Schlumberger 2010 Annual Report - page 15

To achieve a step-change improvement in technology performance, Schlumberger
is establishing systems, processes, and standards across product development and
manufacturing centers worldwide. The creation of a new Engineering, Manufacturing
and Sustaining organization in 2007 has already brought a strong focus on equipment
reliability, manufacturability, and maintenance. The result has been a major
evolution in the way the company works and is leading to faster commercialization
of more reliable products, more efficient industrialization of innovative ideas,
coordinated development of enabling technologies, and stronger operational support.
The most visible first improvements have been achieved through improving existing
commercial product quality and reliability—while reducing cost and managing
obsolescence. At the same time, what has been learned in sustaining has been
applied earlier in new product development. Physically testing of the limits of new
designs in different ways builds greater margins into field equipment to make it more
robust and more reliable. For example, it is no longer enough to test new designs for
resistance to shock or vibration at surface temperatures. Those tests must also be
conducted under temperatures and pressures that replicate downhole conditions.
One example of the difference sustaining efforts can make is illustrated by the
PowerDrive* 475 rotary steerable system. In 2009, this technology attained a record
average mean time between failures of 1,390 hours—representing an increase of
695 hours over the previous year’s 694 hours—a 100% improvement. This step
change in reliability was achieved through a combined effort involving field locations,
technology center efforts, supply chain management, and cooperation with a
number of customers.
Continuing to Lead—Excellence in Execution
Greater equipment reliability and the expertise delivered by Operation Support
Centers both contribute to improving drilling performance. When combined with
integrated drilling systems to achieve greater drilling intensity, they contribute
to achieving operational excellence as part of the Schlumberger Excellence in
Execution initiative.
Excellence in Execution is a concept designed to increase performance through
improving technology development, deployment, and delivery. In a nutshell, it’s all
about consistency—with everybody getting it right the first time, every time. To make
this happen, Schlumberger is making other changes that focus on the field support
organization, for it is here that operational tools receive the maintenance they need
while in service.
Over the last five years, more than USD 500 million has been invested in building
new large oilfield services bases around the world. This investment has been
complemented by upgrades of other bases to equally high standards. The new
facilities provide standardized and more robust maintenance practices that support
the introduction of processes focused on quality improvement, cost reduction, and
efficiency. Equipment is tracked through the facility, upon return from one job and
on its way to the next, in an approach very similar to that adopted by the aviation
industry. This has already led to reduced maintenance time and lower nonproductive
operational time.
Of course, it’s not only a question of infrastructure; it’s also a question of training.
Considerable investment has therefore been directed to developing new-generation
learning centers. The new centers bring consistency and efficiency to the entire
training process. Not only are they equipped with test wells, drilling rigs, service
Drilling Fluid Mechanics—
Collaboration and Interaction
Drilling fluids, or “muds,” are carefully
designed and selected to perform a
variety of critical roles in the drilling
process. They maintain the necessary
hydrostatic pressure to prevent
unwanted formation fluids from
entering into the wellbore, and their
viscous properties are needed to
transport cuttings from the bottom
of the hole to surface. The chemical
properties of the drilling fluid are
engineered to inhibit damage to the
wellbore surface, and the hydraulic
properties are essential to cooling and
cleaning the bit as it drills through rock.
M-I SWACO, Smith Bits, and the
Schlumberger Research Centers are
studying the complex interactions
between the bit, drilling fluid,
formation, and drilling parameters.
Their combined expertise will improve
understanding of the mechanisms that
influence drilling performance, such as
bit balling, an unwanted condition
where a sticky mass of consolidated
formation cuttings becomes adhered
to the bit, which limits its ability to cut
through rock and results in reduced
Drilling fluids are also designed to
minimize any potential impact on the
environment. M-I SWACO scientists
study growth patterns of vegetation
in soils exposed to drilling fluids as
well as the effects of such fluids on
freshwater and marine environments.
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