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Digital Technology Integration

Digital enablement is revolutionizing many industries, yet its adoption by the E&P industry has been limited to date. Today, digital enablement permeates everything Schlumberger does—from research and engineering, manufacturing, operations, and maintenance to resource planning.

Building on our domain expertise and our leadership in hardware and software, Schlumberger is also developing new software and a digital foundation that removes barriers between disciplines to create seamless digital workflows for all E&P domains. This new software moves beyond incremental change—it represents a new way of working that provides new opportunities, unmatched performance, and a step change in efficiency.

Schlumberger is already capitalizing internally on the value unlocked by digital enablement. In addition, value from new digital workflows will be increasingly shared between Schlumberger and its customers as we commercialize new technologies and further enable existing products and services.

Establish a New Way of Working

In a medium-for-longer oil price environment, increased demand for oil requires investment in technology and business models that will improve efficiency and enable unprecedented levels of integration and collaboration. The development of digital technology is disrupting the traditional way of working in the oil and gas industry and creating a step change in operational and business performance for both Schlumberger and its customers.

Although digital technology has been integrated into nearly every facet of our personal lives, its adoption in the E&P industry has been limited. The industry’s traditional way of working presents barriers to the sharing of data and technical knowledge among the domain experts who make important decisions directing the discovery and development of oil and gas resources. Integrating digital technology into E&P workflows requires extensive domain expertise about the entire system—from hardware and software technologies to the complexity of the data and numerous systems involved. To tackle this challenge, Schlumberger has the domain expertise and global experience in every step of the E&P process, a knowledge that stems from our focus on the science of subsurface measurement since the company’s foundation.

In addition, the current medium-for-longer oil price environment demands a new approach for the E&P industry. This new approach requires a system-level view to fully optimize the finding, development, and production of new oil and gas resources as well as the operation of existing oil and gas fields. Innovation around a single element of the E&P development chain cannot maximize efficiency if done in isolation. The new approach requires a complete understanding of what each element contributes to the entire chain. Schlumberger believes that achieving this will require a profound change in the way the industry operates and interacts—changing the way we work and yet also changing the very nature of that work.

Achieving change entails a new collaborative mindset, end-to-end systems knowledge, and redesigned business models that firmly establish and support new ways of working based on innovative technology and domain expertise.

Over the last three years, Schlumberger has created technology centers that innovate within the rapidly evolving world of digital technology and automation. In line with our long history of working with research and engineering partners, these centers have formed strong relationships with an extensive network of leading digital technology companies, creating building blocks of expertise in areas such as cloud technology, data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation.

Through this ecosystem of extended knowledge, Schlumberger now has deeper access to the best and most advanced digital technologies and capabilities available today. Together with our partners, we are developing the solutions we believe will meet the industry’s needs.

System-Level Optimization

Although data is at the center of E&P development, some exploration wells fall short of their objectives as a result of unexpected geology or unanticipated hazards. Increasing the volume and quality of accessible data equips the E&P industry to make better-informed decisions that reduce subsurface risk, optimize production, and maximize recovery—but only if that data is efficiently managed.

Petrotechnical experts working on exploration projects spend more than half of their time finding and preparing the data they need to make their decisions. The subsequent data interpretation is also very time consuming, and these interpretations drive important decisions for the reservoir’s development plan.

Changing the way the industry works begins with a critical assessment of how the data is used across reservoir characterization, well construction, and field production. During the development process as it is practiced today, different types of data exist in silos, making holistic analysis impossible. Without a system approach, precious information and time are lost because the lack of interface among different systems makes it difficult to share localized knowledge.

The DELFI cognitive E&P environment was developed to enable a new way of working. As the first of its kind in the oil and gas industry, this secure, cloud-based environment harnesses data, scientific knowledge, and domain expertise to fundamentally change the industry’s way of working. The new DELFI environment makes applications and workflows accessible to every user. Gone are the impenetrable silos, because in the DELFI environment, every stakeholder can build common workspaces for data, models, and interpretations while respecting proprietary information boundaries.

