Drilling systems automation requires a downhole digital backbone for closed-loop control, as do many other real-time drilling, completion and production operations. The absence of a reliable, high data bandwidth, bi-directional communication method between surface and downhole is a barrier to digitalization and automation of the oil field. This paper describes the development and successful drilling field trial of a micro-repeater wired pipe – effectively "smart pipe" – that removes this barrier.
The developed system uses battery-powered micro-repeaters (a fail-safe signal booster) placed within the box of each tubular and fully encapsulated dual RF-resonant antennas to transmit data between tubulars. The current system delivers 1-Mbps backbone data rate with a maximum payload of 720 kbps, and with a very low latency of 15 μsec/km, making it ideal for control-loop applications. The system design focusses on reliability: failure of multiple components will not affect telemetry. The prototype system has been rigorously field tested during drilling in Oklahoma.
Testing occurred on a drilling rig in Beggs, Oklahoma. The first trial (2016) covered drilling operations, the second (2017) covered controlling downhole technology; both were successful. The drilling trial demonstrated fitting the system to pipe with conventional API connections, standard rig-floor pipe handling, reliable wireless transmission between surface receivers and wired pipe network, the use of multiple along-string measurements of temperature and vibration, and simulated component failure. Of particular note was the surface system: it is wireless and no modification to the drilling rig was required.
Conventional tubulars can be refit with the system, which removes a barrier to the use of wired pipe for automation and LWD/MWD measurements in lower cost onshore operations. There is a benefit for drilling operations: all pipe joints contain a micro-repeater and are addressable for "smart pipe" applications such as an electronic pipe tally, and pipe condition monitoring. Drilling operations are the first users of the system, but it serves other operations, for example tubing conveyed wireline operations. The smart wired pipe concept is truly innovative. It enables drilling systems automation and logging-while-drilling applications, such as seismic-while-drilling with along-string sensors, by providing a fully open acquisition and control platform to the industry.
Pastusek, Paul (ExxonMobil Development Co.) | Payette, Greg (ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co.) | Shor, Roman (University of Calgary) | Cayeux, Eric (Norce) | Aarsnes, Ulf Jakob (Norce) | Hedengren, John (Brigham Young University) | Menand, Stéphane (DrillScan) | Macpherson, John (Baker Hughes GE) | Gandikota, Raju (MindMesh Inc.) | Behounek, Michael (Apache Corp.) | Harmer, Richard (Schlumberger) | Detournay, Emmanuel (University of Minnesota) | Illerhaus, Roland (Integrity Directional) | Liu, Yu (Shell Development Co.)
The drilling industry has substantially improved performance based on knowledge from physics-based, statistical, and empirical models of components and systems. However, most models and source code have been recreated multiple times, which requires significant effort and energy with little additional benefit or stepwise improvements. The authors propose that it is time to form a coalition of industry and academic leaders to support an open source effort for drilling, to encourage the reuse of continuously improving models and coding efforts. The vision for this guiding coalition is to 1) set up a repository for source code, data, benchmarks, and documentation, 2) encourage good coding practices, 3) review and comment on the models and data submitted, 4) test, use and improve the code, 5) propose and collect anonymized real data, 6) attract talent and support to the effort, and 7) mentor those getting started. Those interested to add their time and talent to the cause may publish their results through peer-reviewed literature.
The promise of drilling systems automation is to increase well construction efficiency, delivering quality wells in a safe, reliable and predictable manner. This promise is achieved in part by creating a digital infrastructure that extends vertically from the drill bit to the remote enterprise, and horizontally from exploration to production. Critical to the success of automation is the unimpeded flow of quality data through this infrastructure. This paper focuses on studying only drilling systems automation, but the lessons learned can be applied to other disciplines such as completions and production.
