With New Rig Software, Automated Drilling is Easier To Embrace

Topics: Drilling automation Drilling operations Shale oil
Source: National Oilwell Varco.
Described as an autopilot for rigs, a new process system for drilling rigs allows many of the most routine drilling tasks to be carried out by a computer program. The human driller in this case becomes a process overseer.

Last summer, while being moved from one well pad to the next, a rig in the Delaware Basin of Texas was updated with some new software. It took 11 hours to complete, and after the rig was powered back up, it went on to drill the vertical section of a horizontal well almost 3 days ahead of schedule.

Aside from boasting an impressive stat line, that well represents an important milestone for National Oilwell Varco (NOV) because it is the first to be drilled using the company’s closed-loop automated drilling system in conjunction with a recently launched rig operating system, which the company technically refers to as a process automation system. NOV is telling customers that this technology not only lowers the cost of field development, but delivers higher quality and straighter wellbores through its consistent performance.

That automated program in Texas has concluded, but the combined technology package is now being used to drill shale wells on four rigs in the US and one in Canada. There are 16 separate orders for the new process system. These contracts for NOV follow more than 5 years spent using the hardware kit, which includes wired-pipe and a weight-on-bit controller, to drill through more than 2.5 million ft of conventional and unconventional formations.

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With New Rig Software, Automated Drilling is Easier To Embrace

Trent Jacobs, JPT Digital Editor

01 June 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 6