The highly fragmented nature of drilling and completion operations results in complex interactions that inhibit performance and systems automation. Reorganization into interconnected systems in a designed architecture aligned to key performance requirements and constraints solves this fragmentation. This realigned systems architecture provides a solid foundation to effectively measure and drive system performance, and implement drilling systems automation.
In current wellsite activities, the "operation state" identifies activities in drilling and completion operations, and is critical for accurate performance measurements, in managing automation modes, and in activating automation controls. Although a definition of operation states related to drilling ("drilling states") exists, there is significant work remaining to validate a complete spectrum of these states, and to define completion states, wellbore states and other operation states.
Systems architecture developed through systems engineering is a well-established practice in the automobile, aviation and aerospace industries. It enables multiple suppliers to coordinate their efforts toward commonly agreed performance criteria.
Applying systems architecture to drilling and completion operations will concurrently enable more appropriate performance measures and drivers while creating the necessary foundation for effective drilling systems automation.
Drilling performance measurement from sensor data has become a common practice. Processing relies on defining the drilling state at any time by detecting various machine operations, and then measuring the duration of the defined state to understand its effect on cycle time for drilling and completing a well. Current practice relies on the machine operations of raising and lowering the blocks, rotating pipe and pumping fluid. The system is usually blind to those activities that do not involve these operations.
The drilling systems automation roadmap (de Wardt et al. 2015) recognized the need to use defined drilling states, and other operational states, to match the correct control application with the current rig activity, borehole condition, equipment condition, etc.
This paper describes the concept of systems architecture as applied to drilling oil and gas wells. It explains how to develop systems architecture for specific drilling projects. The paper discusses the development of a range of operational states for performance monitoring and systems automation. These guidelines will enable all parties involved in either monitoring performance or implementing systems automation to use a common framework in a coherent and effective manner.
A robust systems architecture combined with fully vetted operational states enables highly complex autonomous operations in automotive and aerospace applications. Autonomous operations are growing from current applications in autopilot jumbo jets and the Mars rover to future applications such as autonomous automobiles. Implementation of these concepts in drilling and completing wells will support the effective application of systems automation, and have a significant positive impact on measuring and improving performance.