Due to the disconnected nature of the well construction business with multiple disciplines and companies involved, data silos and restrictions are numerous. This paper describes the development of a wellsite-based automation system consisting of an open data aggregator, with networked surface and downhole sensors and real-time applications for process monitoring, advice and control. The data aggregator is designed to allow all relevant parties to access and share data in a high-velocity deterministic environment. This access and sharing permits easy implementation of comprehensive drilling system automation, be it monitoring, advising or control, in a controlled, productive and safe manner. The paper also describes the implementation of automation applications using data from the aggregator, covering real-time drilling optimization and hydraulics.
Operation of the data aggregator at the wellsite with connection to rig systems and remote operating centers is described. The data aggregator uses protocols that are international standards, and it is designed to be open and not proprietary. From an implementation standpoint, this allows easy interface of the aggregator to measurement and control systems, and access to copious third-party communication products, reducing development time and increasing reliability. Observations are that many rig instrumentation and control systems use either customized or proprietary protocols; common data information standards are lacking in the oilfield. In addition, data ownership and governance must be addressed at an industry level, as well as secure bi-directional flow of data between wellsite and town. While these topics are, to some extent, being addressed in industry road-mapping and guidance groups, progress is slow and this hinders the adoption of technology.
The paper describes the development and implementation of an open data aggregator for the wellsite. The aggregator allows third-party real-time applications to use and share data, and to collaborate on industry standards. It further describes the development of automation applications riding on the data aggregator, and their use in drilling systems automation. This case study illustrates and examines issues that must be addressed at the company and industry level to move universal drilling systems automation closer to reality.
Stefánsson, Ari (HS Orka) | Duerholt, Ralf (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Schroder, Jon (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Macpherson, John (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Hohl, Carsten (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Kruspe, Thomas (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Eriksen, Tor-Jan (Baker Hughes, a GE company)
The typical rating for downhole measurement-while-drilling equipment for oil and gas drilling is between 150°C and 175°C. There are currently few available drilling systems rated for operation at temperatures above 200°C. This paper describes the development, testing and field deployment of a drilling system comprised of drill bits, positive displacement motors and drilling fluids capable of drilling at operating temperatures up to 300°C. It also describes the development and testing of a 300°C capable measurement-while-drilling platform.
The development of 300°C technologies for geothermal drilling also extends tool capabilities, longevity and reliability at lower oilfield temperatures. New technologies developed in this project include 300°C drill bits, metal-to-metal motors, and drilling fluid, and an advanced hybrid electronics and downhole cooling system for a measurement-while-drilling platform. The overall approach was to remove elastomers from the drilling system and to provide a robust "drilling-ready" downhole cooling system for electronics. The project included laboratory testing, field testing and full field deployment of the drilling system. The US Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office partially funded the project.
The use of a sub-optimal drilling system due to the limited availability of very high temperature technology can result in unnecessarily high overall wellbore construction costs. It can lead to short runs, downhole tool failures and poor drilling rates. The paper presents results from the testing and deployment of the 300°C drilling system. It describes successful laboratory testing of individual bottom-hole-assembly components, and full-scale integration tests on an in-house research rig. The paper also describes the successful deployment of the 300°C drilling system in the exploratory geothermal well IDDP-2 as part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project. The well reached a measured depth of 4659m, by far the deepest in Iceland. The paper includes drilling performance data and the results of post-run analysis of bits and motors used in this well, which confirm the encouraging results obtained during laboratory tests. The paper also discusses testing and performance of the 300°C rated measurement-while-drilling components – hybrid electronics, power and telemetry - and the performance of the drilling tolerant cooling system.
This is the industry's first 300°C capable drilling system, comprising metal-to-metal motors, drill bits, drilling fluid and accompanying measurement-while-drilling system. These new technologies provide opportunities for drilling oil and gas wells in previously undrillable ultra-high temperature environments.
Hohl, Andreas (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Herbig, Christian (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Arevalo, Pedro (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Reckmann, Hanno (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Macpherson, John (Baker Hughes, a GE Company)
Downhole tools in bottom-hole assemblies are subject to high dynamic loads during drilling operations. The negative impacts of these dynamic loads can be inefficient drilling with low rate of penetration (ROP), reduced downhole directional and formation measurement service quality, and downhole tool failures with associated non-productive time.
