Summary

There is a great deal of interest in the oil and gas industry (OGI) in seeking ways to implement machine learning (ML) to provide valuable insights for increased profitability. With buzzwords such as data analytics, ML, artificial intelligence (AI), and so forth, the curiosity of typical drilling practitioners and researchers is piqued. While a few review papers summarize the application of ML in the OGI, such as Noshi and Schubert (2018), they only provide simple summaries of ML applications without detailed and practical steps that benefit OGI practitioners interested in incorporating ML into their workflow. This paper addresses this gap by systematically reviewing a variety of recent publications to identify the problems posed by oil and gas practitioners and researchers in drilling operations. Analyses are also performed to determine which algorithms are most widely used and in which area of oilwell-drilling operations these algorithms are being used. Deep dives are performed into representative case studies that use ML techniques to address the challenges of oilwell drilling. This study summarizes what ML techniques are used to resolve the challenges faced, and what input parameters are needed for these ML algorithms. The optimal size of the data set necessary is included, and in some cases where to obtain the data set for efficient implementation is also included. Thus, we break down the ML workflow into the three phases commonly used in the input/process/output model. Simplifying the ML applications into this model is expected to help define the appropriate tools to be used for different problems. In this work, data on the required input, appropriate ML method, and the desired output are extracted from representative case studies in the literature of the last decade. The results show that artificial neural networks (ANNs), support vector machines (SVMs), and regression are the most used ML algorithms in drilling, accounting for 18, 17, and 13%, respectively, of all the cases analyzed in this paper. Of the representative case studies, 60% implemented these and other ML techniques to predict the rate of penetration (ROP), differential pipe sticking (DPS), drillstring vibration, or other drilling events. Prediction of rheological properties of drilling fluids and estimation of the formation properties was performed in 22% of the publications reviewed. Some other aspects of drilling in which ML was applied were well planning (5%), pressure management (3%), and well placement (3%). From the results, the top ML algorithms used in the drilling industry are versatile algorithms that are easily applicable in almost any situation. The presentation of the ML workflow in different aspects of drilling is expected to help both drilling practitioners and researchers. Several step-by-step guidelines available in the publications reviewed here will guide the implementation of these algorithms in the resolution of drilling challenges.

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