends toward increased data acquisition, data analysis, and remote control, automation of rig functionality continues as a primary focus and area of great potential across operator, rig-contractor, and equipment-supplier boundaries.
The 3-year industry downturn persisting through 2017 brought an unprecedented purging of paradigms. But perhaps the extreme pressure to reduce costs and add value has indeed forced the innovation and acceleration being realized today during this new revolution.
This Month's Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
OTC 27638 The Dawn of the New Age of the Industrial Internet and How It Can Radically Transform the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry by Partha Sharma, DNV GL, et al.
SPE/IADC 184695 Development to Delivery—A Collaborative Approach to Implementing Drilling Automation by Riaz Israel, BP, et al.
SPE 187477 Latest Drilling Techniques Applied to Coring Operations of a Complex Subsurface Geology in WCSB Led to Operational Success and Cost Savings While Setting a Record in North America by Ali Hooshmandkoochi, Seven Generations Energy, et al.
SPE/IADC 184650 The Floating Factory Concept: Engineering Efficiencies Up Front To Reduce Deepwater-Well-Delivery Cost by James Hebert, Diamond Offshore
Drilling Technology and Rigs
Michael H. Weatherl, SPE, Engineering Consultant and President, Well Integrity
01 February 2018
Drilling: What Can We Do To Thrive?
Falling oil prices are the acid test of drilling efficiency. SPE Technical Director Jeff Moss of ExxonMobil talks about ways to build in lasting savings as part of this special report.
Equinor Opens Digital Support Centers in Bid to Create $2 Billion in Value
Two new centers in Bergen, Norway will lean on emerging digital technology to oversee much of the Norwegian operator’s offshore operations.
Wintershall, Seadrill To Use Automated Drilling on Newest Rig
The latest example of the offshore sector's march toward automated wellbore construction will take shape later this year in the North Sea.
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