The dynamic phenomena can be categorized by direction into axial, torsional and lateral vibrations, and by excitation mechanism into forced excitation, self-excitation, and parameter excitation. Forced vibrations are mainly caused by imbalances in the drilling system or by the working principles of downhole tools such as the mud motor. Self-excitation mechanisms are mostly driven by the interaction of the bit, reamer or drilling system with the formation, and can cause detrimental dynamic behavior such as torsional stick-slip, bit bounce, and backward whirl.
These diverse vibration phenomena require tailored mitigation strategies. To a certain extent, these mitigation strategies are contradictory. Misinterpretation of downhole measurements can lead to even worse vibration levels with severe consequences for reliability, ROP, and measurement quality.
As a consequence, downhole measurement devices should differentiate vibration phenomena. This distinct differentiation could then be used to choose appropriate mitigation strategies.
This paper analyses and defines the requirements for dynamics measurement devices. The specification, number, and placement of sensors and their associated sampling rates are examined to distinguish vibration directions and phenomena. The usefulness of these requirements is demonstrated using examples of torsional stick-slip and high-frequency torsional oscillations, lateral vibrations, and backward whirl. The results of kinematic modeling are analyzed and compared to high-speed vibration data from field runs measured with the latest generation of vibration measurement tools. Possible misinterpretation of vibration conditions in the case of inappropriate measurements is shown. The results are discussed by comparing theoretical modeling with field data.
The defined requirements and guidelines enable a flawless interpretation of downhole vibration measurements and unveil drilling optimization opportunities. Different vibration phenomena can be identified reliably and appropriate mitigation strategies applied in real time at the wellsite by the driller or automation systems. This finally reduces the vibration load on the drilling system, increasing its reliability and performance.
Goncalves, Kyle (The University of Texas at Austin) | Ashok, Pradeepkumar (The University of Texas at Austin) | Cavanaugh, Martin (Cavanaugh Consulting) | Macpherson, John (Baker Hughes) | Behounek, Michael (Taylor Thetford) | Nelson, Brian (Apache Corp)
Data exchanges between different electronic data recorder (EDR) systems and personnel occur on a regular basis in a well drilling operation. A significant portion of this data is derived; i.e., calculated or manipulated after sensor measurements. Currently, derived data calculations are poorly documented; therefore, the usefulness of this data diminishes through data transfer. The objective of this work is to define a meta-data framework for derived data.
In this paper, we focus our efforts on one derived data channel, the rate of penetration (ROP) and identify the meta-data required to fully understand the values transferred to the end user. We start by identifying the different types of ROP and document the calculation procedure for each type. Part of the meta-data that needs to be captured involves data transformations that occur when this data stream is moved from one EDR to the next. We interviewed various EDR providers in an attempt to understand their current process.
The different types of ROP calculations and their use in different types of drilling performance analysis are described in this paper. The calculation procedures were implemented and tested on an operator's data aggregation system. This effort also documents different EDR systems and how they handle sensed data required for ROP calculations. A meta-data framework is able to capture not just the calculation used, but also data transformations that occur as data hops from one EDR system to the next. Different data transfer protocols such as WITS0, WITSML, and OPC/UA necessitates a broad meta-data framework. While much of the meta-data can be embedded in the data transfer channel itself, a document describing all relevant meta-data is equally effective in communicating the information. Lastly, the meta-data framework developed here can also be applied to other forms of derived data (such as Hole depth, Bit Depth, WOB, etc.).
This meta-data framework improves the transparency by providing guidelines to data aggregation providers on the type of information that should be supplied to end users. It also provides insights into how data gets transformed from its point of origin (sensor) to its point of consumption. Finally, it also documents the various type of ROPs and their appropriateness for the analysis that is performed using them.
The drilling industry is changing. Equipment providers, service companies, and drilling contractors are redefining the boundaries of their business interests, and these boundaries are evidently quite porous.
