Industries other than the drilling industry have largely adopted process automation, up to the level of full autonomy. Drilling automation technologies are becoming available, but uptake is slow. One major challenge is successfully motivating all actors in the complex work organization that is drilling. The authors believe that a change is required in business models and ways of measuring success in order to achieve this.

Using existing computerized process models, tools may be generated for automatic optimization of drilling performance. The same methodology may be used for evaluating drilling operations to determine the quality of the operation. In comparing with optimal performance, key performance indicators (KPIs) may directly reflect the benefits of automation. An analysis of known automation functions is performed, covering application areas and the effect on safety and efficiency in the drilling process. Key attributes of the same automation functions are evaluated in order to gain proper understanding of the complexities in developing good business models.

Automation technology built on optimization methods allows for development of new KPIs that are a direct measure of the quality of the process. However, current automation efforts reveal value conflicts in the work organization. Such conflicts must be resolved if the potential of automation is to be fulfilled. Once such conflicts are resolved, the building of fresh contractual models and the standardization of KPIs will make it easier for the industry to cooperate and move forward in using new automation technology.

The novelty in the proposed approach lies in resolving goal conflicts in the work organization with reference to overall value, based on which business and contractual models properly reflect the benefits and value of drilling systems automation technology applied in the current work organization.

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