The DELFI environment provides the best possible representation of the surface and subsurface, including existing wells and facilities, plus those that are planned. The outcome is shared insight among all users and among all stakeholders to eliminate the silos of today. Performance is boosted as time cycles are compressed across the business, uncertainty in planning is reduced through greater understanding, and new opportunities are created to extend domain science into drilling and production operations. Everything working together enhances business value for both Schlumberger and its customers.

When Schlumberger launched the DELFI environment, the company deployed an E&P Data Lake on the Google Cloud Platform, which includes more than 1,000 3D seismic surveys, 5 million wells, 1 million well logs, and 400 million production records from around the world. This Data Lake makes data from different sources available through a common interface, making it easier for users to discover what the data is, have access to it, and use it to maximum advantage. As they work with this vast amount of information in the cloud, the result is a step change in scalability and performance.

The DELFI environment leverages data analytics, machine learning, high performance computing (HPC), and the Internet of things (IoT), all of which work together to maximize operational efficiency and deliver optimized production at the lowest cost per barrel. This environment facilitates a new level of integration among the geophysics, geology, reservoir engineering, drilling, and production domains. There are many workflows throughout exploration and production, and a digital approach accelerates access to all the available data. For that reason, the DELFI environment is also an open and extensible system in which Schlumberger customers and software partners can add their own intellectual property and workflows.

Schlumberger is an early adopter of HPC, and the teams at its technology centers—Menlo Park, California; Houston, Texas; Gatwick, UK; and Mumbai, India—have been leading the application of HPC for seismic processing. Today, Schlumberger has a state-of-the-art HPC infrastructure on the cloud that runs thousands of central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) nodes, and it is the largest cloud computer cluster of its kind in the oil and gas industry. Cloud-based HPC creates new opportunities for advanced visualization and machine learning to enhance the value of oil and gas data assets.

But how exactly does the DELFI environment change not just the way of working but also the nature of work? The answer is by enabling working in a common environment as well as creating accessibility and augmented intelligence for information sharing. Data is delivered to the right people at the right time so all recipients can maximize use of the latest information based on their role and expertise. Barriers to effective communication are eliminated, improving efficiency during the process so domain experts can spend more time on high-level solutions to the unique challenges every reservoir presents. Decisions that used to take days can now be completed in minutes.

The advancement of digital technology enablement within the oil and gas industry sets new demands in terms of cybersecurity. Schlumberger has been providing secure commercial software, information management, and IT infrastructure across the entire E&P life cycle for 35 years. In 2015, Schlumberger obtained Service Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2®) Type 1 and 2 accreditations for cybersecurity through an external audit. The SOC 2 accreditation provides detailed information about the controls Schlumberger has implemented in regard to security, availability, and integrity of the systems the company uses to process customer data as well as the confidentiality and privacy of the information that these systems process.

By working in the DELFI environment, oil and gas experts will be able to connect in a different way to complete shared work goals and expand their sphere of contact to other intellectually challenging domains. They will have access to tools and technologies that relieve them of routine, repetitive tasks, effectively freeing up their valuable time to focus on innovative solutions.

This new way of working is possible only by combining the latest offerings in digital technology with the domain know-how and hardware and software technology leadership that can optimize workflows, increase the efficiency of operations, and ultimately decrease the cost per barrel.

Reduce Uncertainty, Accelerate Decision Making

The first step in the E&P development process is to create a digital representation of what is hidden below the Earth’s surface. To accomplish that, measurements and data from multiple sources are combined to create a model of the subsurface. Experts from multiple technical domains—geology, geophysics, and petrophysics as well as reservoir, drilling, and production engineering—use their knowledge to further refine the model. This initial combination of measurements and data, along with expert interpretation, are fundamental to some of the most critical decisions about the reservoir—decisions that will affect its entire life cycle.