Over the past year, workshops and symposia have made it clear that consideration of data and digitalization plays an important role in transforming companies in the drilling industry. Systems automation requires a digital backbone and offers significant performance, cost, and safety benefits. It is not surprising, therefore, that companies are exploring data-analytics techniques and drilling systems automation and that this exploration will define the new boundaries (if any remain) between segments of the well-drilling and -completion industry.
The selected papers on drilling systems automation and management pick out various themes in this transformation. One paper deals with close collaboration between operator, drilling contractor, and service company in automating aspects of a drilling operation. Another paper deals with combined modeling and real-time surveillance and the required awareness by rig crews when operating rig-control systems. The third selection deals with the propagation of uncertainty in drilling and the development of a strategy to optimize performance against risk.
These papers, and the alternative papers, illustrate the integration and collaboration that are necessary for drilling systems automation and management, which is transforming the traditional roles of equipment providers, service companies, and drilling contractors.
One story that is somewhat obscured in the selected papers is that human-factors engineering will play an increasingly important role in our industry as we take care in specifying the role played in automated systems by crews both on the rig and remote to the rig.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
SPE 183022 Detection of Failures and Interpretation of Causes During Drilling Operations by Pål Skalle, IPT, NTNU, et al.
SPE 184168 Using Bayesian Network To Develop Drilling Expert Systems by Abdullah S. Al-Yami, Saudi Aramco, et al.
SPE/IADC 184611 Improving Torque-and-Drag Prediction Using the Advanced-Spline-Curves Borehole Trajectory by Mahmoud F. Abughaban, Colorado School of Mines, et al.
Macpherson, John (Baker Hughes)
Systems automation is generating considerable interest within the drilling community. Results of extended field operations with these systems were published this year. An offshore deployment in the North Sea shows savings of approximately 10%, with exceptional repeatability and optimization of activities such as breaking gels. An onshore deployment in a factory-drilling environment in the Bakken, using wired pipe, shows good results in delivering top-quartile performance while indicating room for improvement in systems automation.
As systems automation becomes more widespread in drilling, simulators are required to plan, train rig crews, and monitor real-time operations. The role of drilling simulators can only increase in the future, because training of crews must improve for automation. Demanning at the wellsite is feasible only if the remaining crewmembers are well-trained across multiple disciplines. Real-time monitoring using simulators is not new, but it is approaching a higher level of sophistication with real-time calibration and validation of modeled parameters.
Alongside automation, in-depth studies at the field level can produce exceptional improvements in drilling efficiency, especially when planning and optimization use new technologies to drive that improvement. This systems approach to drilling is aimed at better understanding of issues that hinder efficiency, coupled with implementing methods and technologies that are available in the industry to address identified barriers to efficiency.
The thought-provoking papers presented here represent a good overview of these topics in drilling systems automation and drilling management.
Systems architecture is a structure used to describe the hierarchy of digital feedback loops with different latencies that are inherent to any system. For the drilling industry, the system architecture construct is the drilling systems automation, decision-making, and control framework, which is based on the International Society of Automation 95 standard used in many other industries. This structure allows drilling-automation and drilling-management developers to describe the data flow and control in manual and automated systems at different operational levels. One of the recommended additional-reading papers—SPE 178814—describes how this framework was developed to bring cohesion to the highly fragmented nature of the drilling industry.
The recommended additional reading shows the high level of activity, and level of broad drilling knowledge, within drilling automation and management. A special mention should be made of SPE 174920, which was written by the winners of the first SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS) drillbotics competition. The drillbotics competition objective was to build a fully automated model of a drilling rig that can drill through an unknown block of rock. The paper is quite instructional and shows the wealth of talent available to the oil industry. Read it; you will not be disappointed. JPT
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
SPE/IADC 178814 Systems Architecture and Operations States for Drilling and Completion: The Foundation to Real Performance Measurement and Drilling- Systems Automation by John P. de Wardt, De Wardt and Company, et al.
SPE 174920 Design, Construction, and Operation of an Automated Drilling Rig for the DSATS University Competition by V.A. Bavadiya, Saudi Aramco, et al.
