The exact definition of all types of activities in well construction, from spud to completion, is an area of great challenges for an automation system to function successfully in. In an operation plan, these activities can be categorized into three subgroups: standard and repetitive sub-activities, customized sub-activities, and manual sub-activities. A digitalized detailed operation procedure (DOP) provides the appropriate context by defining the machine-readable version of these activities.

Digitalizing a DOP is achieved by splitting it into individual parts, categorizing them into activities, checks, risks, lessons learned, best practices, and operational parameters and constraints. This paper focuses on manual sub-activities (e.g. close/open valves or nippling up) in which start and end time are acknowledged manually; pre-defined sub-activities (e.g. drilling and tripping) which are defined by repetitive tasks (e.g. drilling, lower string, lifting string and connections); and custom sub-activities (e.g. recording slack off and pick up weight or pressure tests) which can be customized for a tool, company, or operation with limited tasks (e.g. increase flowrate or reduce rotation).

Adopting this approach guarantees:

  • An unbroken consistency between the planned, executed and reported phases of an operation as the digitalized DOP is directly connected to the automation system and the detailed log of executed activities are recorded.

  • Enabling automation of longer sequences as the rig state transition between activities is managed seamlessly. This also applies when it is interrupted by manual operations like making up casing hangers.

  • Quality check and improvement of the automatically performed activities by using real-time models. This is not limited to the normal repetitive sub-activities such as drilling or tripping. They can be used for every related custom sub-activity, e.g., hydraulic modelling after the opening of a circulation sub or torque and drag calculations after releasing a liner running tool.

Having a software library consisting of categorized, distinguishable manual and automatic activities lets the user describe with precision the operational tasks in a standardized digital format. With each automatic activity being readable and recognizable by the rig automation system, the system can execute longer and broader sequences of activities securely and cost-effectively, where the sequence is well defined.

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