Successful Adoption of New Technology: Implementation of a Global Drilling Bit Dysfunction and BHA Vibration Initiative

Willis, John (Occidental Oil & Gas Corporation)



Previously published technology that was not used in a company was implemented using a new approach based on marketing technology that resulted in widespread adoption and a lasting change. The drilling technology was available for years in SPE papers. Previous attempts to implement it failed to establish lasting application. The initiative took about two years and resulted in the use of the technology being well established. In addition to the process used to implement the initiative, the drilling technical process is also summarized.

The initiative drove implementation of the use mechanical specific energy (MSE) and other techniques to identify and minimize bit dysfunction and bit and bottomhole assembly vibrations. Full implementation of the techniques required drilling managers, superintendents, and engineers in the office, company drill site managers on rigs, and drilling contractor and service company personnel both on site and in the office all to understand the value of the technology, as well as know how to apply it.

The implementation process included an initial awareness phase of sharing successes by early adopters to create demand for the technology. Implementation included comprehensive training, management support, technical tools, and ongoing support.

The result of the initiative was a dramatic improvement in drilling performance. Significant increases in rates of penetration were achieved with virtually no added operational cost. Good results have been obtained in all business units, and the processes have evolved into routine practices.

The key conclusion is that proven marketing techniques can be adapted and applied to internal initiatives. The technology of marketing is effective and available, but adapting it to use internally is not trivial or obvious. On some previous initiatives, the approach was to deliver the technology, then create demand for it. The technique used this time was to create the demand first, then deliver the technology. This approach was successful in reducing opposition.

Early adopters must be identified and supported. Their initial successes are used to create demand for the technology and willingness to participate in training and learning. Training must be delivered to all of the people involved to enable application of the new process or technology.

Management support and technical support are both essential to get past difficulties. Patience and understanding are the best techniques to deal with resistance. Ultimately, successful results are the key to full adoption, but successful results cannot be achieved without the previous steps.

This case history includes both the principles and the application to a real case, with enough information on the drilling technology to understand the marketing process. The novel and additive information is how to adapt marketing technology for internal use, which is important for companies to adopt new technology faster.