The Petrel* E&P software platform, which has become an industry standard and was introduced in 2003, is also now available in the DELFI environment. The Petrel platform uses a shared-earth approach that enables standardized workflows from exploration to production. Every decision is an informed one that is made with a clear understanding of both opportunities and risks.

Repeatable and automated workflows enable users to capture best practices and share them throughout the organization. Petrotechnical experts and asset teams can analyze, interpret, and model the subsurface in real time in a highly collaborative manner. All of this works together to decrease uncertainty and accelerate the decision-making process, thereby accelerating the time to first oil.

Numerous applications are also available in the DELFI environment for access as required. The Techlog* wellbore software platform for the analysis and validation of wellbore data, the ECLIPSE* industry-reference reservoir simulator, and INTERSECT* high-resolution reservoir simulator for accurate, efficient simulation of reservoir behavior over time are just a few examples. Having global access to applications, instead of the conventional siloed approach, further helps to optimize field development plans and facilities design.

Working in the cloud within the DELFI environment also enables users to take advantage of high performance computing to process large volumes of data during the construction and maintenance of evergreen reservoir models. This includes higher-resolution seismic data, wireline logging of wells, and the testing and characterization of reservoir fluids. Key benefits to working in the cloud environment are fast access to data visualization, interpretation, and application to refine the model during different phases of the E&P life cycle.

Increase Efficiency, Minimize Risks

The software and systems used to drill and complete a well are some of the most complex technologies in the world, crucial to making both the few major development decisions and the millions of small but critical ones that are made daily. Every well drilled comes with a unique set of conditions that also vary during the construction process. The DrillPlan digital well construction planning solution is the first cloud-native application to be launched in the DELFI cognitive E&P environment, providing a radically new way of working to deliver higher-quality drilling programs faster. This is achieved through the automation of repetitive tasks and validation of end-to-end workflows to ensure that the entire plan is coherent.

The DrillPlan solution employs an iterative workflow. As new data is added, the plans improve and future programs can learn from prior experience. This iterative process also improves planning efficiency because any changes to the plan, such as recalculating the path that the well should follow, can be completed in minutes rather than days. The DrillPlan solution in the DELFI environment enables seamless collaboration between experts, from the geologist to the drilling engineer and production engineer.

The resulting digital drilling plan integrates activities, processes, and people, placing the right information in the right hands at the right time. The DrillPlan solution also monitors deviations from the original plan for continuous improvement via machine learning. When domain experts make dynamic changes to the plan, the software immediately updates the shared-earth model, which also augments learning for the next well plan. By automating repetitive tasks, domain experts have more time to use their advanced skills to create new insights. The result is a drilling program that maximizes accuracy, efficiency, and value at the same time as minimizing risks.

The DrillPlan solution leverages the digital technologies of the Microsoft Azure and the Azure Stack hybrid cloud solution. Interoperability with Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams empowers new levels of collaboration among teams and stakeholders, significantly improving productivity.

After more than a year of testing by oil and gas companies in the United States and Canada, the DrillPlan solution has proved to be comprehensive and powerful, delivering well planning programs in days rather than weeks. The DrillPlan solution has been available in North America land operations since the fourth quarter of 2017, and Schlumberger continues to develop its functionalities to meet the needs of the global exploration and development market in 2018 and beyond.

In a future that requires increasing production to meet global demand for oil and gas resources, the Schlumberger goal is to reduce the planning process from weeks to days. The digital way of working, such as the DrillPlan solution in the DELFI environment, facilitates that goal by enabling iterative collaboration among team members working on the latest model. This is one example of how Schlumberger is using digital technology to improve collaboration within the industry.

Decrease Cost per Barrel

Schlumberger is committed to technology and processes that enhance efficiency and decrease the cost per barrel. An ongoing consideration is that about 85% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of tools and equipment accumulates from the moment they are deployed until the day they are retired. Therefore, improving the management of assets throughout their life cycle is a primary concern for Schlumberger and its customers.

