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Someday Soon, A Computer Will Do The Report for the Morning Meeting

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There is one form of drilling automation that does not appear to alarm engineers: an automated daily report creator.

The feedback on a project to do just that was all positive when it was offered as a new application at a customer meeting put on by Moblize, a company that offers an online platform that makes it easier to manipulate and analyze data.

An app that generates and distributes a formatted report suitable for the morning drilling meeting is under development by the young company whose future depends on a growing array of tools to analyze and present data.

James, project manager, drilling, for Moblize, asks for
feedback on new applications, including one to
automate report creation, at a meeting
with oil companies.

Automating the morning report is “high on our value creation ranking,” said Chris James, project manager, drilling, for Moblize. His thinking is, companies are paying the engineers supervising drilling projects a lot of money so “so why should they be taking time out to be writing reports?”

The argument for computer-generated reports is also based on personal experience—James recalled his days managing drilling for a large independent where squeezing report writing into a day was a “nightmare.” Often, after it was done, something big happened that should have been in there.

The goal is to combine performance tables based on real-time data—which has been available since the start of the year—using software that automatically generates a professional-looking report integrating graphics, and comments by those in charge. Delivery can be scheduled using email or posted on a website. The updated document can also be constantly accessible, serving as a performance dashboard.

That app is an example of Moblize’s business plan. It has brought on 40 exploration and production (E&P) companies as customers over the past 18 months using a personal approach in an intensely competitive business.

Moblize’s business plan was inspired by social media businesses built around communities of like-minded users who are loyal to a fee-based platform because it regularly offers new things that help them do their jobs as well as allowing them to use their software on it.

“Users in E&P companies are the consumer,” said Amit Meta, the founder and CEO of the company, which is moving next into completions. He added, “We want to get to the point where engineers love to use it.”

The relationship and ease of use are critical because the performance metrics its customers want to track are not unique. It uses tracking-performance indicators ranging from connection times to downtime, from the rate of penetration to the percentage of time spent sliding during directional drilling. The fact that cloud-based analytics needs to be packaged in such a traditional format is a reminder that while digital analysis is growing, selling those ideas means still making a case for something at a meeting.

As one manager in the conference crowd put it, “phase one is to put them (performance charts) in the morning report because that is the habit.”

Moblize is trying to create “a virtually complete morning report without any people required to type it each day,” James said. They are considering a voice command system, such as like Apple’s Siri, to limit the time spent typing. And someday the software might be able to analyze the comments posted, seeking patterns about small concerns that could point to bigger issues.

So far only a small group of users is testing the beta version of the report software. But many are regularly sharing drilling performance charts with their teams. Brian Cocchiere, a drilling engineer for SRC Energy, said the charts “allowed us to identify what to work on with the fellows.”

Every couple of weeks he pulls data from the five or so wells his company has drilled in the Niobrara to track:

  • Drill bit performance by maker. He and others in the group do their own analysis of what combination of bottomhole assembly components perform best, which varies by well. A comment repeated at the conference is that engineers are often wary of performance figures offered by vendors.

  • Drilling results compared rig by rig and shift by shift. The differences can literally be as clear as day and night.

  • Speed measured several ways—the rate of penetration (ROP), pipe connection time, and the time it takes to trip the drillstring in and out of the hole.

Other presenters said that regularly tracking similar measures improved performance. The numbers can allow better equipment and service choices, or point to problems worth further scrutiny. They can also promote competition.

“Drillers love to compare themselves to other drillers,” said Chris Caskey, drilling engineer for Marathon Oil. That could help explain why we have “started seeing consistently fast verticals throughout the whole rig fleet.”

Awareness can be motivating. James recalled working on a drilling rig crew that shaved one day off the time needed to drill a well. The crew was feeling good about its performance until it heard that a competitor had shaved 3 days off its well.

But managers at the conference cautioned that the simple, blunt messages in charts need to be qualified in face-to-face meetings because drilling is a complicated task.

“It is not there to point fingers. It is what to work on,” Cocchiere said. If the night shift has been tripping out of the hole slowly, the day shift needs to consider how to reduce time without going to the other extreme where they “rip it (the drillstring) out and swab a well.”

“The last thing you need is a 100 ft flare coming up out of walls,” Cocchiere said, adding: “We want to be efficient but do not want an incident and have the fire department coming out.”

Someday Soon, A Computer Will Do The Report for the Morning Meeting

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

19 June 2018


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