In the last years drilling industry is rapidly, changing from mechanized/manual rig solutions to fully automated hands-free remotely controlled drilling operations. This is mainly driven by the strive to achieve consistent high operational speeds.

The automated rig minimizes man's factor on the performance equation. However, new types of operations require new equipment with new requirements. The other main driver is to decrease total well delivery time and costs by reducing or eliminating flat time and improving drilling performance. To meet these significant industry challenges a contractor, together with a rig manufacturer set an ambitious target by introducing automation into the whole drilling process to cut total well cost on 30% for a project where the contractor intends to drill wells with total depth up to 1400 meter.

To reach the target the new rig needs to be extremely mobile, have less personnel, automated pipe and casing handling, smart mud system, automated drilling capabilities, directional drilling through remote operating centers, have next generation digital interface etc. Another great aspect of such automated rig is improved safety by removing people from dangerous areas.

Full automation depends on knowing exactly where the tubular is at each moment of the process. This required a new design for the steelwork to provide sufficient stiffness as well as the right sensor packag

The above resulted in the first onshore system in the industry that provides fully automated tripping (RIH and POOH) and automated casing running, included automated casing connections. The connection time during drilling operations has been reduced by 20-30% in comparison to manual handling.

To reduce the time between rig release and spud on the next well to hours instead days, a trailer-mounted solution is introduced with advanced BOP handling and offline testing.

Further incremental improvements will be made possible by collecting all rig and downhole data on the server and share this via the open source server (OPC-UA). The same server is controlling mud system, downhole data, cementing unit and other important systems. From here the processed data is sent to the cloud based digital eco system, and shared with the back office. Real time setpoints can be submitted back to the rig to adjust the auto driller, enabling maximum drilling speeds. The rif control system will interface with the remote data system from the contractor that enables an interconnected rig fleet that connects all the activity on a rig, end-to-end process automation and advanced QA/QC on all aspects of drilling.

The intention with the new technology is to offer a full section automated well construction service.

Such an integrated design approach, rather than adding sensors to existing steel, enables the biggest time and cost savings and is a game changer for the complete well delivery process

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