Technology Focus: Drilling Systems Automation and Management (September 2018)
- John Macpherson (Baker Hughes, a GE Company)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 98 - 98
- 2018. 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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Signs of maturity in drilling systems automation are evident in the success stories filtering out of technical conferences and in the attraction of top university talent to an annual, international, drilling-systems-automation contest.
This international university competition is focused on designing an automated (push-the-button) drilling rig. It is sponsored by the SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section and is referred to as Drillbotics (www.drillbotics.org). It is not only about automating equipment, however. The system must drill a quality hole in a block of unknown composition. The competition has raised aware-ness of drilling systems automation in academia and now shares space with an elite group of university competitions, among them Shell’s Eco-marathon and SpaceX’s Hyperloop.
Drilling-systems-automation products are now being released commercially. These are primarily focused on drilling optimization and wellbore positioning. Several approaches are being considered for the latter—automated placement of the wellbore in 3D space—including auto-mated slide drilling and automated use of rotary steerables. The benefit of these systems is becoming obvious as demanned and even unmanned directional-drilling operations are starting to take hold in the US land environment.
A couple of upcoming drilling-systems-automation sessions are of interest. The first is at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 24–26 September, in Dallas addressing “The Automation of Well Placement.” The focus is on the successful integration of multiple technologies to allow the next steps in automated directional drilling: geosteering and reservoir navigation. The second is a session on the “Digital Twin for Drilling” at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, 5–7 March 2019, in The Hague. As described by the conference, “a digital twin integrates real-time data with both physics-based and data-driven models of a physical asset to create a dynamic understanding and optimization of its design, operation, performance, and maintenance.”
As you can see, significant progress is occurring in drilling systems automation, and I hope you can participate in both sessions guiding systems automation for drilling and as a Drillbotics volunteer guiding the talent for the future of the industry.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
IADC/SPE 189653 Reducing Stick/Slip by Avoiding Autodriller-Control Dysfunction by Derek Adam, Occidental, et al.
IADC/SPE 189691 Automated Directional Drilling Software and Remote Operations Centers Drive Rig Fleet Well Delivery Improvement by Colin Gillan, Nabors Industries, et al.
SPE 187447 Challenges and Lessons From Implementing a Real-Time Drilling Advisory System by Benjamin J. Spivey, ExxonMobil, et al.
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