Proven automation technologies have made remarkable advances in efficiency, productivity, and quality for a number of industries. Now, the drilling industry looks to replicate this success. Drilling automation may hold the key to successfully performing intricate and high-speed tasks, thus helping to make complex wells technically and economically feasible. For projects comprising many wells in which conditions are understood, the repetitive nature of automated drilling may eliminate the costs of performance variability typically exhibited within a drilling program.
Automating the drilling process requires an engineering loop that includes learning so the system can anticipate and manage drilling surprises swiftly and correctly every time. Simultaneously, just as a plane on autopilot requires an actual pilot in the cockpit, a driller is still essential during drilling, ready to take control of the operation at any time.
An article in the Summer 2012 issue of Oilfield Review examines ongoing efforts to bring drilling automation to the oil and gas industry for more efficient, safer, and higher quality drilling operations. Case studies from Mexico illustrate how automated drilling systems can optimize penetration rates without the learning curve that often accompanies new drilling programs. The article also discusses a North Sea project aimed at automating the measurement of drilling fluids.
Read the full article by visiting the Oilfield Review Web site.
Aldred W, Bourque J, Mannering M, Chapman C, du Castel B, Hansen R, Downton G, Harmer R, Falconer I, Florence F, Godinez Zurita E, Nieto C, Stauder R and Zamora M: “Drilling Automation,” Oilfield Review 24, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 18–27.