The extent of the Schlumberger global footprint provides the scale to take on any size project and the reach to quickly respond to customer needs in any corner of the world. To properly maintain the global fleet of assets that is the basis of these capabilities, Schlumberger relies on its Technology Lifecycle Management (TLM) organization. The organization acts as a bridge between Engineering and Manufacturing and field operations. The TLM organization uses industry-leading maintenance processes and ensures that sustaining activities are aligned with the specific demands that vary among GeoMarket regions.

The goal of the TLM organization is to reduce the TCO of every asset while providing the most reliable tools and equipment to field operations in a timely manner. Monitoring and surveillance use software engines and data science to improve operations reliability and efficiency, which together improve our customers’ performance.

One example of how Schlumberger is using TLM to improve asset utilization and reduce TCO is in the deployment of OneStimSM products and services on land in North America for unconventional reservoir completions. Fracturing fleets are akin to a high-volume factory where each fleet consists of more than 40 pieces of equipment and 4,000 replaceable components to be maintained on location by a team of 11 crew members. Each well requires four to seven million pounds of sand, which is transported as 140 truckloads or in 35 railroad cars. The equipment and personnel at a fracturing operation are part of a changing worksite environment that needs to move and scale in size for a new location every few weeks.

Schlumberger manages all of this through distribution control towers and global equipment traceability that tap into streamlined digital supply chain capabilities. Vertical integration of the supply chain adds another dimension through the ability to balance, for instance, our internal supply of sand against external suppliers.

Since 2014, these processes have generated approximately 10% of year-on-year savings in both capital expenditures and maintenance costs. This represents only one example of how digitizing planning and logistics across all functions and product lines can improve efficiency and lower the cost per barrel.

During hydraulic fracturing operations, different types of sensors placed on the high-pressure pumps enable Schlumberger to use data analytics to predict the onset of major component failures before they occur. The data is collected by a remote monitoring center where experts alert field personnel to remove a pump from operations and perform the necessary maintenance before it fails, which significantly reduces maintenance costs as well as the need for backup equipment on location.

This type of predictive health monitoring applied to automatic surveillance further improves equipment reliability. Rather than waiting to resolve an offline pump, Schlumberger can now shorten the time it is offline by performing what is needed to keep it running efficiently.

Another aspect of TLM is a suite of maintenance applications that are part of the Schlumberger Maintenance Tool Ecosystem. For example, at a fracturing wellsite in North America land, two shifts of crew members perform thousands of checks per day. Historically, all the data was recorded by hand. Today, using a highly visual mobile app, maintenance crew members can perform these checks with significant improvement in their productivity.

Data from the mobile app is shared in the cloud along with information from equipment sensors, remote monitoring sites, and maintenance centers. Inventory tracking and reliability data also feed into the cloud to facilitate predictive health maintenance. This ecosystem was deployed globally in 2017 for Well Services but is also being used in other product lines.

OneSubsea Pore to Process Optimization

One of the greatest challenges in deepwater oil and gas developments is controlling cost. Digital technology holds the promise of enabling domain experts to detect different ways to reduce cost when designing a subsea system from pore to process. One example could be a reduction in capital expenditure by redesigning the subsea architecture or the topside production system.

OneSubsea Capital-Efficient Solutions extend market-leading subsea boosting technology and are now an integral part of all customer projects. Capital-Efficient Solutions have reduced the average lead times of subsea products by more than 50%, saving up to 60% in project costs. As a portfolio of standardized designs that leverages streamlined engineering and manufacturing processes, OneSubsea delivers integrated subsea production systems that reduce project cycle time and overall cost.

At OneSubsea, early engagement with customers is essential to determine the best way to develop a field. Historically, this early engagement process can last from four to six months. During this time, OneSubsea and customer expert teams study the reservoir, looking closely at its expected flow dynamics, to answer specific questions. The new planning software that Schlumberger is currently developing and testing with customers will shorten the time it takes to obtain viable answers to all the questions that must be answered in the design of subsea development projects.

