The following-up of drilling operations in "real time" from a remote location has been on the wish list of some drillers for quite a long time. In recent years, this has become a reality with phenomenal advances in digital technologies, satellite communications, remotely controlled systems, and collaboration centers that allow locations in different parts of the world to follow up on an operation on a round-the-clock basis.

The primary objective for the exploration drilling of oil and gas wells is to find and develop new energy sources that can meet the energy demands of the future. It is also universally accepted that this objective must be met safely and efficiently.

Real-time operations go a long way toward ensuring safety for the oilfield; the ability to remotely monitor operations avoids the need for experts or other non-essential people on location. This reduces the exposure risks associated with travel or rigsite presence for a number of people. The safety factor extends beyond the physical transportation or presence of individuals at a work location because, by monitoring subsurface pore pressure trends, shallow flow hazards can be detected early and a recourse taken. The well is essentially under the discernible watch of several experts at critical points ensuring the delivery of a safe and efficient well.

Several other operational benefits can be realized from real-time operations. This paper discusses several of the tangible gains realized from this type of operation and the future it holds for its users.

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