Drill string telemetry technology allowing reliable data transmission at speeds up to 57,600 bits per second has recently been utilized on two separate offshore locations in the Norwegian North Sea. The results from these deployments prove that a reliable technology exists for high-bandwidth, bi-directional communication between the downhole sensors and surface. This technology overcomes the existing industry challenge related to low bandwidth and time lag associated with mud pulse telemetry.

The drilling industry is facing substantial challenges as the remaining petroleum reserves are found in more and more complex environments. Slow overall drilling progress and considerable time and costs related to unproductive time are often seen in the challenging wells needed to tap these reserves. The traditional way of controlling the drilling process seems to have reached its limits.

The high-speed telemetry drill pipe technology gives access to large amounts of high-resolution data in real-time. The data can be divided into two main groups drilling process data and formation evaluation data.

This paper will primarily focus on the drilling process data and how downhole data can be used in real-time to improve the drilling process. Further, the paper will discuss several drilling operations which can be significantly improved by using high-resolution data in real-time. Short- and medium-term potential benefits will be considered. Required further development of the technology will be discussed together with its practical applications. The paper will also focus on how drill string telemetry technology will be a key enabler for future coupling between downhole sensors and surface control systems. This will open up for more automation of the different drilling processes and a real step change in drilling process control.

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