Photo: IRIS

Going digital


All seats were taken as IRIS, with marketing assistance from the Stavanger Chamber of Commerce, arranged its first digital drilling conference in Stavanger 31. May 2017.

The “Digital Drilling Conference” was arranged on the heels of Statoil’s news that they intend to establish a digital centre of excellence and invest NOK 1-2 billion in new digital technologies. Also, the OG21 national technology strategy for the petroleum industry, expresses digitalization and automation as key areas for Norwegian petroleum R&D and competence. Drilling digitalization proves a hot topic and the conference was fully booked long in advance, attracting 116 participants. The complete program for the conference can be found here.  

Erlend H. Vefring, vice president of IRIS Energy, initiated and was the chairman of the conference. He says that he is very pleased with the turnout and that it is going to become an annual event. 

-I am very satisfied with the interest from the industry concerning the conference. We are going to arrange the conference next year also, but then we will probably find another location with more space. Within IRIS we have worked on this topic for decades. We see that it is essential to have a close dialogue with the industry so we can bring the technology and research to the market.

Ten presenters revealed their respective companies’ take on how digitalization is transforming the industry and the values it can generate moving forward. Several of the presenters highlighted that although innovative technology is available on the market today, it needs to be proven before it is widely implemented by mayor companies in the industry. 

- We can sit on technology and equipment that might be the coolest thing ever, but if we are not able to prove its value, it soon loses interest in the industry, said Hege Kverneland, corporate vice president and chief technology officer at NOV. 

Kverneland went on explaining the benefits from the process automation platform NOVOS as well as IntelliServ, that enables instantaneous transmission of downhole data while drilling.

A company that has proven its value within the industry is SEKAL, as pointed out by, Sveinung Lofthus, CEO, SEKAL AS. 

- DrillScene (originally developed at IRIS) makes the invisible become visible. It creates a picture of the wellbore visualized as trend graphs and helps drilling engineers optimize operational performance and avoid problems in the borehole. SEKAL has used DrillScene on 72 wells, and from those wells only three sidetracks was reported (4,2 %). This is a major improvement compared to wells drilled without the software, that had a reported 176 sidetracks in 558 (31,5%) development wells, according to reports from NPD between 2013-2016. 

From IRIS, Chief Scientist Eric Cayeux presented DrillOpPlan, a software developed in DrillWell that employs quantitative risk analysis methods to improve drilling operations. 

- With the use of quantitative risk analysis and uncertainty propagation it is possible to check whether the drilling plan is sufficiently robust or not before starting the operation. This can potentially reduce nonproductive time and improve upon performance. This method has been applied to 20 different drilling operations and in most cases the actual drilling problems were highlighted by the method, stated Eric Cayeux.

How to effectively utilize substantial amounts of data (big data), distribution of drilling data and data analytics was also a topic that was discussed by several of the presenters. 

- Airbnb, Uber, Teladoc and Spotify are all companies that make a living collecting data based on our behavior. Digitalizing information and utilizing enormous amounts of data have made other industries and companies very effective and successful.

Compared to other industries, the oil industry has a lot to learn and we should work on strategies that enable us to effectively transform data into useful information in all aspects of the drilling operation, Ashwani Dev, strategy manager, big data analytics at Halliburton, concluded at the end of the seminar.

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