Our integrated teams of experts employ digital technology to explore multiple scenarios. To reduce the risks associated with complicated subsea developments, the teams need to explore as many scenarios as possible. However, the traditional approach to development entails collecting data from the customer that is used to iterate different concepts on paper for the field’s design. When this work takes place in a digital environment, multiple scenarios can be assessed in less time, which ultimately helps to accelerate the time to first oil.

Having all the pertinent data from different domains in one integrated model also facilitates better collaboration between experts. As the integrated team of experts from the customer and OneSubsea moves forward with planning, it will also benefit from the cognitive abilities of this new subsea planning software.

Over time, monitoring services for subsea equipment have expanded to include production monitoring, such as real-time flow assurance consulting to optimize field production. Using software such as the PIPESIM* steady-state multiphase flow simulator and OLGA* dynamic multiphase flow simulator—both of which are available in the cloud-based DELFI cognitive E&P environment—in combination with production chemistry testing and customized advisory services, Schlumberger can provide a complete flow assurance solution for any type of oil and gas operational challenge. Furthermore, subsea monitoring uses all the data intelligence available from an operation to enable future intelligent design and manufacturing for new developments.

Digitally Enable End-to-End Solutions

It is time for the E&P industry to do something it has never done before to achieve a genuine step change in performance. It needs to rise above historical attempts to make incremental improvements and instead completely redesign the workflows and redefine the work itself with a clear focus on efficiency and consistency. This requires deep domain knowledge and operational experience that Schlumberger possesses in understanding how workflows can be improved to create a more efficient pathway to lowering the cost per barrel.

Technology is the fulcrum on which the oilfield services industry turns. The Schlumberger focus on technology integration drives a leading portfolio of pore to pipeline products and services. We speak our customers’ language, and we are committed to developing the technology and aligning the business models they need to overcome the challenges they face.

Schlumberger leadership in hardware, software, and domain expertise has enabled our customers to gain access to new reserves, increase reservoir recovery and production, and maximize their returns. Digital technology enablement represents a new dimension that unlocks further value for Schlumberger and its stakeholders.


The three stations shown of the Manara production and reservoir management system control the production characteristics of an individual zone. Produced fluids, noted with green for oil and blue for water, flow through a screen to the station where pressure, temperature, flow rate, and water cut are measured.

Technology Collaboration: The Subsurface Lighthouse

Saudi Aramco had a vision and commitment to develop technology that would take hydrocarbon recovery to a new level. Named after the Arabic word for lighthouse, the Manara system is the result of an eight-year collaboration between Saudi Aramco and Schlumberger.

The Manara production and reservoir management system is an intelligent completion system for multizone, multilateral, extended-reach, and Extreme Reservoir Contact wells. Combining 30 patented technologies, the Manara system provides permanent downhole pressure, temperature, water cut, and flow rate monitoring as well as in-lateral flow control of zones in real time.

The information derived from a conventional completion system typically permits engineers to make production decisions in days or weeks. The Manara system’s real-time permanent monitoring reduces the decision-making time to hours. This means reservoir workflows that commonly required three to six months can now be performed in one day. Integrated workflows from multiple disciplines create a collaborative work environment, where the identification and correction of problems in individual zones are made in real time. Rig time is reduced by optimizing a zone-by-zone cleanup procedure that also minimizes health, safety, and environmental risks.

The Manara system uses fewer parts than a conventional completion system. Electric power and downhole data pass through an inductive coupler that can service any number of well junctions. One electric control line connects through the wellbore to the wellhead via a single penetration.

Saudi Aramco’s Dhahran Advanced Research Center coordinated user requirements and, in conjunction with Schlumberger Engineering, developed a qualification testing program to de-risk the enabling technologies in the Manara system. This included extensive field testing in multiple Saudi Aramco wells. The Schlumberger focus on the transformation themes of technology, reliability, efficiency, and integration was important for the successful collaboration with Saudi Aramco.