Technology Focus: Drilling Innovation (February 2020)
- Michael H. Weatherl (Well Integrity)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 44 - 44
- 2020. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Summer jobs working on drilling rigs in western Oklahoma and California in 1980 and ’81 were great adventures. High oil and gas demand meant major and independent operators used some of the latest, state-of-the-art rigs to probe deep into high-pressure reservoirs. Planning and executing wells back then was a manual process with experience, horsepower, pencil, and calculator. My adventures continued after I graduated from college in 1982. Ever-evolving drilling, completion, and subsurface technology characterized the years that followed.
Fast forward to February 2020. “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” the old-timers might say. In many field locations today, old-school machinery and processes remain in place. However, we see artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, machine learning, and related advancements transforming our industry. These developments have been headlines for several years now but will take more time to reach full fruition. Experts agree this is just the beginning. Jensen Huang, chief executive officer and founder of Nvidia, highlighted this during a CNBC interview in November. “We are at the beginning of the AI revolution, one of the most powerful technological forces of all time,” he said. “We’ve created the ability for computers to understand the code of human knowledge. All industries will be transformed.” Huang, an AI visionary, showed a 4D simulation of an unmanned Mars landing craft on final approach going from 12,000 mph to zero in 6 minutes. Such visionaries are also working in upstream exploration and production to achieve remarkable advancements.
A focus on drilling innovation reveals no shortage of SPE papers that exemplify these exciting trends. Without exception, the featured articles reflect increased volumes of surface and downhole data that are being captured and analyzed to enable deep learning, improved efficiency, safety, and value. As noted in paper OTC 29487, oil and gas companies are creating layers of digital knowledge enabling a new generation of AI-driven applications. New insights into mitigation of drillstring vibration, well-control events, and rate-of-penetration optimization follow. Managed-pressure drilling remains a persistent trend that continues to evolve across onshore, offshore, and geographical boundaries, opening new frontiers once seen as out of reach. One need not look to outer space to imagine the extent of breakthroughs to come in the not-too-distant future.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
SPE/IADC 194535 Nitrogen-Cap Drilling: A Managed-Pressure-Drilling Alternative for Highly Fractured Carbonate Reservoirs by Alexey Podust, Tengizchevroil, et al.
SPE 196166 Standardization: Successful Implementation of Driving Consistency in Deepwater Operations by Daniel A. Durey, Shell, et al.
SPE 197942 Innovative Digital Well-Construction-Planning Solution Enhances Coherency and Efficiency of the Drilling-Design Process by Waldemar Szemat-Vielma, Schlumberger, et al.
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