Steinar Lomeland and Sonja Moi Tennøy has been involved in upgrading the new measuring system. Photo: IRIS
New automatic drilling fluid measuring system
12.12.2013The drilling industry has two major concerns: operational costs and to reduce the risk of incidents. Studies have shown that a poor drilling fluid management can significantly increase the non-productive time and possibly cause well incidents.
This is the main motivation behind the development of an automated drilling fluids measuring system, which has recently been installed at the Ullrigg test facility at IRIS.
The installation is a co-operation between Statoil, M-I Swaco and IRIS. Statoil support the upgrade of the test facility and M-I Swaco delivers the measuring system. Statoil, together with NFR, also support an ongoing research project at IRIS aiming to develop a system that shall automatically control the various properties of the drilling fluid during drilling operations in order to optimise drilling fluid performance. This project is of course going to take advantage of the newly upgraded test facility.
A better control and monitoring of drilling fluid properties is expected to significantly improve the drilling performance. However, fluid properties sensors that are installed on rigs today, do not match the ambition of automating the drilling process. This limitation is a bottle neck for future advancement towards automated drilling in general, and fluid processing in particular.
Existing systems for mixing of fluids are not equipped with adequate sensors for a sufficiently precise monitoring and control of fluid properties. Typically, fluid properties like viscosity, gel strengths, elemental analysis or particle size distributions are determined either manually or via inaccurate sensors. However, in the recent years new sensors are developed which are capable of sampling and reporting measurements automatically, but their accuracy and reliability need yet to be proven.
The fluid measuring system includes the following components:
The most important new features of the installed measuring system are:
- A flow loop with a set of sensors capable of measuring various fluid properties
- A control system used to remotely operate the flow loop
- A logging system based on the WITSML standard for the storage of measurements and control parameters
- Faster transition to offshore installation: Operating companies can view the facility as a full scale prototype equipped with the latest sensor technology. This gives the possibility to have clear expectations before offshore installations.
- Integration with a full scale drilling rig: The fact that the automatic measuring system is fully integrated to Ullrigg gives the possibility to perform tests under realistic operational conditions. This offers a great potential of synergy and cost sharing between actors performing tests at Ullrigg.
- Sensor reliability testing: The facility is designed in such a way that new sensors can easily be added. This means that new sensors can be tested and their potential explored at an early stage, even before qualification for offshore installations. Furthermore, testing procedures can be standardized thus enabling an objective comparison between different sensors measuring the same properties.
- Testing of computational models: The proposed system enables testing of real-time models, and offers the possibility for feedback control using the logging system in combination with the control system.
- Data accumulation: We expect to run a large number of experiments in the test facility. The gathered data could be applied to develop a knowledge-based system to predict the properties of the drilling fluid.