OTC 27145 Real-Time Monitoring Using All Available Data Plays a Vital Role in Successful Drilling Operations by Cory Moore, Ikon Science, et al.
SPE/IADC 178850 True Lies: Measuring Drilling and Completion Efficiency by John P. de Wardt, De Wardt and Company, et al.SPE/IADC 178862 Use of a Transient Cuttings-Transport Model in the Planning, Monitoring, and Post-Analysis of Complex Drilling Operations in the North Sea by Eric Cayeux, IRIS, et al.
Drilling systems automation depends on timely flow of accurate and relevant data from multiple sources to control equipment, machines and processes. The fragmented nature of the drilling operations business means that data must usually be shared among companies contracted to perform services, and the operator, and all companies must trust that data. This paper describes the issue of data ownership in terms of the application of drilling systems automation, and proposes solutions.
Various parties in a drilling operation measure, collect, analyze and report data gathered during the drilling operation. They take actions to control the drilling process, avoid problems and improve performance, using information derived from the data. Data is used in pre-job planning, in real-time by those operating the drilling rig and various drilling tools, as well as periodically to advise the onsite drilling team. Data flow ranges from high-frequency, low-latency response loops at the wellsite to low-frequency, high-latency response loops in remote centers.
The SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS) has identified OPC UA as the most suited communications protocol for multidirectional fast-loop control systems. In these environments, there is high likelihood that a controller from one supplier will access and use data created by another supplier.
Drilling systems automation requires structured and organized data sharing between parties. This data sharing adds value to the drilling process. A conceptual data model describes at least three classes of data generated while drilling, and all lie within the confidentiality envelope of the operator or government agency. There is data that is the property of the data generator (such as equipment condition monitoring data), data that is restricted (such as formation evaluation data), and data that is shared in an "open data pool" for the purposes of drilling systems automation. Because ownership or control means responsibility for data quality, it is important that each data generator own its contribution to the shared data pool. The data aggregator – the party managing the shared data pool – is therefore not necessarily the owner of all data in the pool, but a caretaker of that data.
This paper describes the history of data measurement, data flow and data ownership in the drilling industry. It will address data ownership issues pertaining to drilling systems automation and drilling performance improvement. A brief review of examples of data from academia and from within our own industry will assist in understanding the relationship between data ownership and intellectual property. The paper presents a data ownership and data sharing solution that provides an environment for drilling systems automation.
The SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS) is a committee tasked with supporting the growth and implementation of drilling automation. In September 2014, DSATS held a dual-stream workshop in Halifax, NS, Canada with focus on both the technical and business issues relating to implementation of this new technology. The workshop identified key business issues, both blockers and enablers and, for the first time, proposed a step towards a potential industry technical guideline that allows the machines and models used in drilling to communicate in real time. Workshop participants identified future actions that will continue to advance the development of drilling automation. This paper summarizes both the topics presented and the actions identified as necessary to advance the implementation of drilling systems automation.
The workshop used two parallel tracks: a technical track dealing with the communications technology needed for drilling systems automation, and a business track focused on technology implementation issues. This novel format spurred a crosspollination of ideas since attendees were free to attend either track and switch between tracks during the conference, thereby contributing to topics of interest.
The technical track included work to define a common interface for equipment control based on the OPC-UA communications protocol and a rig information model, or data dictionary, which is necessary for modeling the process of drilling a stand using normal drilling machinery. The business track examined issues surrounding the use of large data sets, sensors and problems encountered when using them, reliably, in real time. Participants discussed their concerns with existing drilling contracts which do not always cover the legal responsibilities of all parties involved in the construction of a well using an automatic drilling system.
The workshop developed a rig information model as a guideline for data communications in the automation of drilling a stand. This model will be the basis for developing an open standard that all interested parties can use in creating drilling automation products. Additionally, the workshop initiated the work on transferring drilling automation technology into the open business arena. DSATS working groups and future planned workshops will further explore critical topics, such as data quality, modeling, and simulation.