Drilling Automation and Innovation-2022

What was impossible a few years ago has become reality today. This quote, taken from the first paragraph of Feature Article IPTC 19671, is a most relevant statement to the current state of drilling technology. The adverse effects of economic down cycles, commodity fluctuations, geopolitical events, weather and the pandemic have imposed harsh realities on the energy sector as well as almost every aspect of life on Earth such as we know her.

As these events have continued to unfold in recent years, surprising trends with unexpected results have resulted. For example, the destruction of demand due to the collapse in commodity prices has necessitated a greater emphasis on efficiency and productivity. Business as usual was out of the question. Higher productivity, lower costs, environmental management and enhanced safety standards have become more critical than ever.

While these forces persist, changes in our industry have accelerated at a dramatic rate across a range of key technologies. Some of these initiatives have been underway for years and are familiar themes to SPE readers: artificial intelligence, automated decision-making, data analytics, and visualization, to name a few.

The articles selected for this article have been chosen to highlight some of these areas of advancement, with particular emphasis on advanced technologies where incremental changes have been made or are considered imminent. For example, much has been written about the profound impact of pressure-managed drilling (MPD) systems with continued breakthroughs in areas such as advanced modeling, automation, and analytics. Likewise, automated directional drilling has emerged as a preeminent technology destined to continue to revolutionize the way wells are constructed. While many published manuscripts highlight terrestrial applications, offshore, deep water, and high pressure/high temperature operations are also being transformed.

Finally, don’t miss SPE/IADC article 199573, “World’s First Hybrid Drilling Rig”, a recommended article. Several key opportunities for machine-specific and drilling rig power improvements are addressed in this manuscript, including reducing fuel consumption, emissions and well costs, and increasing efficiency. overall generator. Although hybrid drilling rigs are still in their infancy when it comes to practical application within the global fleet of active rigs, it is hard not to recognize as legitimate the basic ideas and detailed potential breakthroughs.

Technical documents of the month

Integrated hydraulic modeling platform automates pressure-managed drilling

Collaborative strategy improves efficiency of pre-drilling campaign in the North Sea

Drilling Systems Automation Roadmap Improves Decision-Making

Recommended Further Reading

SPE/IADC 199573 World’s first hybrid drill by Memet Bilgin, CleanDesign Power Systems, et al.

IPTC 19817 automated steering with real-time model-based control by Nazli Demirer, Halliburton, et al.


Michael H. Weatherl, SPE, is an engineering consultant and president of Well Integrity in Scott, Louisiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa and has been a licensed petroleum engineer in Texas since 1993. Prior to starting Well Integrity in August 2014, Weatherl worked as a drilling and completions team leader for the New Ventures unit of Hess in Houston. following postings in Norway and off the Americas. Prior to Hess, he worked for Chevron for 25 years, including production and drilling positions in Louisiana and Texas. Weatherl is a member of the JPT Editorial Review Board and serves on the SPE Deepwater Drilling and Completion Conference Committee. He has been a member of SPE for over 30 years, has authored several articles and served as a technical editor for SPE Drilling & Completion from 1991 to 2013. Weatherl can be reached at [email protected]

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