Schlumberger 2010 Annual Report - page 13

But integrating the drilling workflow also demands access to all the technologies of
the drilling system—the bottomhole assembly, drilling fluid, drillstring, and surface
equipment. In 2010, Schlumberger gained this access through the merger with Smith
International, the acquisition of Geoservices, and the joint-venture agreement with
National Oilwell Varco for wired drillpipe technology development. Each company is
a clear leader in its own field.
However, one further step to complete integration is required—the combination
of technology with people and process. Over the past five years, Schlumberger has
developed Operation Support Centers around the world. From initial applications in
the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, the OSC* network has evolved to an industrial-
ized and global deployment of more than 30 centers that provide 24/7 performance
assurance for drilling operations worldwide—both on land and offshore.
The centers are staffed by specialists from a range of technical disciplines, and their
remote support has made possible sustained reductions in nonproductive drilling
time. The same specialists mentor less-experienced crews on the job and improve
operational visibility to accelerate organizational learning. As a result, recurring
patterns of workflow and technology issues are identified and addressed through
local training, regional guidelines, and global standards.
As more complex and difficult-to-reach reservoirs are developed, the Operation
Support Centers also optimize technical expertise for performing higher value
real-time workflows, such as drilling optimization, well placement, and drilling
geomechanics. With the industry facing increasingly greater drilling challenges,
the centers provide the operational platform required to manage performance—
particularly in the high-cost deepwater environment.
Engineering for Reliability—Learning from Others
About one-fifth of the total time spent drilling a well today is nonproductive. While
natural events such as adverse weather are partly responsible, equipment failure and
human error also contribute. And while remote support centers help improve the
latter, improving the reliability of the technology deployed can also increase perform-
ance. This is a significant prize: one-fifth of the time translates to one-fifth of the
cost, and with operating budgets in the billions of dollars, the money at stake is huge.
But the development of technology requires many different inputs and considerations
that are not necessarily specific to the exploration and production industry. It is
therefore instructive to consider techniques that can be adopted from other leading
industries as we seek to create a step change in our own performance.
The functions of today’s family car, for example, are monitored by ever greater
numbers of sensors. Dashboard computers track performance, measure efficiency,
and warn of impending problems. In contrast, the monitoring of a drilling rig and its
equipment is much more limited—with sparse instrumentation on the drawworks,
drillpipe, bottomhole assembly, and drill bit.
But beyond monitoring and automation, the automotive industry has also been a
leader in engineering and manufacturing methods dedicated to improving reliability
and ensuring repeatability. With the drive toward improved drilling efficiency,
similar changes in oilfield technology can be achieved. While a quality rating of
97% may seem acceptable, it corresponds to 30 hours lost in every 1,000—or about
a day a month.
Drilling Measurements—Monitoring,
Instrumentation, and Control
Measurement is key to understanding
the science of drilling, and the only
way to gain a complete picture of the
drilling environment is to combine
measurements coming from both
downhole and surface sensors. The
drilling fluid, which circulates down
the drillstring before returning to
surface, is an excellent source of
information because it carries rock
cuttings together with small quantities
of formation fluids absorbed during the
circulation process.
Engineers from Geoservices employ a
variety of surface sensors together with
precision measurement equipment
such as gas chromatographs and mass
spectrometers to analyze the drilling
process from the surface. For example,
Geoservices FLAIR* technology
provides the quantitative composition
of any light hydrocarbon components
in the drilling fluid returns—corrected
for the effects of recycling and
contamination. This composition can
vary dramatically, not only in different
reservoirs but also within different
compartments and zones of the same
reservoir formation.
Combining these surface measurements
with real-time downhole formation
evaluation and drilling mechanics
data from Schlumberger Drilling &
Measurements technologies delivers
a powerful tool for optimizing the
rate of drilling while positioning the
wellbore in the most productive zone.
Furthermore, such real-time measure-
ments can serve as input data to control
algorithms that form the basis for a
future generation of optimized
automatic drilling.
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