Educating Future Drilling Engineers for the Digital Era

Eustes III, Alfred W. (Colorado School of Mines) | McKenna, Kirtland I. (Colorado School of Mines) | Zody, Zach J. (Colorado School of Mines) | Healy, Carl (Colorado School of Mines) | Lang, Camden (XTO) | Joshi, Deep (Colorado School of Mines) | Yow, Stephen (Chevron) | McGowen, Kyle (Shell)

OnePetro 

Abstract

Drilling education must evolve continuously to keep up with the changes in the drilling industry. Part of that evolution includes the addition of data analytics in drilling operations. In addition, having a "hands on" experience of actual drilling operations is an important part of the drilling engineering educational process. At the Colorado School of Mines, both goals are achieved using a new coring rig equipped with a high-frequency data acquisition system.

A Sandvik DE 130 Diamond Coring Rig was acquired by the school through a grant from Apache Corporation that has proven to be an excellent analog to full-scale petroleum rigs. It has all drilling subsystems such as rotary, hoisting, power, and circulation. A data acquisition system has been added that tracks accelerations as well as various drilling operational parameters. During experiments, each student has an opportunity to operate the driller's controls and experience the complexities associated with drilling operations including the occasional error. The retrieved core helps the student correlate the formation with drilling data.

The inclusion of the drilling experience in the curriculum has benefited the students in several aspects. This experience has helped students visualize drilling operations and understand complexities and challenges associated with drilling. During the drilling operations, if any problems arise, the students have a chance to troubleshoot those problems in real-time and apply their theoretical knowledge. Operational safety and stop work authority are also a focus and demonstrated by students. This is likely to be the first experience most students have with high-frequency drilling data analysis. Monitoring, collecting, and handling real high-volume data gives a first glimpse into the complexities of data analytics. Noisy realtime data and errors are real and observed by the students. They also learn to handle and analyze high- frequency drilling data identifying normal trends and abnormalities. This coring rig has enhanced the drilling engineering education and data analysis skills of our students.

This work outlines a novel teaching methodology that combines the practical understanding of drilling and the application of data analytics. Getting out to the field and actually drilling rock has enhanced our drilling curriculum to align it with the latest industry practice and to educate future drilling engineers.